Too many choices


I booked a flight on the United Airlines site today. After confirming my travel times, I was presented with the option to pay for a seat with extra legroom. When I declined that, another screen appeared offering a “special deal” for upgrading to first class. On this second screen, I had to wade through a big disclaimer (presumably for the special upgrade) and then find the button to decline the offer. That’s a lot of effort just to purchase what I asked for in the first place.

From what I’ve seen, many airline sites are pretty crude. They tend to lag behind other e-commerce sites in key areas like usability. But it would certainly be nice if they could follow a few simple guidelines for special offers, upgrades and add-ons. When presenting customers with these choices, put them all on a single, straightforward screen. If there are disclaimers that go along with the options, only show them if the customer chooses to take you up on the offer. And finally, don’t make the “No thanks” button hard to find. Otherwise, you may find that a lot more customers abandon their entire purchase because they were confused by your upgrade offer.