Cleartrip is one of the popular travel portals for booking Air Tickets and Hotel stays in India. Their mission seems to be making the booking process plain and simple. They were one of the first to “mobilize” their site for people on the move to book their travel tickets. In fact, I’ve used their mobile site quite successfully a few times over the last year. Now to augment the mobile site and their Windows Phone app, they’ve also released their iPhone app about a week back. I hadn’t gotten around to checking out their app until today.
The app is pretty simple to use as is their website. As soon as the app is opened for the first time, a help screen is presented showing you how to go ahead with your first flight booking. When choosing the number of passengers travelling, I immediately noticed controls which are native to the iOS system. The native controls do make the experience of selecting items easier than the web site’s web controls. Once you select the basic details, the app then presents you the choice of flights available on that day.
If you did choose a return trip, the app presents you a two pane window from where you can select the onward and return flights in one screen. It’s makes it so easy to mix and match options while seeing how it affects the cost of travel, because as soon as you make your selection, the total cost of travel is updated on top of the screen. Their approach for this screen seems to work well for me. Given the sheer number of flights per day, and having to factor in various combinations of onwards and return flights, this two pane selection window seems to cut to the chase.
Once you’ve got the right flights selected, you can go ahead with your booking, by allowing the app to login to your Cleartrip account. You can use the saved cards in your account, or add a credit card to your Expressway option under the app settings for a frictionless booking within the app. You can also choose other options like Debit Cards or Net Banking as well, if that’s your preferred method of payment.
In the Trips menu, you can keep track of your upcoming trips and archived trips from earlier on. If you are a frequent traveller, the app also saves your previous searches, so you can access them from the starting screen in the app, by tapping on the top right side of the screen.
Scope for Improvement?
The first version of the iOS app from Cleartrip seems to have nailed it right in terms of functionality. Some of the minor issues and missing functionality I’ve noticed are
- The lack of International Flight bookings within the app, it just does domestic flight bookings as of now.
- Even though the app has an option for “Current Location” for the Airport selection window, it didn’t seem to work for me when I was trying it out.
- Hotel bookings, even though it available in their mobile website, seems to be missing in the app.
In a nutshell, the app does what it’s built out to do, book tickets, and it does it really well. If the full features of their mobile website make it into the app in the future, it’ll certainly become the best Indian travel app around in the iOS segment. They’ve already had an app out for the Windows phone some time now. When we asked the folks at Cleartrip if there was an Android App in the plan, they didn’t seem to have any in the near future.