I use the American Airlines mobile app a lot. It’s probably risky in some ways — I’m assuming the risk that the airline’s IT systems will be working and able to generate and scan the boarding passes, and they won’t be limited to working with paper. I’m assuming the risk that I’ll have a decent enough data connection to be able to pull up the app (it has to open and log in) and then connect to open the boarding pass. And I’m assuming the risk that I don’t run out of battery. I’m syncing with two Exchange server email accounts in addition to Gmail and Yahoo. That drains battery on my Android phone.
But all of those things are, more or less, a function of the technology. I’m aware of those risks and assume them and I’ve never had a problem.
For the first time though I ran into problems with one of the features of the app. And it’s a really clever feature.
When you pull up a reservation there’s a parking reminder option. You click on the option and can enter text (where did you leave your car in the airport parking lot?) and can also attach a photo of where you’ve parked. Very cool.
I don’t use the feature a lot because I don’t usually drive to the airport. But I needed my car there on return to Washington National, since I’d need to drive to a meeting and needed my car immediately afterward.
Even though American departs from the B pier at National airport, I chose to park in the C long-term garage.
- The bridge over to the terminal from both B and C are about equidistant tot he security checkpoint for B.
- And of course it’s closer to the checkpoint for C — which I’m inclined to use anyway, even though American is on the B pier.
- The C checkpoint has Precheck. I’m not certain this is correct because I haven’t done any controlled experiments, but the TSA agents at the checkpoint tell me that having precheck through American won’t get me access there. That may or may not be the case, but it’s a non-issue as I also attach my Global Entry number to the reservation and get the three beeps. (I haven’t missed a Precheck since getting global entry.)
- I save time in security, and certainly relative to opting out of a pat down. For folks going through the nude-o-scopes it would probably be faster overall just to go through at B. That’s because you have to wait for a shuttle to drive you across the tarmac to the other pier.
- But the C pier also has better food options… (Five Guys)
I went out to the C garage on my return. But since I had flown on an American one-way ticket on the outbound, that reservation was now gone from the app. And along with it, my parking information!
The app works great for a roundtrip ticket, since the reservation you just flew in on for the return is still there.
But it doesn’t work so well when flying on a one-way. The reservation disappeared, and my notes on parking location disappeared down a memory hole along with it. And since I didn’t need to remember (I had the nifty app — written notes and a picture) I didn’t commit it to memory.
I was sure I parked on the C3 level. I walked the C3 level. That’s where I’ve generally parked in the past. Up and down the rows. I thought, maybe I parked one level up? but that’s a uncovered level of the garage and it was definitely not that. Or maybe one level below? but I knew I didn’t park on the level where the walkway is at because I remember using the elevator.
For some reason it never occurred to me that I had parked on C1. Until I had spent over half an hour looking for my car, and had to cancel a meeting because I just wasn’t going to make it.
Have you ever shown up at nn airport and forgotten where you parked? Do you rely too much on technology?
And — American — please make it possible to retain the notes from a previous reservation and call it up through you mobile app! (Of course some enterprising reader will probably tell me that it is possible, and how to do it, and then I’ll feel even More stupid for missing that meeting…)