(Program Reviews - Side by Side Comparison - Website Reviews)
Rated: October 2006- This common Web site for the Flying Blue program allows members to interact in their local language, though strangely enough, there does not seem to be an easy way to change language choice within a country. For instance, a member living in the U.K. only seems to have the choice to read the Web site in English. Moreover, the landing page for flyingblue.eu does not mention the Flying Blue program nor feature its logo. When users click on the country of entry they are not sent to a page dedicated to Flying Blue, but rather to the general reservations page, from which members must login or click to visit the landing page for Flying Blue.
For potential members enrolling in the program, you'll find an uneven experience. The Web site does not easily identify errors in your enrollment and can lead to frustration with no end -- and no membership number.
That aside, the landing page is clean and unobstructed with anything other than links to areas of the Web site (all pages feature a common Air France logo (no KLM) or Flying Blue photo image). This is quite a change from most other programs who trump their partners and offers on the front page with banner ads or blinking graphics. About the only thing missing is a search tool. The FAQ is buried as a link in the Flying Blue "at a glance" section, which does a good job answering common questions that members -- old or new -- might have about the program. The calm look of the Flying Blue Web site balances out the frustration that most members will have with it. We found several references to bonus offers that had long since expired, and many of the links listed within the bonus or news offerings were not active, simply a text reference. Partner offers were listed separately and easy to scroll through. We also encountered problems with navigation. For instance, when we followed the links for the Web@wards, we soon found ourselves on a page with no top-level navigation, and the only way out was by backing out of the browser, there was no "home" or crumb trail to follow within the page.
The award charts were easy to understand and the many ways members can use their Flying Blue miles was readily apparent, including non-airline awards and charitable donations. The actual award redemption was not easy. We tried several times to redeem an award using the links in car rental or hotel and continued to get dead links and stalled browsers, although we did not have any problems with the airline redemption area when redeeming on Air France or KLM. We did find that the "book an award ticket" links that are prevalent on the Air France/KLM award chart and visible in the hotel and car rental award charts, are not in the partner airline charts -- with no real explanation as to where to redeem those awards.
Overall, a frustrating experience sprinkled with pleasant surprises. The most disappointing feature of this Web site from this major frequent flyer program is that there are no outstanding features -- nothing stands out as unique about the Flying Blue Web site.
There's no question that Air France/KLM are among the world's leading airlines, and there's no question that Flying Blue can at least hold its own against some other major programs. But to judge from the functionality of the program's Web site, you'd never know. Were everything working properly, the site would be as smooth and complex as an '82 Chateau Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux; as it stands, we'll have to settle for something far less satisfying.