United Airlines customers at Chicago O'Hare and Houston's George Bush Intercontinental airports can now communicate with customer service representatives through their mobile devices, eliminating the need to speak to someone in person at the gate or counter for services such as seat assignments, upgrades and rebooking.
The "Agent on Demand" service will roll out to all of United's hubs by the end of this month.
"We know how important it is for our customers to have more options for a contactless travel experience and this tool makes it easy to quickly receive personalized support directly from a live agent at the airport while maintaining social distancing," says Linda Jojo, United's executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer.
"Agent on Demand allows customers to bypass waiting in line at the gate and seamlessly connect with customer service agents from their mobile device, ensuring they continue to receive the highest levels of service while also prioritizing their health and safety."
Customers connect to an agent by scanning a QR code displayed on signage or by using a self-service kiosk at select gate areas. Then they choose whether to communicate via text, voice or video call.
The text option includes translation functionality so communication is possible in more than 100 languages.
United recently redesigned its mobile app to make travel easier for people with visual disabilities, introduced text alerts for passengers on standby and upgrade lists to reduce person-to-person interaction, and enabled a chat function to give customers a contactless option to receive immediate information about cleaning and safety procedures.