If you fly a lot for work, then you probably know the annoyance of searching through Qantas’ or Virgin’s websites to find the best flight on or around the day you want to travel. One carrier might have expensive morning flights, and one might be pricier in the afternoon, while both will usually drive up the cost significantly for the convenience of flying out at peak times. A new mobile booking app lets you pick and choose which flight you’d prefer, links with your various frequent flyer profiles, and takes less than half a minute from go to whoa.
The Sparrow app for iOS — at least at the moment — is built by a team of Aussies, and took a year to evolve from concept to its initial release a fortnight ago.
Showing flights from both Qantas and Virgin Australia, and allowing users to input both Qantas Frequent Flyer and Velocity Frequent Flyer numbers to earn points and associate their loyalty accounts, Sparrow’s utility is that it lives entirely within the mobile app; you don’t need to jump into a separate app or browser to complete the booking. Once you’ve initially entered all your details — name, loyalty number, credit card information and the like — the booking process is more streamlined than the web could ever be.
The team is quickly responding to early feedback, adding features like a toggle for flexible fare types, adding support for multiple credit cards, and introducing a Sparrow Concierge service with every booking — where the team will deal with Qantas or Virgin’s customer service to change flights if necessary, check in to flights remotely if the carrier’s mobile website is down, and so on. The entire Sparrow service comes at a flat $19 fee per booking, and that absorbs any credit card charges and processing fees charged by the airline. That’s significantly cheaper than competitors, which charge upwards of $20 before card fees.
While it’s most useful if you’re flying regularly and booking your own flights as a business traveller, the simplicity and ease of use that Sparrow promises might just make it more convenient for your one-off leisure trips around Australia too. There’s an Android app on the way once the team gets off the ground with iOS, and more features are on the way too.