Passbook App Good but not Perfect

I'm a frequent flier and the idea of a paper boarding pass seems so 1998 to me. My airline of choice (most of the time) is United Airlines. United has been doing a very good job with electronic boarding passes since it's inception several years ago. First it was an emailed link that would bring up a web page, then a email containing a PDF, app delivered boarding passes and now, integration with iOS Passbook.

When I first experienced Passbook in iOS 6 it was a very cool concept. I promptly loaded up all my rewards and membership cards that had been taking up space in my wallet. Did you know you can make a pass for a card or membership program that doesn't have an integrated service? When United updated their app for iOS 6 it brought with it the inclusion of Passbook boarding passes. At first this was revolutionary and the function of having a swipe to display boarding pass from my lock screen was amazing.

Over the past few months it seems that the passbook app has been going downhill, or at least the user experience. Lately I'm not getting consistent delivery of my boarding passes to the lock screen and very often when I swipe it brings up the wrong boarding pass (boarding pass for a future or past flight segment). I'm actually finding that the electronic boarding pass on the United app is a more streamlined experience than using the Passbook app.

As a related note I wish that Passbook offered an automatic delete feature. For example it automatically deletes the pass 72 hours after the pass expiration. I fly a lot, sometimes 6 boarding passes a week. At the end of the month it's not uncommon to have 30 or so older passes in passbook that need to be deleted.

I'm sure that Passbook is due for evolution, specifically as Apple enters the NFC and mobile payment space. My hope is that the app developers and apple will continue to develop this interface as the desired user experience is extremely beneficial to the consumer. 

Lighting and Micro USB Charging Cable

Here's the dilemma, I have several iOS devices that charge via a Apple Lighting style connector. I also have several devices that charge via a Micro USB platform. I'm conscious about space when I travel and don't like carrying around a lot of cables. I would prefer to just have a couple that would charge all my devices. There are times that I want to charge both my iPad and iPhone at the same time. You can see the issue here. Last month I discovered a really good solution that fixes this problem. Apple makes an adapter that goes from Micro USB to Lighting

   Link to Apple Micro USB-Lighting Adapter

Transient

Now I can carry a lighting cable and a Micro USB cable with the adapter on one end that can charge all my devices and keep me from having to carry too many extra cables. Just for the record the things that I charge with Micro USB are my iPad keyboard, Verizon hotspot and Monoprice backup battery.

Hopefully this will work well for you too.

 

Airspace Lounge

I had my first experience with Airspace lounge at Baltimore Washington airport this afternoon. I am a United Club member however United does not have a lounge at BWI. I wanted to try this out and see what it's like.  The club at BWI is fairly small, about 20 tables or couch areas. I had to wait about 10 minutes before I could enter as the person watching the front desk is also the bartender. The cost is $20 ($22 with MD tax) and you get a card that's loaded with $7 towards a drink. The soft drinks are complementary. The bar is fully stocked with decent domestic beers and some local's along with normal spirits. Their website promotes complimentary food in the club. The only complimentary food I was able to find was a dispenser of bar nuts and Chex. Each table had a menu which listed drinks as well as made-to-order food priced between $6 and $21 dollars. I'm not sure how one would order this as there are no "servers" attending to the tables. There was ample space to plug in, just about every table had a power port. Wifi was pretty dismal with speeds at around .14 mbps (via speedtest.net). The ambiance was the same as a typical airline club however did not have a TV, quiet or kids room. The bathrooms were very clean. 

Overall I was a little underwhelmed. I guess I'm spoiled by being a member of a mainline airline club. If your like me this club might seem like a downgrade or not worth the $22 dollars for the day pass. If your not this will be a nice upgrade to sitting in the concourse or a restaurant, especially if your trying to conduct business at the airport.