One missing word has cost me 2 hours of quality time!

Um, I hoped it defaults to _today_

Um, I hoped it defaults to _today_

Check out the United Airline’s flight status check website for mobile devices (screen shot is taken with Opera because it’s easier – but the thing is intended for PDA/Smartphone use). As many people, I rarely remember the today’s date, I just know (most of the time šŸ˜‰ ) what day of the week it is.

When I want to check if my flight is delayed, I naturally assume the website would be kind enough to default the date to today and if it doesn’t, I just can’t spot the error. So instead of spending 2 more hours at the bar with my friend, I rush to the airport only to find that my flight is delayed for 2 hours. I didn’t know that because I was looking at the yesterday’s flight which wasn’t delayed. And boy would I’ve been pissed if it was other way around!

At the very least – if defaulting to today is too damn complex – is it so hard to add the day of the week to the day to the date selection. This wonderful idea is apparently known to the regular website developers.

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6 Responses

  1. My question is: why did it default to Oct. 16th at all? You *are* on a cell phone – maybe the timezone auto detection on the mobile site screwed up somewhere?

  2. Beats me. It actually seems to default to different dates depending on the device used: I have a few cell phone emulators and with some it defaults to yesterday, while with some it defaults to _tomorrow_. When I checked it it was already tomorrow in some (most) parts of the world, but my IP is from a major American carrier, and United is a US company, so why isn’t it a bit more US-centric is not clear.

    I suppose they could ask for the flight number first and then assume I’m somewhere near the airport – after all, if I want to get on that plane, I’d rather be somewhere close by. That would mean making it 2-step process: flight number->date (properly defaulted)->status.

    Adding day of the week is probably the easiest fix that doesn’t require changing the interface at all.

  3. Were you using Opera Mini? Because then your IP would actually be in Oslo. All data goes through their proxy server.

  4. >Because then your IP would actually be in Oslo.

    It does that? I didn’t know that.

    I was using Opera _for Mobile_, though, not Mini. I’ve just checked what IP address is visible on the server side when I connect to it, and it is an address within Sprint’s range. Whois shows it’s in Reston, VA – just 3 hours off compared to where I live (California).

  5. I’ve been trying to come up with a reason why they would make the default date yesterday, and I just can’t come up with a good reason. It doesn’t make sense…

  6. On some devices it apparently defaults to tomorrow – or may be to “today” but in a different time zone. Defaulting to yesterday is probably more of a programming error (i.e. it doesn’t attempt to default to anything so the browser picks up the first option available).

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