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With the proliferation of airline, hotel, rental car, online travel agency and metasearch mobile apps, most travel companies are trying to figure out how their app can stick out amidst all the competition and fragmentation.
Not Iberia, which has launched five single-function iPhone/iPad apps for phone bookings, flight schedules, parking, check-in, and Iberia Plus magazine to replace the airline’s all-purpose app.
Given travelers’ app fatigue, as people often juggle and labor to maintain dozens of travel apps representing multiple customer allegiances, Iberia’s move to have travelers use five apps from a single airline seems fairly insane on the surface, but the airline justifies the move on iTunes like this:
“Download the new and completely redesigned Iberia apps. Each one devoted to a different activity, so you can go directly to what you need and enjoy the new navigation system and features quickly and conveniently from your mobile.
“You can switch from one app to another, and keep abreast of new service launches and offers, from the integrated desktop, and if you log in with your Iberia Plus number you will see your Avios balance, your latest actions, benefits, partners, and contact numbers.”
One user-reviewer on iTunes sums up what may be a common reaction to Iberia’s strategy: “I have downloaded about a dozen different airline’s apps onto my iPhone. Imagine they all followed Iberia’s lead: That would expand from 12 to over 70 applications cluttering the screen’s limited real estate!”
“This latest update was an unbelievably insensitive idea,” the reviewer adds, “one that fails to take into account how real folks use their iPhones. Sorry, Iberia, but instead of expanding from 1 Iberia app to 6, I have gone from 1 Iberia app to 0.”
Iberia can make the argument that it is simplifying the user experience, and that someone seeking to book a flight may find Iberia Booking easier to use if they don’t have to deal with the distraction of parking or check-in functions within the same app.
Iberia’s mobile strategy certainly is different and contrarian; it would be shocking if user reaction was supportive.
While Iberia’s apps are available for iOS, Android and Blackberry, the airline’s five single-function apps only appear to be available for iOS so far.