United Airlines has put togther a new feature to its mobile app and its operating software that will result, the airline hopes, in fewer missed connections and with no added delays for others.
The "Connection Saver" feature uses new software that identifies flights that could leave a few minutes later without delaying arrival at the other end, and then searches its database to identify incoming connecting passengers who could make the connection if the flight were held.
Passengers in that situation receive personalized text messages with clear directions to the connecting gate and how long the walk will take. Where necessary, the airline can deploy staff or carts to help the process along.
United started using the tool for Denver and has expanded it to Chicago; by this fall, it will be up and going in all UAL hub cities. Eventually it will operate system-wide. United says that in the past four months alone, it has saved 14,400 connections, a big gain not only for passengers but for the airline, which avoids rebookings, penalties and more.