Thursday, December 13, 2012

Southwest Airlines updates its iPhone app but skips on Passbook integration

Southwest Airlines this afternoon issued an update to its iOS mobile app that features quite a number of new features or tweaks. But it is what is missing that some early reviews inside the App Store are noticing: the update does not include integration of Passbook.
In some ways this may become the norm, as many companies are beginning to wonder if Apple is serious about Passbook, or like the Apple TV, this kind of function is just a hobby, something launched because people expected Apple to come up with something if it wasn't going to include NFC.

In the past, Apple would generally launch its own app that would showcase a new function, but that is a little hard with Passbook.

Nonetheless, it is still strange to see an airline pass on Passbook, it was one of the most obvious uses for Passbook. The other is movie tickets, but as I've seen in my own use, a lot of movie theaters have not yet adopted scannable tickets at all, so Passbook is just one more scannable solution they have not invested in. Even Starbucks, another obvious example of a use for Passbook, did not adopt Passbook until a short while ago – but then again, they just recently updated their app to add support for iPhone 5, as well. Not everyone, it seems, jumps whenever Apple does an iOS update!

Back to the subject of the post: the updated Southwest Airlines iPhone app does come with quite a number of changes. Here is what the app description has to say:
What's New in Version 1.11

Rapid Rewards Customers can now log into their accounts to book flights using points, make Companion Pass bookings, access saved trips & much more. See complete list of new enhancements included in this release below:

1.Book & modify flights using Rapid Rewards points
2.Modify search during air booking process
3.View & book flights using saved trips
4.Book flights using promo certificates
5.Make Companion Pass bookings & add Companion Pass passengers to existing bookings
6.View all eligible Rapid Rewards promotions

Within the Upcoming Trips section of the Rapid Rewards account, you can now also do the following:

•Save frequent trips
•Check flight status & set up notifications
•Add a car
•Add Companion Pass passengers to bookings
•View existing car & hotel reservations
•Change & cancel existing air reservations
•Add EarlyBird Check-In to existing air reservations