Recently I was making reservations on a local Swedish airline (they go to Belgium so technically 'Northern Europe') from Stockholm/Bromma to Gothenburg. Some background:
Bromma airport is an older airport (built in the 1950's) so it does not have terminal piers that have the ability to connect directly to the aircraft. As a passenger you need to walk directly on the tarmac and take a set of stairs up to the aircraft. Since the airport is rather close to Stockholm the size of aircraft is limited.
My left leg is amputated above the knee. This implies that I walk with a prosthetic leg or with a wheel chair (or both). In both of these situations I need extra time or assistance to get to the aircraft.
As I sat down to my computer I went to the Malmö Aviation website to make my booking.
I was greeted on the first page a fairly typical interface for selecting the date, number of passengers and destination.
The second step in the process was to fill in the passenger information:
It was at this point that I was looking for some choice regarding 'boarding assistance' or such - no luck, must be further on in the process I thought. The next step was where I chose my flight time and book the flight. Check.
No boarding assistance.
Final step was paying for the ticket. Check
Wait a minute, did I miss something, what do I do if I need boarding assistance ?
OK, let me try this again. Same process, no luck. (I did succeed in booking yet another flight to Gothenburg).
What to do ? I can say that Malmö Avaition made it easy to find a telephone number to call and I spoke to a very nice woman who explained to me that for all boarding assistance , that you need to call them directly 'so, it can be entered into the system correctly'.
She took my information and assured me that assistance would be standing by at the airport. Check.
After I got off the phone, I was a bit frustrated and realized that it would have been easier, and taken much less time, just to have called and made my reservation AND arrange the assistance at the same time.
(Translation: if you call and book it we will charge you 200 konor (20€))
Clearly this User Experience could be improved by adding some choices to the registration for the different types of assistance. If the airline needed more information, they could contact the traveler by phone (gasp) or email to discus the details (both email and phone numbers are registered at ticket payment).
Another way ...
I have flown with another similar airline, Kalmarflyg, from Bromma to Kalmar in southern Sweden.
Same airport, different destination.
Their they solve this boarding assistance issue another way, much more effectively in my eyes.
With a dropdown for 'Extra hjälp' (Extra Help)
They have thought through and provided options for most types of assistance passengers may need.
With this the airline knows what assistance is needed and how to plan for this.
Malmö Aviation can learn something about online user experience from Kalmarflyg on the other side of the terminal. Take advantage of it.