No one likes having a layover, but if you miss your connecting flight on top of that, it can seriously ruin your day (or possibly your trip). No one wants to feel that drop in their stomach as they run up to the gate only to find out the doors just closed. United Airlines understands this and has developed a technology to help cut down on the missed flights.
This new technology, named Connection Saver, does basically exactly what it says. It helps to ensure that people coming from one United flight to another are able to make it to their connecting flight on time. The technology they developed will be able to make the decision whether it is possible to hold the flight or not, depending on a variety of factors, such as how far away the passengers are, if it will cause others on the departing flight to miss their connections, limits on work hours, etc.
While a lot of other airlines leave it to their employees to make this call, Connection Saver is taking the guesswork out of it and simply prioritizes the situation that benefits the maximum amount of people. Of course, the employees ultimately can make the call as to whether they will hold the flight or not, but this makes that decision a lot more precise and easy to make.
It also helps passengers get to their flight in the most efficient way possible, with text notifications instructing them on directions, amenities, etc.
The program has been successfully piloted and Denver and Chicago and will soon be expanded to their other major hubs. So far, Connection Saver has saved 40,000 flight connections, and the average time a plane has to be held is a mere 6 minutes.
This is great from a customer experience perspective; it solves one of the weakest and most sensitive points of the flying experience. Traveling can be exhausting as hell, and adding a missed flight on top of that adds stress to it that’s enough to make someone wanna scream. This technology can give passengers peace of mind and security in knowing that they won’t be running for a flight they’re going to miss anyways. I’m here for it.
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Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Social Media + Events Coordinator at Worthix, as well as the host of the monthly CX News Recap segment. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan.