Cleartrip for Android Finally Offers a Modern Android Experience
Cleartrip has been our preferred choice for travel bookings online. Not only do they offer good service and overall reliability, their website has had one of the cleanest and most minimal design we’ve seen on a travel bookings website. They started serving customers on handheld devices first with a mobile-optimised site that yet again shared the same appealing design language. Now, they have apps for the big three — iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The iOS version had a leg-up design-wise, even the Windows Phone app used the OS’s design ideologies. But the Android app was nothing more than just a container for the mobile site. Until today that is…
Enter Cleartrip’s attempt at a “real” native Android app. The first thing you may notice as you open the app is the missing yellow colour used for the menus on the mobile site and even the iOS app. It’s got an all white background with big sized text menus to check out Flights, get your Trip details, access Settings, etc. You’ll be surprised to find the Train and Hotel reservation options missing from the main menu; that’s because they’re buried in the ‘More’ menu and to our disappointment, are mere hyperlinks to the mobile site. Moving on, clicking Flights reveals the Holo design language used in the app. But a nitpick for us is that they didn’t follow the Holo functionality through and through; you cannot swipe sideways to move from one menu item to another. On a happier note, clicking the arrow symbol between the ‘To’ and ‘From’ locations swaps them in style, using a neat sliding animation and a 360 degree rotation of the arrow.
After you hit the ‘Search Flights’ button, it shows you the results categorised as per Price, time and Location. You can bring up the calendar again or move to the next or previous dates using the conveniently placed back and forward arrow buttons. A funnel icon to the top-right opens the filter menu for even further shortlisting. Once you select a flight that suits you, the final Itinerary page recaps what you’re about to book. If you’re registered with Cleartrip, it will fill out your details, thereby speeding this journey to its transactional end. A nice touch is that if you’ve booked for other people in the past, it also shows their names in the ‘Your Travellers’ menu. You can pay either via Credit/Debit Card or Netbanking and save card info for one-touch payments in the future.
Which brings us to the final feature of the app dubbed ‘Expressway’. You can save your card details in the app by filling them out once in the Expressway menu, to avoid the grunt work every time you book. This should come in handy for frequent fliers. Not to forget, the ‘Trips’ menu will save your travel details in the phone so you can access it offline as well. It also lets you see your previous bookings done with Cleartrip and who you travelled with, for your reference. Furthermore, it supports creating an eBoarding Pass on third-party PassBook apps for Android like PassWallet.
The new Cleartrip for Android is a much-needed improvement over the previous iteration — a true native app that many were asking for, that does fair justice to Android 4’s app design guidelines. Although it isn’t complete yet, until train and hotel bookings are part of the app, that is. Also, we really, really hope they enable the swiping ability between menus. It is not only more convenient but rather fitting when you’re using the Holo principles of Android. But aside from that, we have only praises to give to the overall simplicity and nifty features of the app; following Cleartrip’s tradition to making travel bookings easy. It’s freely available via Google Play.