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American and United focusing on new tools to make travel easier right now

Aug. 02, 2020
4 min read
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Airlines are doing whatever they can to help alleviate any stress people might have flying right now. Aside from implementing new cleaning procedures, adjusting in-flight service, making changes to seating policies and introducing flexible change and cancellation policies, they've also been upgrading their technology.

In June, American Airlines and United each made it easier to get help by adding new chat tools to their mobile apps. Now, the two airlines are making it easier to get common questions answered without even needing to chat with an agent.

Some of the most common questions from travelers right now revolve around safety and travel restrictions and that's exactly what American and United's new tools focus on.

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AA's new tool

American has partnered with the company Sherpa to provide travelers with the latest travel and health restrictions. Travelers can enter what country they want to travel to and get information on border closures, personal protection requirements, quarantine requirements, health declaration forms and more.

If you want to find out where Americans can go right now follow this link for our complete guide to who is allowing Americans.

(Photo by Sherpa)

You can currently access the tool by visiting American's dedicated page on Sherpa's website. However, venerable Twitter user @JonNYC reports that American will integrate it into the "Travel updates" page of the airline's website soon. Based on Sherpa's existing capabilities, American could also integrate the technology into its app at some point to automatically notify travelers of health and safety regulations an health assessments upon arrival at destination.

Other airlines that already use Sherpa's tools include Condor, British Airways and Icelandair.

Related: Our state-by-state guide to America's reopening

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(Photo by Sherpa)

United's new tool

United, on the other hand, is focusing on answering questions around cleaning and safety. As a part of the ‘CleanPlus’ initiative, passengers can text an automated assistant get answers to questions about masks, boarding procedures, United Clubs and more.

Per United, the automated assistant can answer questions like:

  • How is United keeping airports cleaner and safer?
  • Are United Club locations still open?
  • How can I prepare for an upcoming trip?
  • What is the quality of the air onboard a plane?
  • How are you cleaning and disinfecting your planes?
  • Are there any changes to service during flight?

To use this tool, text "Clean" to FLYUA (35982). Unlike the live chat tool, you don't need United's app to take advantage of this.

Related: Here’s what food and drinks you can expect on your next flight

https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1221664/Chatbot_Animation.mp4

Bottom line

While not revolutionary by any means, it's nice to see that American and United are investing in their technology to make travel easier. Delta, on the other hand, took a step backward when it suspended reservations assistance via social media in mid-June.

If these tools don't solve your problems, be sure to check out our detailed guide for the best ways to quickly reach a customer service agent at each airline.

Related: My experience flying across the country during the coronavirus pandemic

Featured image by (Photo courtesy of United Airlines)

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

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  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.