AA.com UX pile-on

Not to pile on, but recent personal experiences with the AA.com (American Airlines) site underscore just how dreadful the user experience on the site is, no matter what the excuses are. I've been using - with some success - the aa.com site for some time now, ever since I worked at Yahoo and AA was the preferred airline and I racked up so many miles. I've always found it to be difficult to use, and somewhat stress-inducing given the cramped layout, tiny controls, wonky nomenclature, and tedious performance. Over the last few weeks I've been planning a couple trips, one to Mexico for the family at the end of the year, and one for myself to attend my niece's high school graduation in Madison. I found a good itinerary to Mexico and booked it, then played with several to Madison (putting a couple on hold) before settling on one. The AA site does provide a display of itineraries, which is great, but like most of the site it is poorly rendered.

Here's what it looks like actual size: aa.com itinerary

My nits:

  • The type size, width, and row height of this table makes it feel very cramped.
  • A plethora of uppercase acronyms make it hard to tell which flight is which.
  • The "Reservation Name" isn't user-friendly or even user-generated. It can also be horribly inaccurate: it only shows the first leg in any multi-layover flight. So if I had a flights to Mexico and Madison, both with layovers in ORD, that I ticketed in close succession, I could easily get confused.
  • The Cancel link only takes me to a confirmation page, not one with any more information about the flight, which would be an easy way to help people understand what they are doing. There is no email generated confirming this, no cooling off period, etc.

So what happened to me that was so bad? Well, I blew away the family vacation to Mexico and didn't even know it. I'm sure there are excellent business reason for the way things were designed here, but I also know that they all could be accomodated in a different and much more user-friendly manner.

Don't get me started with the voice-activated phone system I had to use to straighten this out (kudos to the human who did!).