While criticism of airline mobile app quality is not out of ordinary, our analysis reveals that passengers’ satisfaction with airline app quality is growing. The average customer rating across Apple App Store and Google Play for 12 major European airlines included in this study grew from 3.2 to 3.6 (on 1 to 5 scale) between January 2014 and October 2015.
Airlines are rapidly adopting responsive booking sites, with 25% of carriers having a responsive airline site in place as of August 2015. This growth is mostly driven by smaller carriers. 13% of airlines still do not have any mobile web presence.
While passengers are always on the move, airlines have been slow to fully embrace mobile. Just 18 months ago, none of the leading airlines used responsive web design. According to the same study, nearly a quarter (22%) of airlines did not have a mobile web site all. Yet, as mobile traffic continues to grow, and Google uses mobile support as a ranking signal, airline mobile web projects are finally getting off the ground.
Ryanair quietly launched their first mobile booking website last month. This follows CEO Michael O’Leary’s announcement in his most recent 2014 annual report that the carrier will no longer “allow” competitors to “develop better websites and mobile platforms than those at Ryanair”. The ambitious plan is backed by a “serious” investment in Ryanair Labs – a “tech startup within the airline”, according to the Irish Independent. Clearly, the Irish LCC wants to put an end to the days when Ryanair scored last in website usability reviews.
Are these investments in Ryanair website usability paying off on mobile? We ran a brief live user test to find out what potential customers think about the site.
We recruited a random internet user through the UserTesting cloud, who accessed the Ryanair mobile booking site through an Android smartphone over the 3G network. We asked him to surf around the site for a few minutes and report on his impressions – all the time, the smartphone display was recorded on video. Feel free to watch the 9 minute video, before jumping into the analysis:
His conclusion: “I like the clean design”, but he ran into serious difficulty booking a flight – clearly, “the site needs a lot of work”. He raises many issues affecting the industry broadly, such as poor site performance and inability to discover the best route. In addition, the tester’s patience is tested by many usability glitches.
Let’s dive in to the mobile usability review: