American Airlines is using sophisticated bot detection software to stop the developer of an iPhone app that has become popular among airline flight attendants from accessing vital data needed to keep the app working.
The Sequence Decoder has become an indispensable tool for American Airlines flight attendants as it displays the information required by crew members to manage their menus and work life in a single app.
The app is particularly popular among the large number of “standby” flight attendants at American Airlines because it gives them more control over their schedules, and the app has other features like a calculator to make sure the crew is working within legal limits.
American Airlines does not offer its own version of the app and allegedly refused requests from app developer Jeff Reisberg to collaborate on the app. Instead, the app relies on bots to “extract” the data required to run the app from AA’s computer systems.
In fact, instead of working with Jeff, American Airlines has begun protecting its websites with bot discovery software that makes it “almost impossible” to collect the data needed to decode the rum sequence.
We tried to get them to talk to us, find a way to coexist peacefully, but they refused all communications. At the end of the day, I don’t think they understand if this service is important, and they don’t care to know about it,” Jess told app users in a recent email.
“We found loopholes in the network and managed to survive, but the network is always getting better,” warned Jeff. Last week the Grid made us better again, I thought it might be the end.”
A flight attendant said of the current situation affecting Sequence Decoder that they “have never seen a company go out of their way to make life more difficult for its workers.”
Another on Reddit said the app made getting the information required by hosts “more efficient and easily accessible”.
“It’s as if these companies are doing their best to be hostile,” the host continued.
In recent years, third-party iPhone and Android apps for airline employees have become increasingly popular. The majority allow employees to sync and track their lists, while others are allowed to pull data from multiple internal computer systems and view that data in one place.
Sometimes airlines allow these apps to exist because they see a benefit in what they do but lack the resources or motivation to create their own apps. Recently, a major American airline created its own version of this type of application, and then immediately closed access to third-party applications.
American Airlines has been contacted for comment.
The airline is currently pursuing a lawsuit against The Points Guy over the website’s third-party app that drops data from customers’ AAdvantage accounts. American Airlines alleges that The Points Guy violated its terms and conditions and attracts thousands of customers to breach its terms and conditions.
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