FA Handheld Machines

Old May 12, 18, 1:47 pm
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FA Handheld Machines

(Mods - not sure where to file)
On a recent UA flight back from Asia a flight attendant recognized my passing the 3 million mile mark. There seems to be confusion regarding what information UA flight attendants are given about their passengers aside from names/status, especially under the Million Miler thread where many people don't receive acknowledgement.

So, I inquired how he received word and he showed me "the cool new feature" on his handheld device. If you get a glimpse of one of these handhelds, you may see a seat map of the cabin. I was in BF, and I saw that each seat was one of 3 colors (there may be more in use). My seat was the color black (GS designation), with 1Ks recognized as a blue/grey. All other seats were white, which I assume means anyone with status below 1K. Presumably they still use the paper printout with similar information for meal choices.

My seat also had an asterisk on the upper right corner of the seat square which signified something unique about me on that flight. When the FA tapped the seat box, the display told him I was crossing the 3 million mile mark. The display also told him my connecting details in San Fran. He said if I happened to be celebrating a birthday, my seat would also get the asterisk. I think I also saw my PQMs this year to date. He said the software was loaded with other goodies but I didn't get a demo of these enhancements.

So, the flight crew has a ton of information at their fingertips on each of us on each flight. How (or if) they use it will vary but at least headquarters is giving them the tools to provide personalized service.

Anyone else see this in use or know of other software features? It was pretty cool.
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Old May 12, 18, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by dkc715 View Post
(Mods - not sure where to file)
On a recent UA flight back from Asia a flight attendant recognized my passing the 3 million mile mark. There seems to be confusion regarding what information UA flight attendants are given about their passengers aside from names/status, especially under the Million Miler thread where many people don't receive acknowledgement.

So, I inquired how he received word and he showed me "the cool new feature" on his handheld device. If you get a glimpse of one of these handhelds, you may see a seat map of the cabin. I was in BF, and I saw that each seat was one of 3 colors (there may be more in use). My seat was the color black (GS designation), with 1Ks recognized as a blue/grey. All other seats were white, which I assume means anyone with status below 1K. Presumably they still use the paper printout with similar information for meal choices.

My seat also had an asterisk on the upper right corner of the seat square which signified something unique about me on that flight. When the FA tapped the seat box, the display told him I was crossing the 3 million mile mark. The display also told him my connecting details in San Fran. He said if I happened to be celebrating a birthday, my seat would also get the asterisk. I think I also saw my PQMs this year to date. He said the software was loaded with other goodies but I didn't get a demo of these enhancements.

So, the flight crew has a ton of information at their fingertips on each of us on each flight. How (or if) they use it will vary but at least headquarters is giving them the tools to provide personalized service.

Anyone else see this in use or know of other software features? It was pretty cool.
Congrats on 3MM! I have not ever gotten that close of a look on the handhelds, but when sitting in Y, I've seen them propped up on the cart. There is a screen with the seat map, and I have noticed a silver and gold "1K" icon where my seat is. I assume they are able to use that to verify the free food and drink...or to your point, to provide any sort of personalize service as they're making their way through the cabin.

The birthday and MM mark is pretty cool too!
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Old May 12, 18, 3:20 pm
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I'm guessing they didn't use it on my ZRH to EWR flight two weeks ago, when I passed 1MM.
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Old May 12, 18, 7:03 pm
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Originally Posted by aacharya View Post
I'm guessing they didn't use it on my ZRH to EWR flight two weeks ago, when I passed 1MM.
Or they don't consider 1MM to be of any significance any more.
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Old May 12, 18, 7:38 pm
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They have had those for a while now, FA showed my last year when he congratulated my on passing the MM mark - interestingly it was the flight after I cross became a MM'er.
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Old May 12, 18, 8:25 pm
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Thanks for sharing that detailed rundown.

Some guy on one of my endless upgradeless ORD/SFO flights was keenly curious about the handheld seatmap on the FA's phone, and he asked if it was showing 'turtle codes'. I have no idea what that meant, nor did FA seem to. But FA offered a briefer explanation about seats and statuses.

Interesting about all the colours and stars. I hadn't realised the level of granularity it gave.
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Old May 13, 18, 10:08 pm
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Originally Posted by dkc715 View Post
So, the flight crew has a ton of information at their fingertips on each of us on each flight. How (or if) they use it will vary but at least headquarters is giving them the tools to provide personalized service.

Anyone else see this in use or know of other software features? It was pretty cool.
What you said here pretty much sums it up. UA has given FA a ton of information via their handheld devices. How they use that information to better serve the passengers is where there is a gap as for every passenger that is recognized for a milestone there are probably 100 that go unnoticed.
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Old May 13, 18, 10:30 pm
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Originally Posted by dkc715 View Post
My seat also had an asterisk on the upper right corner of the seat square which signified something unique about me on that flight. When the FA tapped the seat box, the display told him I was crossing the 3 million mile mark. The display also told him my connecting details in San Fran. He said if I happened to be celebrating a birthday, my seat would also get the asterisk.
My bet is some don't know an asterisk means to click for more info, some do know but are too focused on getting the drinks/carts out to click through since that's when they usually use the handheld (or dont care to click more), and some click and then either do something with it or forget/do nothing.
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Old May 13, 18, 10:37 pm
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I had an FA check on the itineraries for my two seat mates on a flight today. It was getting closer to the end of boarding and they had not yet arrived -- both of us thought they must be mis-connecting -- but then she checked the device and said "Oh, looks like they're both originating here!". Sure enough, they boarded a couple of minutes later!
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Old May 13, 18, 10:54 pm
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Bit of clarification, there are two apps being discussed here.
  • One contains information about the flight, the crew, and the pax. This is where you'll see the asterisks showing MM achievements, birthdays (± a day), and status achievements. As @mikeyf notes, I believe it's the flight AFTER you hit the milestones. The seat boxes are color coded and depend on the FA's settings, but the "basic" is the standard seat maps (orange open up front, blue is open e+, white is open e-, grey is filled) plus black for GS and a steel blue for 1K. Additionally, FAs can select to view all status levels, including *S/*G. Connection info and PNR/SSR info is found here. I've never noticed PQMs, but that might be new.
  • The sales app that you see pulled up when on the cart. As mentioned, it highlights GS/1K for easy identification for the free BoB in Y. This app also includes the onboard compensation, and some other goodies that are still in Beta.
In my experience, few crewmembers open the first app after boarding is complete. Honestly, I've forgotten to acknowledge the MM milestones before on particularly busy flights... I've also had my head bitten off for "exposing private customer info" when congratulating someone on 1MM, and people be visibly uncomfortable that I knew it was their birthday, so I can see why some may not want to even try.

And finally, the only reason I know of these features is because I find these things interesting (I am on FT, after all) and do some digging myself -- the userguides for these apps are not intuitive and I find myself teaching and learning from others about new features often. It would not surprise me if someone didn't know about the milestones, or what "3MM" means when next to a name. The apps are great, but documentation is poor.
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Old May 13, 18, 10:56 pm
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Originally Posted by GBadger View Post
I had an FA check on the itineraries for my two seat mates on a flight today. It was getting closer to the end of boarding and they had not yet arrived -- both of us thought they must be mis-connecting -- but then she checked the device and said "Oh, looks like they're both originating here!". Sure enough, they boarded a couple of minutes later!
The sharing of passenger names with people outside the airline is expressly forbidden and there have been cases of staff being fired for divulging a pax's name, or if they're on a particular flight, to ANYONE, except law enforcement, or other airline employees. This is a security issue that is strictly enforced!!!
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Old May 13, 18, 10:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Two Bee View Post
The sharing of passenger names with people outside the airline is expressly forbidden and there have been cases of staff being fired for divulging a pax's name, or if they're on a particular flight, to ANYONE, except law enforcement, or other airline employees. This is a security issue that is strictly enforced!!!
I didn’t see anything about names being divulged..
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Old May 13, 18, 11:13 pm
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Originally Posted by IAH-OIL-TRASH View Post


I didn’t see anything about names being divulged..

"I had an FA check on the itineraries for my two seat mates on a flight today. It was getting closer to the end of boarding and they had not yet arrived -- both of us thought they must be mis-connecting -- but then she checked the device and said "Oh, looks like they're both originating here!". Sure enough, they boarded a couple of minutes later!"

Then how did the FA know the two names in order for the her/him to look in the lil' machine, in order to find out what their flight status was.
I did this for a living for years, and answered tons of calls; the attempt to find out if a certain person was on a particular flight. It is totally verboten to confirm if anyone is on ANY flight except to the above that I mentioned.
I guess we could play games and assume that the inquiry was only to find out if the two guys sitting by him were going to make it, but he may be sitting next to 2 last minute standby's, without telling the FA the names of his bud's, don't-ya-think?

Additional --- In fact it's a rule breaker to confirm who is boarding, flying on, or arriving on ANY airplane --- NAME OR NO NAME even! The FA had no business confirming whether ANYONE in particular was going to be seated on that plane.

Last edited by Two Bee; May 13, 18 at 11:29 pm Reason: Additional
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Old May 13, 18, 11:35 pm
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Originally Posted by Two Bee View Post
"I had an FA check on the itineraries for my two seat mates on a flight today. It was getting closer to the end of boarding and they had not yet arrived -- both of us thought they must be mis-connecting -- but then she checked the device and said "Oh, looks like they're both originating here!". Sure enough, they boarded a couple of minutes later!"

Then how did the FA know the two names in order for the her/him to look in the lil' machine, in order to find out what their flight status was.
I did this for a living for years, and answered tons of calls; the attempt to find out if a certain person was on a particular flight. It is totally verboten to confirm if anyone is on ANY flight except to the above that I mentioned.
I guess we could play games and assume that the inquiry was only to find out if the two guys sitting by him were going to make it, but he may be sitting next to 2 last minute standby's, without telling the FA the names of his bud's, don't-ya-think?

Additional --- In fact it's a rule breaker to confirm who is boarding, flying on, or arriving on ANY airplane --- NAME OR NO NAME even! The FA had no business confirming whether ANYONE in particular was going to be seated on that plane.
The OP probably asked about whoever was sitting in seats A or B without specifying name. I think you are going overboard on this. The OP was wondering if there was a misconnection. Turns out they were originating there. If OP knew names, he probably also would know if they were connecting or originating.

As for rule telling a passenger that another has misconnected so the seat will be open - exactly what rule are they breaking????

The FA doesn’t need names. They can click on seats.

If I ask a FA if the seat next to me will be empty, and the reply is “looks like it - they misconnected”. What personal information has been divulged? The FA should be fired??? Seriously???

UA should stop announcing onboard that a late departure is expected because they are waiting for some late connecting passengers (no names give, but we can see the board)?

Last edited by IAH-OIL-TRASH; May 13, 18 at 11:49 pm
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Old May 13, 18, 11:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Two Bee View Post
"I had an FA check on the itineraries for my two seat mates on a flight today. It was getting closer to the end of boarding and they had not yet arrived -- both of us thought they must be mis-connecting -- but then she checked the device and said "Oh, looks like they're both originating here!". Sure enough, they boarded a couple of minutes later!"

Then how did the FA know the two names in order for the her/him to look in the lil' machine, in order to find out what their flight status was.
I did this for a living for years, and answered tons of calls; the attempt to find out if a certain person was on a particular flight. It is totally verboten to confirm if anyone is on ANY flight except to the above that I mentioned.
I guess we could play games and assume that the inquiry was only to find out if the two guys sitting by him were going to make it, but he may be sitting next to 2 last minute standby's, without telling the FA the names of his bud's, don't-ya-think?

Additional --- In fact it's a rule breaker to confirm who is boarding, flying on, or arriving on ANY airplane --- NAME OR NO NAME even! The FA had no business confirming whether ANYONE in particular was going to be seated on that plane.
It's not a rule-breaker to just see two empty seats, wonder if the passengers are going to make it, and the FA to look on the handheld and go "not connecting from another flight".

What rule? Citation please.
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