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American Airlines debuts mobile feature for loyalty program members

American Airlines is targeting mostly mobile customers with a new service that recognizes callers inquiring about upcoming journeys.

The service, called "Remember Me," is based on caller ID technology to help American Airlines AAdvantage loyalty program customers when they call in for information such as departure gate and flight times. The Telme caller ID technology will cut down the response times to calls made.

"With Remember Me, the need that we're addressing is the speed to get the information to customers," said Billy Sanez, spokesman for AA, Fort Worth, TX. "We know that the majority of customers have a cell phone and use that to call us for flight information.

"In the past, it would have taken us 2 ½ minutes to get that information and instead of being reactive, we're proactive in giving them the right information that they're calling for," he said.

With Remember Me, the response time is reduced to between 25 seconds and 30 seconds, according to AA.

Remember Me is open to all AAdvantage members who have a 10-digit, U.S.-based mobile, home or work phone number. They can register all three numbers, too.

Customers can register those numbers by calling any AA reservations toll-free number. They can provide the number when prompted and then say "Remember me," followed by "Enroll now."

Alternatively, customers can call an AA reservations representative.

Once registered, the system recognizes the customer's phone number and pulls up the reservation. It even greets that customer by his or her name, offering gate and flight details speedily.

Mobile takes off
The Remember Me feature comes two months after AA introduced mobile boarding passes at select airports nationwide.

The boarding passes can be sent from the site at http://www.aa.com or the mobile site to smartphones as 2D bar code jpegs. The boarding passes can be scanned at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints and at AA gates.

Customers can currently use these mobile boarding passes for domestic flights departing Chicago's O'Hare International, Los Angeles' LAX and John Wayne Orange County airports. A successful run could mean expansion to other cities.

"We're currently testing that rollout pretty well and we hope to work closely with the TSA in other airports," Mr. Sanez said.

Remember Me and the mobile boarding passes are a series of initiatives that AA has taken on since the airline launched its mobile Web site in January 2008.

The mobile site is accessed by typing in AA.com on Web-enabled mobile phones. Among the many features available, consumers can check flight information, schedules, weather updates and also book trips through the mobile site.

"We know that they're purchasing tickets and Admiral Club [airport lounge] memberships over the phone," Mr. Sanez said. "We're seeing transactions on the mobile site increase, so we're keeping an eye on mobile.

"We're learning a lot," he said, "but it's pretty neat to see that pattern develop. It's a nascent outlet, but it's growing quite quickly."