United Airlines plans to deepen its partnership with US tech giant Apple to “transform the airport experience”, according to the Chicago-based carrier’s executive vice president, technology and chief digital officer.
The airline’s employees now use 60,000 iPhones and iPads manufactured by the Cupertino, California-based tech giant. Apple employees also fly the carrier regularly from San Francisco, the executive said.
“We’re going to deepen that partnership to more than being customers of each other,” said Linda Jojo, adding that Apple’s team in San Francisco has visited United’s baggage hold areas, its customer service areas and its lobbies. She was speaking at United’s Flight Plan media event in Chicago on October 25.
Jojo, who joined United in 2014 from Canadian wireless, cable and media company Rogers Communications, said the partnership with Apple will start in San Francisco. However, she was reluctant to give further details on the future partnership.
“I was deliberately vague,” she admitted, when asked to elaborate on the partnership by a journalist at the event.
“We’re going to come together and listen to them [Apple] on their ideas, which may result in different configurations at the airport lobby,” she said, without giving specifics.
She added: “We are really excited about partnering with Apple…to transform airport experience – how that’s going to look.”
Two United spokespeople at the event whom Business Traveller Asia-Pacific asked separately about the plans declined to provide further details, adding that more information on the partnership would be released at a later date. One spokesperson, responsible for the Asia-Pacific market, declined to comment on whether the deepened partnership would involve any airports in Asia.
In 2017, United has been improving its tech offering of late, including the 2017 release of an enhanced mobile app.