UX – An Overlooked Aspect by Indian Online Ticketing Agents

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OTAs

Three things that Most of the Indian Online Ticketing websites need to do

  1. Improve UX,
  2. Improve UX and
  3. Improve UX.

Isn’t it the pricing that drives?

Not exactly. Of the last 10 trips that you made, how many were reimbursed? Well, That answers why pricing is not always the main criteria to choose the booking agent. What a customer actually needs is a hassle-free way of booking a flight. That’s good enough reason for OTAs to focus more on UX. But somehow, it appears that UX is overlooked by even the top players including MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Cleartrip, Expedia, Ezeego1 and Goibibo.

URLs can be Universal too!

The search and flight details URL are shared often across co-travellers . Searching and booking are not always done the same person and in the same session.
Below are some of the URLs of flights

  1. http://www.ezeego1.co.in/live/airOrderCapture.do
  2. https://www.goibibo.com/flight-booking/

These URLs are just not reusable, share-able or bookmark-able.
Some OTAs have a unique session id attached which has its own limitations. It times out!

  1. https://domestic-air-tickets.expedia.co.in/flights/itinerary/68d1f31fad-385f-49d2-a6f7-dfaf75ceb155/info
  2. https://www.cleartrip.com/flights/itinerary/689324c461-317d-4f87-a79c-7b96829578f0/info
  3. https://secure.yatra.com/flights-india-yt/dom/book/bookNow?searchId=613c1494-bf91-4684-a955-d352348b46a7&flightIdCSV=DELBLRIT201IT20120927
  4. http://flights.makemytrip.com/makemytrip/selectDeparture.do?trip_type_id=O&offerSelected=false&mapTo=searchreturnprogress&searchFrom=modify&searchKey=e4aed|3d|22|17|4b150_&searchDirect=undefined&flightId=1&pagePosId=RV&sectorNo=0#gohere

Though the search result URLs do not have such a major drawback, they do not include the filters and sorts.

Use Cache to Cash

If the user has searched in a site, the site should remember the search and results and not the user. The previous searches and flights viewed can be remembered and presented for easy access in the next visit. A lot can be learnt from Amazon.com. Even if a session is timed-out or payment is failed, provide the fresh results to the user rather than asking the user to go through the complete search. OTAs can also use the information to inform the user on regular price changes.

Relevant Details

Not all websites provide complete details about a flight. Information including Food, Terms of Cancellation, Terms of Rescheduling, Baggage allowance are also important for the user.

For the Deal Hunters

Why should a Coupon Code be put while checking out? Is it because everybody is doing it from the beginning of time. Why not let the user put his coupon codes and then search to get the results with coupon-adjusted pricing. An A/B testing can provide a empirical proof whether it can work or not.
These were some of the random thoughts about improving the Flight ticket booking experience. I personally feel, there is a disruption waiting to happen in this space by Indian Players who haven’t changed much in the past 3-4 Years. Please put in your views in the comments.

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