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United Now Texts Live Radar Maps and Uses AI to Keep Travelers Informed During Weather Delays

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United Airlines has launched a new feature to provide real-time information to travelers during weather delays. The airline now texts customers links to live radar maps, helping them understand how inclement weather can affect flights. This service is part of United's efforts to enhance customer communication using generative AI tools for real-time updates on flight changes, including gate alterations and crew rescheduling. The innovation comes as United anticipates its busiest Fourth of July weekend, with over five million passengers flying between June 28 and July 8, a 7% increase from last year. The airline emphasizes transparency and has pioneered several customer-friendly policies, including automatic rebooking assistance, real-time flight updates, free family seating, and no change fees. United remains the only U.S. airline offering these specific services.

Positive
  • United Airlines introduces a new feature to text customers live radar maps during weather delays, enhancing real-time communication.
  • The use of generative AI tools for sending real-time flight updates can improve customer experience.
  • United expects its busiest Fourth of July weekend, with over five million passengers flying between June 28 and July 8, a 7% increase from last year.
  • United has a range of customer-friendly policies, including automatic rebooking assistance, real-time flight updates, free family seating, and no change fees.
Negative
  • No significant negative business aspects reported.

As part of industry-leading efforts to communicate to customers in real-time, airline uses AI tools to send travelers information about their trip, especially if things don't go as planned

Real-time radar maps can help customers understand how inclement weather in one part of the country can impact a flight elsewhere

CHICAGO, July 3, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- United now texts customers links to local, live radar maps during weather delays, as part of its industry-leading effort to give travelers as much real-time information as possible about their trip, especially if things don't go as planned. For the past few years, the airline has used dedicated teams to write and send text messages to customers that give near-instantaneous details about a given flight – everything from gate changes and boarding times to more specifics regarding aircraft swaps, crew rescheduling and weather events – and the teams now use generative artificial intelligence (gen AI) tools to assist in giving more travelers real-time updates during flight delays.

United's latest innovation – real-time radar maps – can help customers understand how inclement weather in one part of the country can impact a flight elsewhere. United is the first and only U.S. airline currently providing its customers these kinds of specific messages, and the airline is sending them with assistance from gen AI tools.

"With more people traveling this summer than ever, we wanted to give our customers an easier way to stay connected to real-time information about their flight and texting was the simplest solution," said Jason Birnbaum, United's Chief Information Officer. "We know customers appreciate transparency and by combining innovative technology-enabled tools with people power, we can give more people, even more in-the-moment details about their flight."

The release of these new innovations comes as United expects its busiest Fourth of July weekend on record with more than five million passengers flying between June 28 and July 8, up more than 7% compared to last year.

Here's how it works:

  • Specialized customer service teams sit in the network operations center alongside the flight operations teams and tap gen AI to review flight data and write customer messages that tells the complete story of a flight change. These messages are sent to customers through text or email in an effort to provide more helpful and relevant information about why flight plans are changing.
  • During weather events, messages will include links to local, live radar maps showing weather details across flight paths. This helps customers stay informed on weather-related delays, including showing how weather in one part of the country can impact a flight elsewhere. Plus, customers on all flights can access links to weather maps in the United app under flight status updates, and United displays radar maps in the gate area when a flight has been delayed due to weather.

Leading with Customer Transparency
For years, United has led the airline industry on implementing new technologies and policies across its operation to increase customer transparency, including:

  • Automatic rebooking assistance: Instead of waiting in line to talk to an agent or search for new options, United's self-service tools automatically present travelers personalized re-booking options, bag tracking information and meal and hotel vouchers when eligible if their flight is delayed or canceled.
  • Real-time flight updates: United is the first and only U.S. airline to give customers real-time access to their boarding pass, gate and seat number, and countdown clock to departure time directly on their phone screens, all without opening the United app.
  • Free family seating: United is the first and only airline to offer a dynamic seat map feature that makes it easier to seat children under 12-years-old next to an adult in their party for free – even travelers in Basic Economy.
  • No change fees: In August 2020, United got rid of change fees, offering more flexibility for travel plans, and started complimentary standby travel, becoming the only U.S. airline that lets all customers in all classes of service fly same-day standby for free.

For more information, visit united.com.

About United

At United, Good Leads The Way. With U.S. hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., United operates the most comprehensive global route network among North American carriers and is now the largest airline in the world as measured by available seat miles. For more about how to join the United team, please visit www.united.com/careers and more information about the company is at www.united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc., the parent company of United Airlines, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL". 

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SOURCE United Airlines

FAQ

What new feature has United Airlines introduced for weather delays?

United Airlines now texts customers links to live radar maps during weather delays to provide real-time information about their flights.

How does United Airlines use AI in their new flight update feature?

United Airlines uses generative AI tools to assist specialized teams in sending real-time updates about flight changes, including gate changes and weather delays.

What is the expected passenger volume for United Airlines during the Fourth of July weekend in 2024?

United Airlines expects over five million passengers to fly between June 28 and July 8, 2024, marking a 7% increase from the previous year.

What are some of the customer-friendly policies of United Airlines?

United Airlines offers automatic rebooking assistance, real-time flight updates, free family seating, and no change fees for its customers.

What benefits do live radar maps provide to United Airlines customers?

Live radar maps help United Airlines customers understand weather-related delays and how weather in one part of the country can impact flights elsewhere.

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