United Airlines to Equip 6,000 Customer Service Representatives With the iPhone 6 Plus

United Airlines today announced a plan to equip its customer service representatives in each United States-based hub with Apple's iPhone 6 Plus. The airline said that the plan will allow each rep to assist passengers' needs faster while giving them access to "additional operational information" without needing to search for outside help.

united iphone 6 plus
"Our employees told us they needed better tools to serve our customers, especially during severe weather and busier travel times," said Jon Roitman, United's senior vice president of airport operations. "We have seen great success with the custom-made tools on the iPhone 6 Plus and believe expanding the use of a smart phone device with other applications is a great investment in our employees."
Estimated to begin in 2016, United will distribute an iPhone 6 Plus -- 2014's 5.5-inch display iPhone -- to more than 6,000 of its representatives across the United States. The new initiative will let the company's reps print boarding passes and baggage tags before departure, and even help customers find alternative flight options. Future enhancements to the program will bring fully-realized check-in opportunities and enough well-rounded features to give customers "much of the same functionality as traditional airport kiosks."

Previously in June, United distributed iPhones to its flight attendants in an effort to provide better customer service in-flight to passengers. That initiative was announced a year ago, so today's customer service representative program will probably see a similar six month gestation period before launching.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
54 months ago
What anyone has flown United knows: If you have their app, you're likely to know more about your delayed/canceled/changed flight than the ticket/gate agents do, and you'll know it sooner.

United's solution? Give their employees phones with the app. Brilliant.

I don't fly United anymore.
Rating: 5 Votes
Avatar
54 months ago

How do you know the iPhone based solution has no printer? There might be a laser printer under the counter and the phone and can the prints there.


He was referring to IN-FLIGHT purchases.

American Airlines hasn't accepted cash for in-flight purchases for at least the past year. They use a PDA device (not sure of the vendor) to swipe the card and enter the amount. The transactions are transmitted in a batch after landing, although it might use inflight WiFi if it's available.

They have no receipt printer on the plane, but you can go online and print a receipt after the charge is posted.
Rating: 2 Votes
Avatar
54 months ago

The iPhone 6 Plus is the wrong device for in-flight, and people have complained about it. Their solution has no receipt printer.


How do you know the iPhone based solution has no printer? There might be a laser printer under the counter and the phone and can the prints there.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
54 months ago
I was printing off shipping labels using my wireless printer last night so the iPhone is more than capable of Printing. I didn't even need to configure it. It "just worked" :).
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
54 months ago

What anyone has flown United knows: If you have their app, you're likely to know more about your delayed/canceled/changed flight than the ticket/gate agents do, and you'll know it sooner.

United's solution? Give them phones with the app. Brilliant.


Wording of the article seems to hint that there'll be more applications being released for their customer service reps, so it's not all the same app you use.

and believe expanding the use of a smart phone device with other applications is a great investment in our employees."

Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
54 months ago

If those additional apps are anywhere near mimicking the existing tools they have, those employees will be better off getting their own phone to using United's consumer app, or even external apps like TripIt and Flight Update Pro. Whatever tools United has given their staff up to now chronically leaves them sorely underinformed about what their own company is doing.


OK, well at least they're doing something to make it better, I suppose. If it has been as bad as you said, it's good to start some positive change.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
54 months ago
Great news for Apple.

Will do nothing to make United a better airline to fly. Not Apple's fault, of course. United is simply too far gone in caring about its customers.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
54 months ago

I detailed why that's not acceptable. You forget that you made the purchase because it's not in the stack of other receipts, and second, some companies don't accept web printed receipts without further justification, especially since you can buy alcohol on board.

At minimum, I have to go back after the trip, figure out the flight number, date, and credit card, then print it out, instead of just handing the stack of receipts to the travel people. It's even bad for the environment: instead of a small strip of paper, the receipt is now 8.5x11.

The old system used a handheld device that had a printer built in. I'm not the first person to complain:
https://unitedairtime.com/your-questions/on-board-purchases-are-paperless/



Did the old system provide for a paperless receipt? Most companies accept paperless receipts, and make them easier to deal with. If it didn't, the old system was actually worse for the environment.
Rating: 1 Votes
Avatar
54 months ago
Probably 16GB.
Rating: 1 Votes
[ Read All Comments ]