Associate Editor Michelle Schusterman reviews American Express Publishing’s flight info iPhone app.

The first impression was a good one. I admired his clean, simple look, his organization. He was so easy to read. I felt like we had a connection.

Then, like so many travel apps before him, he just shut down on me.

I gave him another chance, though – I’m a total sucker for good looking apps, after all. By another chance, I mean I deleted eSkyGuide from my iPhone, then uploaded it again. I’ve done this with the others. Chalk it up to nerves. They just can’t perform well the first time.

The main menu of the app is fairly self-explanatory; choose from flight schedules and statuses, the weather at a specific airport, locating an airport, or contact info for airports and hotels. You can search by flight number, departure/arrival info, date. The pieces are all there, but…I’m going to stop with the dating analogy now. You get the idea.

Honestly, the app does work about one in three attempts. The problem is that if I don’t get a message saying something is wrong, or if the app doesn’t just completely crash, then it takes so long to load I’m afraid it’s frozen. I did, for example, open the hotel contact list, but it took nearly a full minute to get there.

Based on layout and navigation alone, I’m sold. Along with departure and arrival times, flight duration and aircraft details, you even get meal info. But when loading takes so long even my iPhone goes to sleep, then I wake him only to read this message:

eSkyguide Encountered some problem. Please try again after

I have to wonder. After what? I’m not trying to be rude here, but I’m making an iPhone app myself, and I know details matter. As a customer, I’d be fairly annoyed about spending five bucks on an app that gives me this incomplete and unhelpful message.

The concept is here, the performance is not. I’d wait to see if any bugs are addressed in future updates before asking this one up for a nightcap.

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