The past month alone has seen multiple airlines revise their app offerings, expanding and enhancing their functionality with new features. Some of them are useful for the time-starved business traveller. Others are just fun improvements to have. Here’s a look at five of them.
Along with getting a new name, the revamped Air France Play app was recently given a musical update, enabling users to access a selection of Air France Music playlists. These are now available alongside digital newspapers and magazines, as well as videos – though it should be noted that most of these features are only available to those with an Air France reservation and only then 30 hours prior to their flight. After that, they can download what they wish to read, watch and listen to later on when they’re up in the air.
United Airlines has made a series of changes to its app over the past couple of weeks, first by enabling boarding passes for 19 of its partner airline’s flights to be accessed within the app – the first time a US carrier has offered such functionality – followed by the ability to change and cancel flights as well as store Mileage Plus and United Club cards to an Apple Wallet.
Less of an update to its own app and more of a collaboration with an existing third-party one, Japan Airlines recently unveiled the JAL Explore Japan Wifi app. Developed by Wire and Wireless Co Ltd and based on its existing Travel Japan Wifi app, the new Japan Airlines offering enables travellers from outside Japan to connect to more than 200,000 wifi hotspots around the country free of charge. The app is available in five languages and limited to non-residents of Japan.
While it’s certainly not the first airline to add mobile payment functionality to its airline app, Singapore Airlines’ addition of Android Pay and Apple Pay as payment options for its SingaporeAir app is a welcome one. There are some limitations to what itineraries mobile payments can be made on however, most notably with flights originating from Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK not being eligible.
Delta Air Lines
Delta’s newest addition to its Fly Delta app – offering automatic check-in to users 24 hours prior to their departure – is only available for domestic itineraries, but for those heading to multiple destinations within the US as part of a trip this feature is definitely useful. Essentially it eliminates the need to enter your information in each time (though you do still need to manually open the app and acknowledge the relevant baggage restrictions once the initial push notification is received). There are also certain other functions, such as seat selection, upgrade purchasing and adding checked baggage that have to be done manually, though these can still be done through Fly Delta.
Another app on this list that isn’t an airline app but is worth highlighting, Apple Maps has recently added maps of two more airports, San Jose International (SJC) and Philadelphia International (PHL) to its functionality. While all airport maps currently available on the app are so far located in the US, the company has signalled their intention to add more than 20 other airports in the future, most notably for travellers outside the country Amsterdam (AMS), Berlin (TXL, SXF), Doha (DOH), Dubai (DXB), Hong Kong (HKG) and London (LHR, LGW).