United Airlines is making it easier than ever to secure a hotel booking and meal voucher when your flight is delayed or canceled with a new digital solution called Hotel Hub.
United Airlines Hotel Hub
United has rolled out Hotel Hub to all hubs starting today and will expand the program to 46 line stations beginning in January 2021.
What is Hotel Hub?
Hotel Hub is a digital and touchless solution for customers that require an overnight stay during controllable IRROPs (delays or cancellations within the control of United, like crew or maintenance issues). Hotel Hub will allow passengers to browse multiple hotels on their mobile device then self-book their preferred hotel. Passengers will also receive meal vouchers digitally.
Eligible passengers will be sent notifications to their mobile device (either via text message or e-mail). This communication will advise them that they are entitled to a hotel and allow them to view, select and book a hotel room out of United’s inventory.
Customers that choose to self-book will receive an electronic voucher instead of the paper customer service voucher (CSV) currently used during IRROPs. As United notes, “The tool reduces or eliminates line waits, minimizes agent processing times and allows our customers to receive hotel booking information and vouchers in a contactless manner.”
Here are some screenshots:
Why This Makes Sense
The most annoying thing about a long delay–often adding insult to injury–is waiting in line for hotel and meal vouchers. Few things are more annoying than another 45-minute wait in line after your flight is cancelled. In fact, the pesky lines are one of the main reasons I recommend purchasing lounge passes or membership.
But this will take the waiting game out and even give you a choice of hotels (though don’t expect hotel elite benefits on pre-negotiated bulk rates from United). This is a very positive move.
Not only does Hotel Hub make sense from a social distancing perspective, it just makes sense to cut down on gate agent labor and send customers on their way quicker to hotels in order to wait out a delay or cancellation. While I hope I never have to experience Hotel Hub during my own travels, it will make unexpected flight cancellations much easier to endure.