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The redesigned American Airlines website is trying to be more inspirational and less about driving transactions in overdrive. Time will tell whether this gamble hurts the bottom line.
The “new American” unleashed a redesigned AA.com with a simplified and more graceful look that doesn’t hit you over the head at first glance with a plea to book an airline ticket, but emphasizes travel planning and the travel experience.
The airlines’ iOS and Android apps were also injected with the new look and feel.
Here’s a look at “before” (AA.com on December 1, 2012, with an assist from WayBack Machine) and “after,” meaning American Airlines’ website today.
The redesigned American Airlines website is less crammed and busy than its predecessor, which had widgets and travel deals thrown in your face. The seven tabs atop the previous homepage have given way to just three, Plan Travel, Travel Information and AAdvantage.
Importantly, the first tab at the left under the prior design, Reservations, has been replaced by Plan Travel, as the airline tries to emphasize that it is not just about the airline ticket (although it wants to sell plenty of those), but it is also a place to plan activities to do once you arrive at your destination.
In that regard, the 16 previous subcategories under the now-gone Reservations tab, have been replaced in the redesign by just six: Flights, Hotels (which has moved up to the second position, from third), Cars (which has descended to the third position, from second in the discarded design), Activities, Vacation (formerly called Vacation Packages under a scapped Travel Deals tab), and Cruise.
When you click on these links, the landing pages have more videos and images, and look less like directories crammed full of booking options.
If you click on the activities link in the new AA.com, you navigate directly to a site co-branded American Airlines and powered by Viator.com, where you can find tour suggestions for Mexico, Las Vegas, London and New York City, for example.
Even the booking widget itself, which has been moved in the redesign (for now, at least) to below the “fold” from its premier position at top left under the prior homepage, is less boxy and more elegant. The new booking widget, with lots of eye-pleasing white space, now thinly runs across the width of the page.
And, instead of Travel Deals at top right of the prior homepage, the deals verbiage has been replaced by less-crass “travel experiences” below the booking widget, and illustrated by inspirational images.
The new AA.com is trying to be more a one-stop shop traveling-planning site than the retired AA.com, and it is resorting to less of a hard-sell.