American Airlines has recently made a subtle yet notable tweak to its iOS and Android apps that might not sit well with some frequent flyers. The airline’s mobile applications have often been critiqued for their outdated design and functionality, trailing behind competitors like United. Some sections of the app don’t operate as native mobile components but instead function as a wrapped version of AA’s mobile website, resulting in a sluggish and somewhat unrefined user experience. It’s like hopping in a time machine back to 2011. At least AA has had bag tracking in-app much longer than some of its competitors.
One feature that stood out and received positive feedback was the “Wallet” section nestled within the app. This section provided users with a comprehensive view of their credits and rewards associated with American Airlines. From flight credits to trip credits and even preferred seat coupons, the Wallet feature offered a convenient snapshot of one’s accumulated perks. However, it appears that this functionality has quietly disappeared from the app’s interface.
But hold on—don’t hit the panic button just yet. While the Wallet feature seems to have been removed, the information it housed hasn’t vanished into thin air. Instead, it’s been relocated within the app. Users can now find this data starting from the familiar page displaying AAdvantage membership information (tap your name & award mile balance from the home screen to get here). There, a couple of new buttons have emerged: “Travel Credit” for flight and trip credits and “Rewards” for various perks like preferred seat coupons, although these might not hold much value for AAdvantage elite members, who are already entitled to complimentary preferred seating at the time of booking.
For many of us, this might not be a significant inconvenience. Truth be told, most people aren’t necessarily seeking this specific information simultaneously. While seasoned flyers might find the change irksome, the adjustment could actually make it easier for those who don’t navigate the skies as frequently to understand the layout of the app. As a frequent user of the app, I know my way around its quirky layout, and can find everything I need pretty quickly. However, I’ve watched friends and relatives struggle to understand how to use the app’s more advanced functionalities, like finding flight credits or seeing a running transcript of AAdvantage activity.
Ultimately, this isn’t a big deal for most of us. I’d love to see American one day overhaul their app and follow United’s lead into creating something that’s (dare I say) enjoyable to use. While new CEO Robert Isom is doing a great job improving the airline’s performance and customer service, a better app could free up phone agents to focus on tackling complex situations and not spend as much time helping with routine requests.