United Airlines is rolling out technology which it hopes will improve the experience for customers connecting between its flights.
The carrier says that the Connection Saver tool – which was initially launched at Denver International in February and subsequently at Chicago O’Hare – works by automatically identifying “departing flights that can be held for connecting customers, while ensuring those who have already boarded the aircraft arrive at their destination on time”.
The technology scans flights for customers who are making tight connections “to determine if the connecting flight can be held without inconveniencing other customers”. United says that the tool takes into account factors such as the time it will take for late connecting customers to travel gate-to-gate, as well as “the impact the hold may have on other flights and customers”.
Connection Saver will also send personalised text messages to all connecting customers, with directions to gates for connecting flights, and information about how long the walk will take.
United says that the technology has so far enabled 14,400 customers to make their connections, who would otherwise have been unable to do so, with flights being held for an average of six minutes.
The technology is set to be rolled out to all of United’s hubs by this autumn, and to all airports at which the carrier operates “in the future”.
Commenting on the news Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer at United, said:
“Through improved technology and our dedication to running a reliable operation, customers with tight connections are making their flights. With summer travel picking up, as many as 150,000 customers will make connections on United flights every day and our goal is to provide our employees and these customers with the most up-to-date information to make connecting as stress-free as possible.
“Connection Saver only works if it allows us to care for as many customers as possible – without inconveniencing others – and that’s exactly what this technology has shown it can do. We’re determined to capitalize on as many opportunities as possible to better serve and care for our customers and that’s part of what sets United apart from our competitors.”