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Apple’s Passbook and the mobile experience

by Phillip Easter, American Airlines

Apple’s Passbook can improve the mobile experience, says American Airlines’ Director of mobile apps and wearable technology, Phillip Easter

Many of our passengers were frustrated with the mobile boarding pass. If you arrive at the checkpoint and don’t have a Wi-Fi or 3G connection, for example, it means you can’t get your boarding pass. That makes you feel awkward and nervous.

Apple helped solve the problem with Passbook. It’s a really cool feature. At American we embraced it when it launched two years ago.

Off-line advantage

What's unique about Apple’s Passbook is that it gives you an off-line experience so you don’t need connectivity all the time. So even when your phone’s locked, you can get to your boarding pass.

With the latest version, if something such as the passenger’s gate changes, our back-end system will push out a notification. So instantly the passenger knows something has changed with their flight.

It gets sent to their Passbook and they can open it up and get that data, even in a locked mode. It takes only a moment and saves you from that last second panic. That's something that we're all excited about.

Another interesting use for Passbook is to view your frequent flyer card. You can go into the club and scan your loyalty card and get access to the lounge. Passbook is a way to push out certain features of your mobile app.

And it's almost like a mini app. If you do it right, it's a really nice experience.

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