I am writing this post aboard a small regional jet from my hometown in Bangor, Maine to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Unequipped with proper reading material to entertain myself, I picked up the US Airways in-flight magazine and began to flip through the pages. This issue opens with a letter from Doug Parker, the airline’s chairman and CEO. Being the New Year, he highlights some tech innovations that will be launching in 2011. These “innovations” range from the run-of-the-mill (Twitter and Facebook feeds, updates to the website) to the rather remarkable (check-in and boarding pass via smartphone). While not particularly revolutionary (I would call it overdue), another “innovation” they’re offering this spring is online rebooking services for those whose flight is interrupted due to inclement weather or operational difficulties. For anyone who’s ever stood in one of those hideous lines waiting to talk to the one attendant serving a plane-full of people whose flight just got cancelled, you’ll understand the relief this tool will bring.
The last time I flew US Airways, I got stranded in Pittsburgh for two days and I vowed never to fly them again. Lo’ and behold, here I am headed back to Pennsylvania. Let’s hope it goes differently this time, especially because these innovative tools are not yet ready to roll.