I'm A Product Guy.

Good, bad, great, all products can be better.

If you’re like me, you slightly obsess over every product you come across and are either impressed and inspired by an amazing experience or deeply disappointed by a total miss.  I can’t keep this ecstasy or misery to myself so there’s usually some rant which follows.

Gmail Mobile App For Flights

My wife and I recently flew, SFO>PDX, to explore Portland and the Willamette Wine Region.  The area has some of my personal favorites from the Pacific Northwest:  

Willamette Pinots, Stumptown Coffee, Voodoo Donuts, artisanal farm fresh cuisine, cool bars, food trucks, and absolutely exquisite hipster handle bar mustaches.

How do you voodoo?

The trip was awesome, except for my experience using the Gmail mobile app for flight confirmations and check-ins; which is not artisanal, hipster, or bespoke and it’s not even ironic in a retro way, it’s just awkward.  

Listen, a while ago I made the switch to the Gmail app and haven’t looked back, I prefer it to iOS native email on my iPhone – I’m already a fan.  It’s great but in a world where extraordinary is the new normal, I want more!


Flight Confirmations/Boarding Passes, DESKTOP

The design is clean, bold, and free of non-essentials.

The parsed flight confirmations are great! for my laptop, but not compelling enough for me to keep my laptop at the ready while dashing through the airport, in fact for most trips I carry just my iPhone (iPad maybe).

Gmail for Desktop Does Flights Right


Flight Confirmations/Boarding Passes, MOBILE 

The tight integration of Gmail, desktop needs to be on mobile phones and tablets.   In the “Improved” design below, I stay within the basic design motif of Gmail for desktop, but bring the benefits of a clean, well-parsed flight confirmation to mobile.  (BTW, the “check-in” button would not be displayed prior to the 24hr check-in time frame – make sense?)  

Which is more clear?

Which is more clear?

Overall, what do you think?  let me know in the comments.


Soon we’ll simply check-in from the mobile inbox -OR-
better yet from an alert to the mobile screen where we’ll select a “Check-In” button -OR-
even better yet the phone will just tell us when the flight check-in is ready and await a simple reply back “Check me in!” and the boarding pass will be saved to all of my devices.

Okay, rant over, let’s start with an inbox check-in, which would be wonderful.  The special flight confirmation email would simply present the “Add to Calendar” button – select it and done – flight added to my calendar.  And in the case of flight check-in, the special email would present the “Check-In” button in the email inbox list view and then simply ask where I’d like to store my electronic boarding pass: Apple Passbook, Google Drive, Evernote, etc.  something like this

The future is 1-touch, flight check-in from the Inbox.

The future is 1-touch, flight check-in from the Inbox.


Gmail flight confirmations and check-ins are awesome! but this is a perfect opportunity for a “mobile first” moment.  Especially when for most, at least the return flight is a mobile only experience (while traveling and away from our desktop browsers.)  Gmail for mobile is so close and should already be delivering this to us now.