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United Airlines

United and Apple Could Build the “Terminal of the Future”

United and Apple Could Build the “Terminal of the Future”
Joe Cortez

After spending a significant amount of money on upgrading facilities at San Francisco International Airport, United Airlines could take “modernization” in a new direction. Reports suggest the carrier is working with Apple on continued improvements to terminals at their hub airport.

Could the partnership between Apple and United Airlines grow deeper? A new report suggests the technology giant and carrier could work together to bring further modernization to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). According to Bloomberg, both companies could be planning a modernization for United’s presence at the terminal.

How Apple and United are Intertwined

It’s no secret that Apple and United are closely aligned through business deals. Dating back to 2014, United deployed iPhones for flight attendants to go cashless in-air and deliver corporate news. Three years later, the two began working with IBM to “provide innovate solutions for [employees] on an unprecedented scale.”

In turn, it was recently revealed that Apple is United’s biggest corporate client. Leaked documents from 2019 show Apple spends over $150 million annually with the airline, with the most popular destinations being Hong Kong, Shanghai and Taiwan.

The Potential for a New Terminal

United has already spent plenty on rebuilding its hub terminal in order to attract continued business. In 2018, the Chicago-based airline opened a United Polaris lounge for international customers traveling aboard the premium cabin. But the suggestions made during a United media day could take “modernization to a new level.”

Talking to reporters, United chief digital officer and executive vice president of technology Linda Jojo said the airline already invited Apple behind the scenes for their thoughts. “The Apple team in San Francisco has been in our baggage hold areas, customer service and the lobbies,” she said, as quoted by Bloomberg. She followed the comment saying: “I’m being deliberately vague” about details of the collaboration.

If the terminal changes move forward, they could be paid for in part by ancillary fee growth. During the airline’s most recent quarterly investor call, Jojo credited her team for growing revenue through the “extras” fees by 18 percent, due in part to streamlining digital performance for both the airline and the customer.

“We have created tools, developed apps and streamline processes that benefit our customers and our employees while improving revenues and driving cost savings,” Jojo said on the call. “And there are hundreds of projects we’re working on now…that we believe will drive customer engagement, empower our financial performance for years to come.”

So far, FlyerTalkers have not spoken up about the topic – and neither have the companies involved. Outside of the media day tease, neither party has announced anything further about any potential changes to the San Francisco terminals.

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