April 6, 2012, 11:19 AM

Alaska Air gets a new mobile site off the ground

Travelers can save time by paying for checked bags before they hit the airport.

Lead Photo

Frequent mobile web users tend to be on the move. Frequent travelers are the same. So when Alaska Air created its new mobile site, it tailored it specifically to the jet-setting consumer.

The site—travelers who type in alaskaair.com are automatically redirected to the mobile-optimized version—enables travelers to pay for checked bags and obtain mobile boarding passes both for themselves and others travelling with them. Consumers can also sign up for e-mail or text message flight alerts, check flight status and schedules, view seat maps, and choose or change seats for flights. Additionally, a consumer with an Alaska Airlines account can track her mileage plan status and balance and access her upcoming trips. Alaska Airlines employed mobile technology vendor Ubermind, a unit of consulting giant Deloitte, to build the site.

“Our mobile site has been designed from the ground up with a new look and feel as well as additional features that travelers will find convenient,” says Curtis Kopf, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of customer innovation and alaskaair.com. We’re committed to making the travel experience easy and accessible. With the new mobile site, our customers can enjoy many great features of alaskaair.com on mobile devices wherever they go.”

The site, which follows Alaska Air’s iPhone and Android apps, doesn’t yet enable consumers to purchase tickets, but Kopf says the carrier will add a booking feature in a future upgrade.

Nikki Baird, managing partner at research and advisory firm Retail Systems Research LLC, says the site helps consumers quickly complete essential tasks. “It looks good and loads fast,” Baird says. “I like that they put all the basics right up front—check in, check a flight, check my miles.”

Airlines and other travel companies are paying more attention to their highly mobile customers. In February, JetBlue Airways completed what it dubbed a “digital refresh,” launching newly redesigned e-commerce and m-commerce sites, aiming to make it easier for travelers to book a flight on the go and find information such as maps to airports and driving conditions. JetBlue also debuted an iPhone app to coincide with the refresh. The app matches the design scheme of the sites while catering to the needs of its highly loyal customers.

On another travel front, watch Christopher Brya, director of mobile and emerging channels at Choice Hotels, discuss how to sell mobile commerce initiatives to senior management in this video from the 2011 Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce and Marketing Forum.


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