Mac Users Grounded

Macworld ’s offices are in San Francisco. My apartment is in Los Angeles. As you might imagine, this makes for a rather lengthy commute, at least until Apple wraps up work on that teleportation device which Steve Jobs will no doubt introduce at Macworld Expo 2009. Until then, though, I’m going to do most of my traveling between work and home via the friendly skies.

So it’s understandable how I was initially excited by the news that Southwest Airlines had released a new application called Ding. The program sits on your desktop and notifies you—with an audible ding, naturally—whenever there’s a fare sale or special offer available for travel on Southwest. Ding also features options for online flight check-in and tracking flight status. But it’s the fare-sale notification feature that should interest frequent flyers like myself.

I’d love to be able to tell you that I’ve downloaded Ding, installed it, and used it to book my next business trip up north. But I can’t do any of that—Ding isn’t Mac-compatible. According to the system requirements:

Will DING! work on my Macintosh or Linux computer?

No. At this time, DING! only runs on Windows 98SE, Windows ME, and Windows XP.

Is there a possibility of that changing? I put in a call to Southwest, and the news was encouraging, though non-committal. “Adapting the Ding software to Mac is on our list of possible enhancements for the future,” a spokeswoman told me. You’ll notice that “future” could mean anything from “tomorrow” to “by the time you’re a toothless old man.”

This is hardly the first time Mac users have gotten short shrift when it comes to cool Web-based services. You might remember the saga of ESPN Motion, a streaming highlights feature at ESPN.com. It debuted a couple years back as a Windows-only feature but promised to add an OS X version soon after its launch. Nineteen months later, that OS X compatibility finally arrived.

I’m hopeful that Southwest won’t take quite that long to add Mac support to Ding, especially since tracking down low-cost airline tickets is just slightly more useful than watching sports highlights from my Web browser. I’m even more hopeful that other Mac users feel the same way and will let Southwest know—politely, of course—just how beneficial it would be to the airline’s business to add Mac compatibility to this app. Southwest doesn’ have an e-mail contact, but there are plenty of other ways to get in touch if you’d like to make your voice heard.

  
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