United Launches Virtual Customer Service Platform for Passengers at the Airport

Introducing "Agent on Demand."

At a time when airlines are doing as much as they can to avoid crowding at the airport, United Airlines is launching virtual, on-demand customer service to prevent passengers from waiting in lines.

Currently available at Chicago O'Hare and Houston's George Bush International Airports, the “Agent on Demand” program works with any mobile device, allowing passengers to call, text or video chat live with a United customer service agent, the airline announced Wednesday.

The service will be rolled out to United's other hubs by the end of the year.

While at the airport, customers scan one of the United QR codes located throughout the terminal. When they follow the link, they will be connected to an agent via phone, chat, or video.

United Airlines Virtual Assistance
Courtesy of United Airlines

Travelers can ask the exact same questions they would if the agent were standing in front of them, like questions on seat assignments, standby lists, upgrades, flight status, and more.

The new feature includes a perk for travelers whose first language is not English. Travelers using the chat function can type in more than 100 languages and it will be automatically translated into English for the agents and back into the selected language for the passenger.

United Airlines Virtual Assistance
Courtesy of United Airlines

"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," Linda Jojo, United's Executive Vice President for Technology and Chief Digital Officer, said in a statement. "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."

The feature will roll out to all of United’s hubs — including Denver, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco and Washington Dulles — by the end of the year.

Earlier this year, United launched a text hotline where passengers could ask about their COVID-19 concerns before an upcoming flight.

Cailey Rizzo is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure, currently based in Brooklyn. You can find her on Twitter, Instagram, or at caileyrizzo.com.

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