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

scaredpoet Avatar
107 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.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ptb42 Avatar
107 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.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ChrisA Avatar
107 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
goomba478 Avatar
107 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" :).
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
107 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."
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keysofanxiety Avatar
107 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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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