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Would you/could you/do you already buy airline tickets on your phone?

September 28th, 2012 No Comments

When it comes to shopping, I’m a traditionalist. I like to browse clothes, products, and services in the actual store. This puts me in the minority, but that’s my preference. However, the actual PURCHASING of an item, I often do online because the price is better.

For airline tickets, it’s the opposite for me. I shop around bargain sites and then purchase the actual ticket on the airline’s website. I just feel like if there was a problem, I’d like to deal with the airline instead of a middle man.

Orbitz recently launched their iPhone app, so I thought I would do a little comparrison to see how they all stack up. I have to say I like the iphone experience better than the websites in general. There aren’t crazy windows popping up all over my screen and the interface transitions are smoother and faster.

Bargain Sites

ORBITZ – The newest addition to the market and it shows. The functions, the map shown here, are the most thoughtful and seamless. The car rental is really nice.

KAYAK – As I said, the experience is better than on your computer but in comparison to Orbitz, it seems a little old. Also, the price of a round-trip ticket came back $50 higher than when I searched on Orbitz. On a positive note, it provides SO MANY MORE features! I especially appreciate “Call your airline.”

PRICELINE – The app only offers hotels and rental cars. Now you can also book express deals instead of having to bid. It also seems that you can’t access your trips through the app, it pushes you to Safari.

YAPTA – Crashed every time I tried to enter a flight. However, I love the idea that it will alert me when the price drops for the flight I’m tracking drops.

Airlines

Airlines have their own apps as well. I use the United and Delta apps the most because their hubs are based in Houston and Atanta, respectively. United’s is great because you can buy a ticket on the app, which I have done before. It’s frustrating to no end that I can’t do that on Delta’s. Delta’s app also makes you check in every time you open it on the day of your flight which makes no sense. Of course on Jet Blue’s app you can. It’s character is as quirky as the website.

American and Southwest apps seem straight ahead. You can’t purchase tickets on them either.

Here’s what it really comes down to for me and these airline apps: Can I buy a ticket while I’m on the treadmill and get my mobile boarding pass on the app. As for shopping around prices, I think Orbitz will be my go-to. I’ve never been a Kayak die-hard, so it’s not a big deal to me. As I said, I’m a traditionalist, so if I SHOP on Orbitz, I’ll go to the airline’s app or website to buy the ticket.

One disclaimer: I tested all of these out on the iPhone 5, which is lightening fast. I’m not sure if that’s due to the new hardware or iOS. A lot of my adoration for the apps comes from how quickly the screens transition, which is much faster than my wifi at home. That being said, I used both United and Delta on my iPhone 4 and had no complaints about speed.

So, have your habits changed yet? Do you trust the apps to store your credit card info and successfully book a ticket for you?? Would you rather buy directly from the airline or are you ok purchasing from the bargain apps? Weigh in below!

UPDATE

I opened the NYTimes this morning to find this headline!

20120930-104036.jpg

The writer confirms cutting out the middle man and booking directly from the airline/hotel/car company is more affordable. She also agrees that customer service to select seats and rooms or make changes is easier when you buy direct.

She suggests google searching discount codes and following your favorite airlines and hotels on twitter for the best deals.

Click here for my strategy on getting the best airline fare and my list of links to airlines, hotels, and travel sites on twitter (it’s old, but all of the majors are on there so you can click to follow easily).

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