The app would put the carrier on par with it US legacy airline rivals American, Delta and United who all presently offer an mobile app to their customers.
“You always feel like on technology issues you’re trying to catch up. It keeps moving so rapidly,” carrier SVP marketing and planning Andrew Nocella told the APEX editor’s blog during US Airways’ annual media day in Phoenix. He admits that with respect to a mobile application “we are definitely behind where we need to be”. However, he believes US Airways’ mobile website is “equal to or better than anyone else’s”.
Development of the US Airways mobile application has been challenging as Nocella explains, “We’ve outsourced this [app development] and we’ve had some difficulties in creating an app that does everything we want it to do. One of the key things that needs to be in our apps or mobile website is the sale of ancillary products, and getting that process to work the right way and be consumer friendly…has definitely been a challenge.”
Nocella feels that US Airways “is getting there” in terms of ironing out technical challenges associated with the app, “but I bet you a year from now my assessment will still be that we’re behind, and we need to keep running to catch up”.
The carrier’s upcoming merger with American Airlines also ushers in new considerations regarding mobile technology. Nocella explains there will come a time when the carriers will have to decide whether to keep investing in the US Airways’ app or move the investment to American’s mobile phone technology. “It seems to me continued investment and convenience for US Airways flyers is likely to be required but also managed in the context that you’re going to be turning some of those systems off in 18 months.” US Airways and American aim to close their merger during the third quarter of 2013 and estimate a 12-18 month integration period.
US Airways’ mobile phone app is presently being beta tested with roughly two dozen of the carrier’s employees, and there are a couple of kinks with respect to speed on some of the app’s functions. The carrier would prefer to debut the new feature among passengers in about a month, but Nocella cautions that “I don’t have the exact date…we’ll get it [the app] out there as soon as we can.”