Cleartrip, an India-based online travel agency, launched their first iPhone app earlier this week. The site has been growing its mobile services since it launched a mobile site in 2010. The company’s blog today describes how the design for the app actually came about during a 24-hour Hackathon project to improve the mobile site.

A touch-friendly search screen

Cleartrip’s iPhone app includes the company’s signature split-screen search experience to see both departure and return flights on one screen. Also helpful is the ability to bookmark flights you may be interested in so users can continue scrolling through the options without misplacing potential flights.

The app allows users to search flights by time, airlines, and stops; and through geolocation shows them the departure airport closest to their current location.

Frequent fliers should take advantage of Expressway, a one-click checkout service. New users will be prompted to set up a new Expressway account within the app if they don’t already have one.

Currently, the app only allows flight bookings for within India, although the company hopes to include more of its domestic and international services in the future.

Booking services compete for mobile users

Mobile bookings continue to grow in India where smartphones are a cost-efficient and convenient option for travelers.

Competitor MakeMyTrip launched their app for iPhones earlier this summer, but it is also available on Blackberry and Android. Neither company’s app features hotel bookings at this time, but MakeMyTrip’s app does include GPS-sensitive restaurants suggestions.

As mobile continues to grow, it’s possible that the OTA to provide the best mobile service first will win the majority of the traffic for quick, on-the-go bookings.

Cleartrip’s app is available for free download from the App Store.