United Airlines released a substantial update to its mobile app today. Infrequent United flyers will see a big upgrade while regular users will continue to enjoy the same functionality with a number of new features.
An Update To The United App
The updated app is now available for download for Apple and Android devices.
Contextualized Home Screen For Everyone
One of my favorite features of the app is the home screen, which will automatically update with trip details within 48 hours of travel. Dynamic updates will let you know when to check-in, what gate you are departing from, allow you to change your seat, and note any delays. It will also notify you when boarding has begun, provide a map with directions to your connecting gate, and now allow you to track your checked bags upon arrival.
Up until today, this features was only available to United MileagePlus members. Those who just booked a United ticket and were not members did not receive any of the information above. That changes and even if you are not logged in, you can still add your booking and receive updates like I’ve described above. This may be particularly helpful to travelers who are not crediting their miles to MileagePlus.
A New Inbox
Flight announcements will continue to pop up if you have enabled push notifications, but will be consolidated in a new inbox folder, where you can review flight announcements and other alerts.
New Colors And Design
When booking flights, searching flight status, or pulling up your existing reservations, you’ll see a slight change in design which more closely mimics united.com and its move away from blue and gold in 2019.
Functionality For Those With Visual Disablities
United is subtly restructuring the way information is organized in the app, which will make information easier to digest for those who convert text to audio.
Linda Jojo, United’s Executive Vice President for Technology and Chief Digital Officer, noted:
“The parts of the travel experience that we all take for granted like checking luggage, getting your flight status and accessing a boarding pass can still be a challenge for someone with a visual disability. These new accessibility enhancements are part of our continuing commitment to level the playing field, unlock all the customer benefits of our app and give people with disabilities more independence while traveling.”
My Overall Impressions
I’m always rather resistant to change and had was quite comfortable with the old layout, including the color scheme. In that sense, the new version will take some adjustment. But the functionality is still there and I greatly appreciate the ease in which I can check in for a flight, check my position on the upgrade waitlist, change seats (even after checking in), and quickly obtain real-time flight status. I continue to find the app miles ahead of the mobile apps at American and Delta.
Don’t put off updating (which I tend to do for all apps) if you are flying soon, because United’s streaming IFE will only work on the latest version of the app. If you wait to download until after the aircraft departs, you’ll have to pay for wi-fi in order to access the “free” streaming service.
United is out with a fairly substantial update to its award-winning app. Importantly, for frequent United flyers, no functionality is lost. For more infrequent flyers, the new contextualized home screen will make your travel experience on United easier than ever before.