You know how you can use the map apps on your smartphone during a road trip not only to find your way, but to find what’s around you? United is taking that same functionality inside the airport with its latest app enhancement. And it’s also speeding up the flight rebooking process.
The airline said the latest iteration of its mobile app features interactive maps for travelers passing through its hub airports at Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco and Washington Dulles. More airports will be added in the months ahead. The improvements are initially available for iOS devices, with Android app enhancements coming soon.
With the new searchable maps, travelers can look for the nearest airport vendors or services in a variety of categories, like restaurants, ATMs, and so on. Outside the airport terminal, the app will also help users find their way to car rental outlets and airport hotels.
“If customers have a boarding pass stored in the app, the map will automatically default to start navigation at that specific gate location,” United said. “Alternatively, the user can place a pin at his or her current location to indicate where he or she is in the airport. The app will guide customers to their desired destinations within the terminal, estimating walk times to make flight connections that much easier.”
At United’s Newark Liberty International hub — where the airline is undertaking a massive renovation of Terminal C, and where it plans to move its JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO p.s. transcon flights this fall — United is taking the concept to another level. There, it will install Bluetooth low-energy beacons so that the airport map can automatically pinpoint the user’s current location in the airport. Thus the user doesn’t have to pin it himself.
The ability of Bluetooth location-specific beacons to interact with smartphone apps is fast becoming the next big thing in allowing vendors to target messages to consumers in their immediate area.
So, for example, an airport Mexican restaurant that your are standing near could beam a message to you that it has two-for-one margaritas- something that you may not know unless you are using the app.
Meanwhile, United said the new improvements to its mobile app also include quicker options for rebooking flights when a traveler is faced with a cancellation or lengthy delay. “Through a few clicks in the app, customers may choose from a variety of flight options including alternate airports or, if a confirmed seat isn’t available on their preferred flights, add themselves to a standby list for an earlier flight,” a spokesman said.
In other developments, United said that by the end of next week, free personal device streaming entertainment options will be available on all of its 120 Wi-Fi equipped E170, E175 and CRJ700 two-cabin United Express regional jets. It is also adding more streaming content from HBO, including the full seasons of Game of Thrones, Entourage and True Detective, along with new music videos and concert performances from Vevo.
NOTE: Be sure to click here to see all recent TravelSkills posts about: Upgraded Hilton HHonors app + New perks for Starwood/AmEx cardholders + Alaska/AA airport lounge benefits + New international routes