Last week I failed to buy a simple return ticket New York.
High season has started, flights are filled up, but that was not the only problem.
So, my dear ladies and gentlemen of the travel industry:
Here is an alternative design that
- It is a real struggle to buy a ticket on the internet.
The sites of the various airlines resemble glossy promotion brochures rather than working webshops.
- Most airlines force you to struggle through several screens, asking all sorts of questions, preferably with incomprehensible codes and unfriendly date formats.
- Then, to add insult to injury, you are rewarded with an error message.
The flight is not operating on the requested day or is sold-out.
Grmbl, what a
e-commerce disaster shop.
At best the result is an unclear list of flights,
without price and availability indication.
The success of low budget carriers such as
does not seem to have any impact yet.
- I give up hope after struggling with about 3 airline sites.
General websites with special offers
are much better but still provide no
I hurry to my trusted brick-and-mortar travel agency.
There I see some more screens that are just as bad: nice graphics, but the usability is terrible.
will sell tickets online.
Screen 1: Destination
The first screen is minimal.
It offers just one entry field:
And what a surprise: it is even filled with a value too
Below the entry box are the 6 continents with the most popular destinations.
A click on a destination also flows to the second screen.
The second screen shows for the destination selected
- the last destination the customer requested during a previous visit,
- or a
for the first visit,
a popular destination.
This is probably not the desired destination,
but at least it provides a clear example.
A click on a departure date brings up a third screen, with
- A list of flights, of all airlines, cheapest option first.
shows clearly, at the start of each line.
- Above that are a number of search criteria, all filled with a value of a previous visit or an plausible default value.
The requested departure dates are displayed as weeks rather than days.
- The computer
will do all the hard work and will only show the days with capacity.
Flights that are full are not displayed.
The flight numbers are
just as irrelevant as train numbers,
not a selling criteria, so they are not displayed.
- all flight details,
- a possibility to select a return flight,
- and a button to buy the ticket online.
Design for sale
This design is still for sale.
Any travel organisation that is seriously interested
may contact me
for usability advice and a solid design.
If need be I'll help out in the technical design
for a Java
a TPF solution.