United App Will Now Tell You Exactly Why Your Plane is Delayed

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Often, the most powerful thing to have at your disposal during an airline delay is knowledge and information…well, that and a power plug. Frequently, the frustrations that mount during delays aren’t because of the delay itself, but instead, tempers spike when information about the delay becomes sparse, incomplete, or incorrect. This is doubly true when you have little kids to think about in addition to yourself. While passengers obviously can’t control the weather, crew scheduling issues, or broken planes, they can make informed decisions when working with complete and up-to-date information about the delay.

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With the advent of cell phones, WiFi, airline apps, and flight tracking websites, there is more information than ever available to passengers during a delay. While information availability has been on the increase for years, one airline just took things up a notch in terms of delay transparency.

Very recently, I started to notice some additional details about delays available in the United app. For example, on one delayed flight this week from Houston to LaGuardia, the United app shared that the delay was due to a problem with the plane’s fuel panel and that they had found a new plane to operate the flight.

On another United flight this week from Chicago to Minneapolis, the app shared that the maintenance team needed more time to investigate a loud noise in the cabin on the original plane and that a new plane was on the way from Dallas.

Not only is this level of detail empowering as it allows customers to make informed choices in terms of whether they should wait out the delay, try and switch to a different flight, retreat to the lounge, or bail on flying that day entirely, but I could see it being potentially useful documentation for delayed flight claims as well.

United has said that this level of detailed information is currently only applicable to mainline United flights that involve Houston IAH or Chicago ORD, but my fingers are crossed this level of detailed information sharing will expand from there.

Have you noticed these sort of details during your recent delays? Would you like to know exactly why your plane is delayed or is that level of detail creeping into information overload territory?


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    • Mark, when did you start seeing the level of detail that includes what is wrong with the plane? I think this is still pretty new, though I’ve certainly been wrong before!

  1. It’ll be wonderful to see delay info on the UA app, although I must say the gate agents here in PHX have been announcing every tidbit available to them. Their departures have been on time the last several months though

  2. Its a step in the right direction. I flew United a couple of weeks ago to Europe. They had a mechanical from my airport to Houston. To their credit, United was extremely good about rerouting us with minimum hassle.

  3. We were delayed 14 hours out of Maui and the OGG to ORD flight just said delayed but the ORD to OGG flight that was incoming said mechanical. No description, just mechanical. Although still nice to know why my plane was late…more than I get out of AA.

  4. The heading of your article before I went to the comments page read “United App Will Now Tell You Exactly What Your Plane Is Delayed.” That is bad grammar and needs to have the “What” replaced with “Why,” as it is on the comments page, to be understood by everyone.

    • Yes, that was a typo. Dangers of writing on a family vacation. 😉 I fixed it here, but it autopopulates elsewhere.

  5. I was delayed out of Munich to IAH on Tuesday. United app stated that it was “due to a late inbound aircraft.” When looking at the inbound aircraft, the app reported it was “delayed due to aircraft maintenance.”

  6. Is this part of the same UA app that offers entertainment onboard? I think it’s a good idea and a bad one at the same time. I’ll know what’s wrong and how long the delay is but there is still nothing I can do about it. I’ll just stay in ignorance and just read the screens.

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