The current versions of the United mobile app are extremely popular, with over 15 million downloads to mobile devices. Over 90% of customers revisit United’s app post-download. United’s internal team of designers and developers approach the mobile app as one app with multiple versions; customized and optimized for each platform of iOS, Android and Windows and available in the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, Amazon App Store, Blackberry World and Windows Phone Store. United Airlines has shown a strong commitment to supporting mobile devices with frequent releases of new and innovated features to continue to update and improve the app across supported devices.
In the latest redesign effort, the United team used data from previous app versions to understand which features and functions were most important to customers. Travelers were interviewed to gain insight into when they need information during their travel, what kind of information they need, and how they use it before and during travel. From there, designs were created and tested to best deliver the right capabilities in a user-friendly way. For example, the home screen is designed for use on-the-go: testing was done to optimize the screen layout to enable use of the app by a customer pulling their suitcase through the airport and using the app with one hand.
Key features of the United App include popular tasks like booking a flight, checking in for a flight, watching a flight’s status and checking your MileagePlus account summary. Travel data can be cumbersome, so the interface has introduced travel cards and a travel wallet to organize and shortcut to key information. App users swipe through available travel cards such as mobile boarding pass, reservation card, MileagePlus card and scan-enabled United Club card. The travel wallet is another shortcut, holding all relevant information in one place, including upcoming reservations, mobile boarding passes, flight status notifications and more. A travel wallet is a comprehensive summary of upcoming trips, and trip details can be saved to a travel card on the home screen with a simple swipe. The functions our customers have grown to love from our earlier app version are popular extras such as Sudoku, checked bag fees calculator, a currency converter and airport maps.
Recently introduced features include passport scanning, Uber integration and travel disruption handling.
A recently introduced feature, unique to United Airlines, is passport scanning via the United app. Customers are able to scan their passport to complete their check-in through the app. This new functionality in the mobile app delivers another convenient channel to provide passport information during the 24-hour check-in window prior to departure by using the device’s camera as a scanner. International check-in success via the app improved over 50% in the few short months since this feature was introduced.
United Airlines was also a launch partner for Uber’s API in 2014. Customers are able to view Uber services through the United app, further connecting our customers with valuable day-of-travel tools. United is the only airline partner to offer this technology with Uber at this time. Accessed through the menu or a My Reservation card, the app will estimate the arrival time of an Uber car, the ride cost to the airport in the reservation, and the option of car types. The synergy between airline travel and ground transportation was visible in the first few weeks of release with over 40,000 Uber searches from the United app.
In the event of a travel disruption such as a cancelled flight or significant delay, the United app provides specific messaging to customers. Messages in these scenarios are prominently displayed in red on the home screen and on the reservation card, and once selected will bring the customer to a screen with options to modify their travel by choosing a different flight.
We are continuously getting feedback from customers and coworkers on our app and making improvements. For example, popular features such as to check on where an aircraft is coming from or where the aircraft is currently (a feature unique to United), were initially launched in a separate navigation menu but based on feedback it was moved to be prominently located in the Flight status details to ensure easy access to this popular data. As releases were introduced and features revisited, the layouts were modified, for example, aircraft seat maps were redesigned and reservations and boarding passes for more than one traveler we re-arranged to stack to view more at-a-glance. United has shown significant investment in 2014 and will continuing investing in digital channels to offer United Airlines customers choice, control and convenience during travel.