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

Aug 2, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

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)
(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

(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

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 courtesy of United Airlines.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.