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Once Upon A UI Nightmare: A Story of Customer Dis-Enchantment


In the past couple months I booked two flights.  I booked one flight on American Airlines and the other on JetBlue.

By the time I finished buying my American flight, I wanted to kill someone.  I purchased my JetBlue flight in half the time with zero stress.

The true nightmare began when I tried to select my seat assignment on AA. Throughout the ticket purchase process, I was being bounced back and forth from the AA iPad app and the web browser, and finally instructed to select a seat after I complete my ticket purchase.

Below is a screenshot of the confirmation page I received upon purchasing my ticket. (my flight details are obscured for privacy reasons.)

I don’t see anything about selecting a seat…or even much about the flight I just booked. Sketchy. All I see is a bunch of mumbo jumbo… the amount of stuff on the page is starting to nauseate me.

After an unsuccessful call to customer service, I read through a tedious website FAQ on how to select my seat; following these instructions, I navigated to this page (below,) to select my seat.

By this point, as you can imagine, I was less then pleased. I set forth again on my search….

I dare you to try to find the CTA to select your seat here.

Give up? See the greyed out word that says “select” on the left, in the “View Reservations” box?  Yup, that was the call to action to choose my seat. Are they serious with this!?! I dont need to go into detail here, but in short, I was incensed by this user interface. Shame on you, American Airlines.

Now let’s compare to JetBlue. When I log into my JetBlue account, I land on the dashboard page below. Immediately, I see my upcoming flight in a huge blue box, and am greeted by a bright orange top nav button that invites me to manage my flight. No hide and seek UI’s– what a beautiful thing.

I’m directed to the “Manage Flights” page, a portion of which is shown below. (Didn’t need an FAQ content library to arrive here either)

(again my personal info is blurred here for privacy, please disregard)

Boom- right away, I see “Actions” in the right hand nav next to my flight info, then “Select or change seat.”  How sensible! Thank you, JetBlue!!

Booking travel arrangements is a stressful endeavor in the first place. The last thing your customers need to deal with is the added frustration of a horrible user interface. Needless to say, I won’t be flying American again anytime soon if I can help it!

Have you been the victim of a UI nightmare? Leave us a comment below and be heard!

Author Alex Stetson

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