United Flight Attendant iPhones Now Identify Non-Cardholders

Oct 26, 2018

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.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

It’s not uncommon for large companies to issue smartphones to their employees, and to offer internal apps aimed at boosting efficiency. United Airlines does both.

While various departments issue iPhones, it’s flight attendants you’ll see using them most. They have loads of information at their fingertips — frequent flyer status, which customers ordered special meals, who has a tight connection, and so on. Generally I find that it empowers crew members to deliver better service — like offering free food and drinks to Premier 1K members — this latest addition may end up having the opposite effect, though.

Recently, the airline added a special identifier to the app: “Non-Chase cardholder.” I could see how identifying customers as having one of Chase’s co-branded cards — the United Explorer Card and the United Club Card — could enable flight attendants to provide special recognition onboard. And the app does point them out indirectly, by excluding the credit card badge. But specifically highlighting which customers do not already have a card makes them a target for a personalized pitch. The information for the United Club has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

How so? Well, recently, the airline began pushing crews to sell passengers on the Explorer card — a move that hasn’t been popular with all flight attendants. Flight attendants are encouraged to pitch credit cards onboard, with the airline offering employees $100 for each approved passenger. Apparently one flight attendant has already sold 96 this year alone — at the elevated rate, that’s nearly $10,000 in bonus cash, and an awful lot of in-flight pitches.

Hopefully flight attendants don’t use this new information to target specific passengers, but if someone comes by with a “Mr. Smith, I’d love to tell you about this special offer today…” you’ll have a better idea as to why.

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.