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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.
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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