Interesting @UnitedAirlines response to why they don’t have an iPhone app

This is pretty amusing and perhaps partly representative of how big, oaf-like companies think about embracing consumer technology. I fly United mostly so posed a question on their Wall about why they would have a games iPhone app over having a real user app. Below is an edited transcript of that discussion. Keep in mind that American, Southwest, Delta, Alaska, and a few others already have iPhone applications.

Semil Shah United Airlines: Hello, curious as to why you have a social games iPhone app but not a REAL usable iPhone app??
October 7 at 8:18pm ·  · Unlike

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    You and Chris Nute like this.
    • Semil Shah Srsly.

      October 7 at 8:31pm · Like
    • United Airlines Hi Semil, you may find the following page useful when using your mobile with UA – http://www.united.com/page/article/0,6867,66,00.html

      October 7 at 8:33pm · Like · 
    • Semil Shah 

      Thank you for this, but this is for a mobile optimized website, or WAP, which really isn’t efficient since the data load times on regular and/or 3G phone networks is too slow to make it useful. Most of the big carriers now have their OWN native iPhone applications, such as American Airlines, Delta, Southwest, and others. Only makes sense for United to do the same. A very slick, thin-client app could be done for less than $50,000. Heck, I would be happy to send a bunch of referrals your way for you to choose, but the bottomline is that you guys need one. Fast.
      October 7 at 8:39pm · Unlike ·   2 people
    • Stephan Smith Haha.. nice pitch for some work. No worries Semil, I think we got that covered.

      October 7 at 9:37pm · Like · 
    • Semil Shah Stephan, I don’t know how to make apps, I would just use them. I know about 20+ agencies that do, though. Do you? If you’re all set, would love to see it covered, then ūüôā with a nice native app.

      October 7 at 9:43pm · Like
    • Noah Rattner I agree with Semil on this 100%. UA’s pathetic attempt at an iPhone App is appalling!! For the USA’s “largest carrier” you’d expect them to be able to keep up with the technology. The current app is HORRIBLE, takes forever to load, and doesn’t always fetch current information. Try harder UA, seriously. Your current app was designed by an amateur. Check out what your competitors have…

      October 8 at 1:52am · Like · 
    • Duane Clark ok guys, dont make stuff up.. the mobile boarding pass works fine, I have an original IPhone and there are no issues with downloading at all, and I was it for boarding. Given that, I would like to see an app for booking flights.

      October 8 at 5:35am · Like · 
    • Stephan Smith trust me.. its in the works.

      October 8 at 8:12am · Like · 
    • Sam Inla 

      I’m just curious Semil… What would you do with a UA iPhone app personally??? How often would you be using it. What feature would you want on it? I’m asking because as much as I travel… I never seem to need an iPhone app??? And I carry 2 iPhones and an iPad plus my laptop??? Everything I need can be accomplished on the mobile app or on my laptop… It works just fine… I’m not against an app… Ansd since they dont have one… Perhaps we can suggest features that would be useful… I see so many people requesting for it… Maybe you know something I don’t… Or is it just a fashion accessory?
      October 8 at 4:14pm · Like · 
    • Semil Shah 

      Hi Sam. There are many reasons to build a native app. 1, better connection w/ customers, brand presence. 2, better user experience relative to clunky WAP site. 3, in-app advertising for UAL based on location, etc. 4, it only costs a/b ~$50k to make one, so for a big company it’s nothing. 5, for features, I personally don’t care for mobile boarding passes b/c I don’t want a stranger to physically handle my phone. A very nice lady almost dropped mine months ago. What I would like to see: just an iPhone app w/ the basic stuff. Nothing fancy. Just a thin-client shell. For instance, the ESPN app is too feature-rich and then ends up w/ huge load times. Look at @foursquare app for thin-design.
      Sunday at 1:52pm · Like