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February 11, 2014

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Airlines warn over 3rd-party apps

Local airlines are urging passengers not to use third-party boarding applications on their mobile phones, claiming the apps are illegal and could jeopardize their chances of taking the flight at the airport.

China Eastern Airlines said in a statement yesterday that the carrier could not ensure the after-services promised by the third-party apps and will not compensate for any losses or personal information leaked by the apps.

“China Eastern has never authorized any third-party apps to provide automatic boarding services for the airlines. Passengers should check in on the carrier’s official website or its official mobile phone application,” the airline said on its website

Air China claimed the apps infringed the legal rights of the carrier by using its brands, company name and logo.

“Air China cannot ensure passengers who check in by using the third-party apps to enjoy the same services as offered on the official website or app,” the country’s flagship carrier announced.

The airlines said the apps also violated the regulations of the Civil Aviation Administration of China because they failed to list the forbidden dangerous materials for passengers.

The airlines asked the third-party app providers to “stop the infringement and protect the rights of the passengers” and warned of legal action.

A China Southern Airlines official also told Shanghai Daily that it does not accept the third-party apps.

Many domestic online flight ticket agents and travel agencies have launched mobile phone applications for flight services.

Popular apps, including VeryZhun and Lvmama, offer one-stop service from booking tickets, reminding passengers of flight delays to updating flight information.

They are sometimes more swift than the carriers. The apps also allow users to choose their seats and even check in on their mobile phones.

“The app was helpful when I was caught in a traffic jam on my way to the airport,” said a passenger surnamed Sun.

He nearly missed his flight from Shanghai to Chongqing on January 25 but managed to get on board after checking in by using the VeryZhun app.

Though most domestic airlines have launched their official apps for passengers to check flight information and check in, most passengers are unwilling to download different apps for different carriers.

The third-party apps combine the services of over 10 carriers in a single application. But problems remain.

“My seat was allotted to another passenger. The crew later found that the other passenger had checked in by using a third-party app,” said Jia Ling who was on a Shenzhen-Chongqing China Southern Airlines flight last Tuesday.

She was allotted another seat by the crew.

A local passenger said she used a app for a flight from Guiyang in Guizhou Province to Shanghai, but was told she had to check in at the counter again at the airport.



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