Eight Miles High - Review of American Airlines new app

This review comes to you courtesy of GoGo inflight Internet - making air travel substantially more tolerable since 2010 (or so.) I'm currently en route to LaGuardia for a few days of business meetings. 6:00 am flight = 3:45 AM alarm, 4:30 AM taxi... But at least there's GoGo.
It's easy to take in-flight wireless for granted, and I'm more guilty of that than most. If I'm on a flight with no wifi, I'm legitimately disappointed/annoyed. Bad character trait, I suppose. And it's not a desire to get work done - I primarily goof around on iOS devices, and pay for the privilege.

I almost always fly American Airlines, and that's primarily by coincidence. Back in 2004, we were bumped from our oversold honeymoon flight to Europe on United. Bumped all the way to an American flight leaving an hour or so later. I signed up for American AAdvantage, wound up with a high-travel job, and 300,000 miles later I have AA Platinum status and do annoying things like referring to airports by their codes.

I also use AA's iOS app. A LOT. So I'm pretty much aware of changes, big and small. The current state of the app is - improved, required if you fly AA a lot - but with some remaining cracks in the facade.

The app had some growing pains. They were seemingly the last app in the App Store to get a retina icon - so for about a year, it looked like an 8-bit app on my iPhone 4.

There have always been issues with the slick "skin" of the app falling away when you attempt something even remotely out of the ordinary. Look at your itinerary, and its all beautiful graphics... But try to change your seat, and you're looking at an all-text terminal-screen, with limited functionality.

Check-ins are simple as can be with the app, and it really shines with AAdvantage-centric features- a bar showing your progress toward elite status, your upgrade stickers, and so on. The new version integrates AA's new logo and look - a slightly less bold and less kerned Helvetica abounds. The icon is the new logo (and is, of course, retina). Boarding passes, and AAdvantage elite cards, are exported to Passport to keep your Starbucks card happy.

But there are still the annoying drop-outs into the "back end" text menus. Trying to book, or change, a flight means looking at a wall of text. It's understandable - there are some serious logistics here - but it kills the idea of a self-contained "app" and dumps us into what looks like a mobile site for blackberry in 2008.

Get the app if you're an AA flyer. It's good enough already, and its improving.


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