Thanksgiving travel: United’s time-saving tech innovations

A United Airlines digital phone app.
Photo Credit: United Airlines

United Airlines has geared up for a record-setting Thanksgiving travel season, with over 5.9 million passengers expected to take to the skies between Nov. 17-29.

To streamline the travel hassle for passengers, United has shared information on its digital services to assist during the holiday period.

Here are some insights to help skip lines, breeze through security, make tight connections, and ultimately enhance the whole experience this Thanksgiving season.

Customer-Centric Approach

Linda Jojo, United’s Chief Customer Officer, emphasizes the airline’s commitment to helping all customers, whether seasoned travelers or once-a-year fliers, reach their destinations on time.

With nearly three-quarters of customers utilizing the United mobile app, the airline has focused on providing features that allow users to skip lines, enjoy prompt personalized service, and gain peace of mind through the app’s valuable information.


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Mobile App Innovations

Since the beginning of the year, United has introduced numerous innovations within its mobile app, at airports, and onboard aircraft.

These innovations span the entire travel journey, from booking to departure, offering transparency, time savings, and stress reduction.

A United Airlines Boeing 757 takes off.
Colin Brown Photography from St Louis, MO, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pre-Flight Preparation

Free Family Seating: United takes the lead by offering a dynamic seat map, enabling children under 12 to be seated next to an adult for free at the time of booking, fostering more than 200,000 family reunions.

Bag Drop Shortcut: The “bag drop shortcut” feature allows app-checked customers to skip the check-in line, dropping off their bags curbside or at dedicated locations, reducing the process to an average of one minute.

Food and Beverage Pre-Order: Passengers can now pre-order their in-flight meals and snacks up to 24 hours before departure, ensuring they get their preferred choices.

Notifications within the app keep passengers informed about pre-order availability.

United Flight Santa Ana-San Francisco Diverts to Los Angeles
Photo Credit: Raimond Spekking via Wikimedia Commons.

Time-Saving Tools for Day-Of Travel

Airport Wayfinding: United’s Terminal Guide provides personalized day-of travel instructions, helping customers navigate airports effortlessly from entrance to departure gate.

Automatic Flight Notifications: United is the first U.S. airline to support Live Activities for iPhone, offering real-time access to boarding pass, gate and seat number, and countdown clock to departure time.

Android users also enjoy this feature, receiving real-time flight information on lock screens.

Stress-Free Connections: The innovative ConnectionSaver technology scans flights to hold tight connections without inconveniencing others, aiding over 600,000 customers this year.

Efficient Boarding: United introduces the ‘WILMA’ boarding system, reducing boarding time by up to two minutes per departure.

Customer Service Support

Automatic Assistance During Disruptions: United’s app serves as a personal concierge, automatically presenting re-booking options, bag tracking, and vouchers in case of delays or cancellations.

On-Demand Customer Support: The unique “Agent on Demand” feature enables customers to access real-time information through video chat, text, or call options, avoiding long airport lines.

In conclusion, United Airlines hopes to streamline the travel experience with their digital support services. With Thanksgiving upon us, the airline hopes that the journey to reunite with loved ones is not just a voyage but a stress-free adventure.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
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