- United Airlines to issue meal and hotel vouchers directly to passengers' smartphones to reduce waiting times at airports and call centers.
- Company promises simplified rebooking and baggage tracking procedures, and easier voucher retrieval for passengers.
- The move coincides with a possible push from the Transportation Department for stricter regulations on passenger compensation for delays and cancellations.
United Airlines, on Thursday, announced a proactive move to simplify compensation for travel hiccups: they'll push meal and hotel vouchers directly to passengers' smartphones. This strategic pivot aims to mitigate customer frustration associated with prolonged waits at customer service desks and tedious phone calls.
In this new process, troubled travelers can access their compensation instantly through the airline's app or website, negating the need to queue up at customer service or engage with call centers. United believes these improvements will streamline operations, making it easier for passengers to rebook flights, track their luggage, and access vouchers.
"We understand that flight disruptions can be stress-inducing," said Linda Jojo, United's Chief Customer Officer, empathizing with passengers' woes. "Our objective is to eliminate unnecessary waiting times." As per Jojo, United offers food vouchers for airline-caused delays exceeding three hours, such as those due to technical or maintenance issues, and provides hotel vouchers when overnight stays are necessitated by airline-induced delays or cancellations. However, weather-related disruptions do not qualify for these benefits.
While recognizing the possible discomfort or inability of certain passengers to use smartphone technology and the airline's app, Jojo maintained, "The more we can assist the tech-savvy, the more time we can dedicate to those who might struggle with the technology."
In the backdrop of this development, customer reimbursement and benefits during flight disruptions have recently come under the scanner of the Biden administration. Last month, the Transportation Department expressed intentions to formulate new regulations requiring airlines to compensate passengers for delays and cancellations.
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