United Airlines To Hold More Flights For Connecting Passengers

United Airlines announced their forthcoming plans for the airline while reporting positive results during the first-quarter of 2019. One of the technological advancements to come from the airline is a process for improving efficiency in managing connecting flights for passengers.

United Airlines aircraft during takeoff
United Airlines is introducing new technology to allow more passengers to make their connecting flight. Photo: United.

United Airlines announces new technology for its operation

United Airlines continues to work towards an improved customer experience for passengers flying on the airline. A major issue for United has been passengers missing connecting flights due to arriving late on the prior aircraft. While reporting their earnings for Q1 2019, United also shared mention of a future technology improvement that could solve this issue and make operations more efficient.

United Airlines is currently testing something called ‘Dynamic Departure’ technology, a feature created for gate agents to see if a connecting flight may be missed for passengers on an inbound flight. The software is operational at the Denver International Airport to test before rolling out the technology to other United hubs.

Dynamic Departure is a two-step application for assisting passengers in making their connecting flight, even if they’re running behind schedule on the inbound plane. The first step is to highlight to gate agents all connecting passengers who are en route but will be arriving late. If reasonable, it will allow the agents to signal to the connecting flight to delay departure to wait for the late passengers.

The second step of the software is to determine if there is an opportunity to make up the wait-time while in flight. The benefit of this is it will eliminate any change to the arrival time because of the delayed flight.

United Boeing 787 test flight
United Airlines is testing the new technology at one of its hubs before rolling it out to other airports. Photo: United.

The combination of the two features of this new system will allow more passengers to make their connecting flight while keeping the aircraft schedule on time. The software provides real-time data of inbound and outbound flights to make the best decision on behalf of the passengers.

Improved efficiency of United Airlines

The new technology is about empowering the gate agents and other employees to improve the operation of the airline. While many decisions can be made from the corporate offices on performance, more control in the day-to-day operations can save a lot of time and money for United Airlines.

Scott Kirby, the President of United Airlines, spoke during the quarterly reporting on the new technology. He states:

“The system will provide ‘real-time data’ they need to make an informed decision on whether to hold a flight.”

United Airlines aircraft leaving hanger
United will hold a flight for inbound passengers and make up the time delay in-flight. Photo: United.

The announcement during Q1 2019 reporting

United Airlines posted better-than-expected results for the first-quarter of 2019 based on increased sales and lower costs. These results are despite the grounding of its Boeing 737 MAX aircraft from its fleet operations.

United hopes to continue the trend of growth for the airline with other improvements like the Dynamic Departure technology. Its primary goal is to have more scheduled flights out of its hubs. With the new technology, United will be able to operate more efficiently to allow an increase in flights and more revenue generated per aircraft.