Where’s my travel itinerary?


I’ve been scheduling a fair amount of travel lately, which has made me even more sensitive to the gap between what I expect from travel providers, and what they actually deliver.

For instance, consider the process of booking an airline ticket. Once I’ve made a purchase, I expect the following:

– An immediate, on-screen confirmation

– An email confirmation

– The ability to view my itinerary when logged in to the website

However, during my most recent ticket purchasing experience, the airline missed two out of three. Yes, I saw the on-screen confirmation, but I never got a confirmation email. Plus, it took about 30 minutes before the itinerary appeared in my account, with the website defaulting to a not-so-comforting error message in the interim.

While there might not be any quick fixes for these types of problems (after all, airlines probably have more legacy systems than any other consumer-facing business), there’s an easy way to help reduce the negative impact on customers. Just show a big, bold message right after booking that tells people when they should expect the email confirmation and when the itinerary will be available online. It’s not a perfect solution, but at least it sets reasonable expectations about what happens after purchasing a ticket.