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United Airlines Can Now Text You Live Weather Maps Showing Why Your Flight Is Delayed

Airports + Flying
by Morgane Croissant Jul 5, 2024

If you’re a rule followers and arrive at the airport hours before your flight, nothing is more frustrating than a schedule delay, no matter how short. You’ve already been waiting for ages and have no interest in spending another minute in the airport. What makes such a situation even more frustrating, however, is not knowing why your flight is delayed. Is it the airline’s fault? Is it the airport’s fault? What’s going on? Travelers want to know.

Just three weeks ago, as I was traveling from Canada to Europe, my connecting flight from Vancouver to Amsterdam, was delayed by two hours, making my already-long layover stretch for eight insufferable hours. The delay also meant that I was going to miss my next connecting flight in Amsterdam. To say that I was unhappy that day was an understatement — I was livid. There were no explanations for the delay and I was furiously looking into how I could obtain financial compensation from KLM. When I learned, hours later, that my flight had been delayed coming from Amsterdam because it had to make a medical emergency landing in Reykjavik, Iceland, I was a lot less belligerent. Not only did my delayed flight was nobody’s fault, but someone had a much worse day than me. Knowing made all the difference.

United Airlines understands that keeping information from passengers in case of flight delays does nothing more than aggravate them, that’s why the airline, with the help of generative artificial intelligence (gen AI), now texts passengers links to real-time radar maps during weather delays. With a radar map showing weather in real time from across the flight path, air travelers can see for themselves the reason for a delay, and even anticipate one. Of course, it won’t fix the setback, but it’ll help passengers know who to blame: the clouds, not the United Airlines employees behind the desk at the airport.

This is not the only initiative from United Airlines meant to offer air travelers as much transparency as possible. The airline already informs passengers by emails or texts of timely flight details, including gate changes, boarding time, aircraft change, and more.

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