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American Airline Introduces Their Mobile Gateway

Aa Tough luck, Continental Airlines. Jupiter Research reports that American Airlines has upped the mobile ante beyond flight check-in: the site shows a number of new features for mobile devices that access aa.com such as view your itinerary, change flights, book flights, buy upgrades, get delayed baggage status, and support for Spanish.

Users will need their AAdvantage number and AA.com password to login. No word on whether there's a version optimized for the iPhone.

It's my impression that the success of many of these mobile experiences would benefit from incorporating interactive voice response as a part of the mobile experience. For example, if you were to call American Airlines at 800-882-8880 from your mobile phone, you might appreciate a text message with Tinyurl-style links to the web pages travelers like yourself had found most useful: flight status, weather, or updates to arrival/departure time.

Continental Ushers In the Future of Traveler Dialog

Daily_essentialsAs blogged months ago by The Mobile Weblog and reported today by the New York Times (registration required), Continental Airlines is beginning a 3-month trial allowing passengers at Houston-based Bush Intercontinental Airport to board flights with just their mobile phones. The article goes on to describe how the new service works.

In the article, Forrester Research VP Henry H. Harteveldt is quoted as saying that “...It’s clear that mobile is the gateway to how airlines will interact with their customers in the future for almost anything.”

This is the latest example of how the mobile phone -- like social networks -- are fast becoming digital "swiss army knives".

Both help you make simple, fast connections with people and places you trust. Both platforms (especially since MySpace joined in yesterday) enable third parties to provide applications that create new ways to interact and have fun. While there is certainly a lot of widget spam (Andrew Chen provides an interesting analysis here) -- it reminds me a lot of the early days of Apple and IBM software: lots of crapware! But in Guy Kawasaki's spirit of letting a thousand flowers bloom -- software developed in-house usually sucks, but every time you let developers in, amazing things happen!

I think Continental's application is going to work for one reason: people are always looking for ways to save time. Would-be Web 2.0 entrepreneurs would do well to consider Continental's example.

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