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United Becomes First Airline to Support Live Activities for iPhone 

With real-time boarding pass access, a countdown clock to departure time, and other thoughtful features, the airline's app upgrades are extremely helpful for passengers

by Rachel Dube

May 23, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of United Airlines

United Airlines announced a whole slew of major upgrades through its iPhone app, including the ability to use Live Activities. 

The North American carrier became the first to utilize Live Activities for iPhone, allowing passengers to have real-time access to their boarding pass, gate, and seat number. 

Another notable feature update is the countdown clock on the Lock Screen, which is an interactive way to get details like the flight number, flight status, estimated arrival and departure gates, baggage claim updates, and inbound aircraft status. 

Photo: Courtesy of United Airlines

“We’re seeing soaring demand for travel this summer, and Live Activities put all the flight information that you need right at your fingertips, whether your iPhone is locked or you’re doing something else like checking email, listening to music, or texting friends. This new feature is another way United is leveraging technology to improve our customers’ travel journey. It’s going to save passengers a lot of time, and we think they’re going to love it, especially during a busy travel season,” says Linda Jojo, Chief Customer Officer for United. 

According to the airline, customers check their mobile boarding pass and flight status around 800,000 per day, which means that this new feature will make it easier and faster for flyers to receive time-sensitive updates and essential flight information when needed. 

The new improvements allow passengers to open their boarding pass directly from the Lock Screen for quick access, show in-flight countdowns and up-to-date baggage carousel information, and get timely details without having to open the app for updates. 

Existing App Features 

Currently, the app has up to three million users interacting daily. Features like Agent on Demand, a virtual on-demand customer service tool; United Map Search, a tool for comparing fares based on city, budget, and destination; and Terminal Guide, an interactive map for every airport, are available for users on all devices. 

Photo: Courtesy of United Airlines

Most notably, the Travel Ready Center outlines any necessary travel requirements for upcoming travel, allowing passengers to avoid wasting time on manual document checks. 

The app is recognized for its accessibility options that help the visually impaired, easy-to-use navigation, and personalized experience for users. To access the new Live Activities, customers must have an updated United app and their iPhones running iOS 16.1 or later.

United Headlines 

Earlier this year, United announced a new set of routes to the South Pacific, positioning itself as the largest U.S. carrier in the region amid the massive expansion. The airline also put a 5 million dollar investment in Viridos, an algae-based fuel producer and one of the many sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) labs, in its quest to achieve net zero emissions. 

Photo: United Airlines, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. Courtesy of United Airlines.

In December, the airline also placed a historic order for 100 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, with the option to buy 100 more. Plus, thanks to a new codesharing partnership with Emirates and its sister airline flydubai, United customers now have access to over 100 destinations across the Middle East, Asia, and Africa through the global network of both airlines.