Airline alliances haven’t yet mastered the hoped-for seamless art of booking tickets on mobile devices if a new Star Alliance entry is representative.
The Star Alliance in late August came out with its latest iPhone app, the Star Alliance FareFinder.
The more than two dozen member airlines in the Star Alliance include North American carriers United, Continental, Air Canada and US Airways, as well as foreign airlines ranging from Lufthansa to Air China and Air New Zealand, to name a few.
The new free FareFinder iPhone app, developed for the alliance by ITA Software, enables travelers to search for domestic and international flights; supports multiple date searches on an interactive calendar; facilitates the checking of seat availability; and even provides comparisons between airlines on things like the number of stops, airports, carbon emissions and the total mileage for each trip.
However, when it comes to making an alliance booking, things get tricky.
To actually make a booking on the mobile device, you have to navigate to the airline website or phone the airline.
The Star Alliance FareFinder app requires iOs 4.2 or higher, and also is compatible with the iPad and iPod touch.
Making things a little confusing, the Star Alliance on Sept. 1 introduced Version 1.1 of the Star Alliance Navigator app for the iPhone.
The Navigator app is geared more for flight tracking so travelers can gauge whether flights by Alliance member airlines are on time, en route or already on the runway after arrival.
The Navigator app also enables travelers and others to search for flights, view itineraries and access airport lounge information.
It, too, doesn’t support booking flights.