How Alaska Airlines Evolved its Mobile Strategy

Posted Friday, August 3, 2012 in Online, Mobile & IT by Patricia Seybold

Just about every airline now offers mobile apps and a mobile-optimized website. That's because travelers rely on their mobile devices to get things done while on the go. Alaska Airlines' mobile journey to-date is informative because the company has changed its implementation strategy a couple of times since 2005 and is likely to continue to do so. 

What remains constant is:

  • The focus on a target group of customers: Alaska Airlines' frequent flyers
  • Prioritizing features that are both urgent and repetitive for day of travel
  • The engagement of customers in the actual development process

The mobile architecture that Alaska Airlines has deployed over the years will continue to evolve, but these are some of the choices the team has made:

  • Implementing a layer of APIs between the airline’s operational systems and the customer-facing apps
  • Designing a mobile web site that will support all handheld devices
  • Optimizing the standard web site for tablets and laptops/PCs
  • Combining mobile platform-optimized apps with integration to mobile web functionality

Like many mobile development teams, Alaska Airlines and its partners from Ubermind/Deloitte use agile SCRUM development, starting with user stories and coding in two-week sprints. But what they do that’s different from many such projects is to engage their target customers—loyal frequent flyers—to test the deliverables every two weeks.

Read more here.


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