"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.