United Now Tells You Exactly Why Your Flight Is Delayed
United Airlines launched a pilot program in January of this year that tells passengers exactly why their flight is running behind schedule — down to crew members who missed their connections or the exact mechanical issue.
TPG noticed the change when one of our editors was flying out of Houston (IAH), she got an alert in her United app saying that crews were working to fix the Boeing 737-700's fuel panel. "We found you a new plane as our maintenance team needed additional time to a fuel panel on your original plane," the maintenance alert read.
A spokesperson for United told TPG that the pilot program for the detailed status alerts has so far only rolled out in the carrier's main hubs at Houston (IAH) and Chicago O'Hare (ORD), as well as flights that divert to those two airports. In addition, the new program only applies to mainline aircraft.
The alerts detail everything from specific maintenance and mechanical problems with the aircraft to weather delays and issues with late crew arrivals.
"We will do what we can to provide additional clarity," the United spokesperson said, adding that the airline has recently seen customer satisfaction scores improve because of the detailed alerts.
TPG readers weighed in on the new program by commenting in the TPG Facebook Lounge:
Michael G. noted: Aviation geek or no, it's nice to know the reason.
Avi R. wrote: I like it. They are finally transparent.
Mialisa G. said: I prefer this to being kept in the dark. I wish all airlines would do it!
Patrick M. said: Good info is provided for mainline United flights... not so for their United Express affiliated companies. Often for these regional carriers even basic on-time or delayed info is not provided at all.
And reader Kim K. suggested a helpful tip: It is good because if you take screen shot I can use for travel delay insurance.
The alerts are sent out through United's app and also via email, depending on the contact information passengers provide when booking. United hopes to expand the alert program later this summer to United Express and its regional carriers.