Improving the flight booking experience for pet owners so that they can fly with their best friends anywhere in the world.


Me, myself and I

Project timeline

2.5 weeks

My role

User research, wireframing, design system, prototyping, user testing, final UI

Defining "It's too hard"

When I asked pet owners whether they had ever flown with their pet, the most common answer was, "I've tried to, but ended up changing my mind because it's too hard." Through user interviews and mapping their experiences, I was able visualize what "hard" meant to pet owners.

17 steps, 3 pain points, 1 flight

Just to prepare to fly from the US to Japan takes the average pet owner around 17 steps, with a minimum timeline of 210 days. Depending on the arrival country, the process is extensive and convoluted and requires self research, phone calls, and vet visits. I identified three main pain points in the process: finding pet-friendly flights, understanding country pet regulations, and completing required documentation correctly.

How might we give pet owner's ease of mind when booking flights with their pets?
Redesigning the flight search experience

I intercepted the standard flight-search flow with pet specific features and streamlined the process for pet owners by incorporating country and airline policies in the search. I took my mid-fidelity prototypes to pet owners to user test.

User feedback

"I want my pet's information to autofill so that every time I search for flights I don't have to re-input the same information."

"I care most about number of stops, airline, and whether my pet is flying in-cabin or cargo, so those are the first filters I want to see."

"I want to see community recommendations for flights because I trust other pet owner's stories."

Final prototype

After user testing, I added a feature in the main search that allowed you to select your saved pet, which can be created during the onboarding. I also added a loading page that clarified that Buddy filters for flights that the user and their pet are eligible for only. The third feature I added was a community recommendation section, which is present as a filter option, as well as in the flight detail page.

Visualizing the requirements

Booking the pet-friendly flight is only one-half of the process; users still need to obtain the pet documentation in order to fly. I designed Buddy to be there for the user from end-to-end, and therefore added a task list for users to reference and complete as they gather the documents. My goal was to clearly visualize the order in which requirements needed to be completed, as well as the time restriction for each one.

User feedback

"I like to have my information displayed in multiple ways, so I'd like to have both of versions."

"What happens when I complete each task? Does the timeline update to reflect that?"

"What happens after I complete the task list? I want a reminder in my email the day before with all the country and airline requirements, as well as my documents digitally"

Final prototype

I went with a combination of the timeline and dropdown from the user testing, and displayed the detail page as a side pop out modal to prevent over-cluttering the main task list page. To give the user a sense of accomplishment, I also added a congratulatory page when all the tasks are complete. And finally, Buddy will send the user a reminder email a day before the flight with a review of the country and airline requirements, and the required paperwork to bring.

Thank you