Design Critique: Delta Air Lines

Online check-in

This Thanksgiving, I flew from JFK → MCO to spend quality time with family for this celebratory holiday of mass turkey consumption. I chose to fly Delta because it happened to be the most affordable at the time time of purchase.

All was good in the world of design until I received an email the day before my departure notifying me that it was time to check in with Delta. I clicked the Check In Online button and I entered Delta’s portal. In the last steps of the check-in process it asks if any of my bags are Special Items.

Active state: Yes (left), active state: No (right)

Here is where the confusion lies. (Preface: I was not aware the first bag was a $25 fee.) Since this is indistinguishable, there are a couple options that could be correct based on the visual language of the first screen:

  1. This is a set of buttons

a. Yes button is the active state, my bag is a Special Item, I’m charged $25.

b. No button is the active state, my bag is not a Special Item, I must see agent and click Next at the bottom

2. This is a toggle button

a. Yes button is the active state, my bag is a Special Item, I must see agent and click Next at the bottom.

b. No button is the active state, my bag is not a Special Item, I’m charged $25.

Answer: 2a. However, there’s a user feedback problem. In the first screen, if you tap on Yes, the white toggle button switches from No to Yes. If you tap on Yes again, the white toggle button switches back from Yes to No. It’s difficult to distinguish between the current state of the switch and instead there should be a clearer visual difference between the two states.

Bottom line

Delta has to work on their toggle buttons. One small confusion for man, one giant frustration for mankind.

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