We are extremely excited to announce that a separate scheduling web and mobile app is under development and will be available later this year. We’ve been frustrated with existing solutions that feel like they were built 20 years ago, (which is true for most of them!) are very unintuitive, not mobile friendly and make booking flights and lessons a chore instead of a joy.
As students and pilots ourselves, we understand the scheduling process and now we can make it not just better, but also a much more pleasant experience.
The main difference from the aircraft booking systems that you’re probably used to is our default Quick Booking view. From our experience, rather than having a specific date and time in mind, most students want to find a list of time slots when both the aircraft and their instructor are available.
In the Tailplane booking app, which works in all web browsers, on desktop computers, mobile phones, and tablets, the first thing a user will see is a minimalistic form which allows selecting a favourite instructor and aircraft. As soon as one is chosen, a list of the next available time slots is displayed. If the instructor was selected first, his time slots will be matched against available aircraft, which can then be filtered down to a particular tail number, a make (e.g. “any Cessna”) or model. (e.g. “any Cessna 172”) User can also opt-out from renting an aircraft (which makes it a ground school booking only) or choose not to select an instructor and only the aircraft. (for aircraft rentals)
In addition, the time slots can be filtered by the booking duration, date, and the aerodrome.
See the video below how easy this process can be!
There are times when it’s more desirable to view the aircraft and instructor availability in a more traditional, calendar view. The Schedule View, which is also available from the homepage does exactly that. It has the same filtering functionality as the Quick Booking page but allows viewing a full flight school schedule at once for a particular day.
Not all instructors work at flight schools full-time, and many can’t open up their schedules more than a few days of weeks in advance. This makes it more difficult for students to book lessons with the same instructor consistently. Knowing from our own experience, we would refresh the booking system several times a day, waiting for the instructor to update their availability or there would be a group chat with other students and as soon as a slot opened, everyone would rush to book their lessons. An incredibly stressful experience!
We have solved this problem by building automatic availability notifications into the booking platform. As a student, you can subscribe to your favourite instructors’ feeds and as soon as they release new time slots, you will immediately receive an email message. If you specify the desired aircraft beforehand, the system will find the free time slots that are relevant to you. You can then create a new booking in a single click, straight from email.
This is just a sneak peek of some features that we are building. In addition to these, you can expect everything that you would need from a flight booking app — being able to review past and future bookings, view what instructors and aircraft are available at your flight school and, of course, full integration with online payments.
The scheduling portal is coming later this year and meanwhile we would love to hear from you about your current experience and what you would love to see in a perfect booking platform. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.