an app redesign for in-flight service



Working with two fellow students at General Assembly, we re-designed the American Airlines app with a focus on in-flight services. This was an assigned project and did not involve American Airlines as a stakeholder. The purpose of the re-design was to provide more in-flight options for passengers. Over two weeks, we spoke with a range of people who fly both long and short distance, identified the challenges they experience with in-flight entertainment options, and designed features to support travelers with comfort and entertainment.


Roles & Responsibilities


The Challenge & Solution




As a team, we collaborated on conducting research and designing entertainment features. I took the lead on research and designed the surveys, interview guides, personas, journey maps, and heuristic evaluations. I led the interviews, analyzed qualitative and quantitative data and conducted user testing of our initial prototype.

The Challenge:

American Airlines does not currently enable users to access in-flight services from their personal devices after take-off. The result is that American Airlines users are not fully accessing all of the in-flight amenities. My team’s challenge was to design a mobile platform that permits passengers to personalize their in-flight experience while also increasing in-flight sales.

The Solution:

An app that connects with airplane amenities (such as the television monitor and food ordering services) to ensure passengers can a) access in-flight entertainment b) order food at a time convenient for them and c) increase in-flight sales to boost business with American Airlines.

In two weeks, we re-designed the American Airlines app and added three components: in flight entertainment, food ordering, and e-commerce. We surveyed over 30 people, interviewed eight, and conducted usability tests on four people.






During the research phase, I sought to better understand the needs of passengers who fly both domestic and internationally. My questions focused on points of frustration and ways airlines can better support passengers. The researcher was designed to gather both qualitative and quantitative data and was conducted both in-person in Austin, TX and remotely with Dallas, NYC, and California.

Research Goals:

  1. Define passenger frustrations with current in-flight experience.

  2. Define app features that can better support passengers while on board their flight.

  3. Determine what people like and dislike about the current app features on American Airlines as well as other commercial airlines.

Secondary Research

First, I conducted secondary research to understand user demographics, flight trends, and challenges within airline apps to meet users needs during their in-flight experience.

Competitive Analysis Key Findings:

●3 out of 5 airline apps lead to external site when you click “In-flight Entertainment”

●1 out of 5 airline apps allow user to stream from their personal devices

●Only 2 out of 5 apps show their food options

●1 out of 5 apps allows users to earn rewards in the app

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Primary Persona

Michelle’s primary focus is ensure her needs are met when traveling. She prefers to order food at a time that works for her, to communicate with the in-flight staff especially when requesting extra assistance, and having a more personalized process for in-flight entertainment.


Secondary Persona

Don typically travels for work and often needs to access reliable and secure wifi. He enjoys streaming Netflix but would prefer a way to do so in-flight but also use the airline’s equipment so he can use his phone for work.


User Journeys

I created two user journeys for the primary persona. The first outlined her current experience using the airline app for in-flight services and the second outlines what her experience will be with this app re-design.


Ideation : Quick sketch


I wanted to discover a few possible solutions to the challenges passengers face with in-flight services and their airline app. This exercise is designed 8 one minute sprints of idea generation.


Information Architecture


After brainstorming a few features my team identified key in-flight services for the American Airlines app that meet the needs outlined by our research. We narrowed the scope of our focus and generated a site map.

AA Sitemap.png

Wireframes: Mid-Fidelity


My team created a series of wireframes in Sketch that incorporated functionality with design broken into three categories: entertainment, food & drinks, and shopping.

Usability Testing


We asked 4 participants to test the American Airlines app prototype. The pool of participants were people between the ages of 24-37 who have flown on airlines in the past six months. The participants were given three scenarios with five tasks to complete using the app prototype.


  1. Find a movie to watch.

  2. Stream the movie onto the airplane monitor.

  3. Order a food and a drink.

  4. Apply rewards to your purchase.

  5. Purchase a gift item.


The users identified five items our team should focus on for the second iteration:

  1. Create an icon with an information tab to guide users to connect to the airplane monitor

  2. Add a secondary option, such as a QR scanner, to support users in quickly and easily connecting their personal device to the airplane monitor.

  3. Include a Watchlist feature for passengers to save episodes and films to view later. Include a viewing expiration date.

  4. When making a purchase, the cart icon signifies the quantity of items.

  5. Add a Happy Hour button, an information bubble, and a color change to finalized bill to signify the discount was applied.

Second Iteration with annotated features:

Visual Design

Our Lead Visual Designer created the final version of the app branding utilizing American Airlines branding guidelines.


American Airlines Branding Guidelines


My Team’s Branding

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Visual Design


Click here to view the prototype in InVision


Next Steps


I would like to build out a messaging feature that permits passengers to text flight attendants when in need of assistance. Additionally, since the recommendations from the initial user research were incorporated, I am interested in further conducting usability tests to strengthen the overall functionality of this app for use with in-flight services.