Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

United Airlines Makes Connecting the World Easier Than Ever with ConnectionSaver

United Airlines Makes Connecting the World Easier Than Ever with ConnectionSaver

Old Jun 10, 19, 10:36 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: BOS<>NYC<>BKK
Programs: UA 4.1MM LT-GS; AA1MM; Amtrak S+; MAR LT TITAN; PC Plat; HIL DIA; HYA GLOB
Posts: 3,918
United Airlines Makes Connecting the World Easier Than Ever with ConnectionSaver

United Airlines Makes Connecting the World Easier Than Ever with ConnectionSaver
New technology helps determine when to hold more flights and minimize customers' inconvenience
Introduction of personalized texts make getting from gate to gate easier than ever


CHICAGO, June 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Just in time for the busy summer travel season, United Airlines is introducing ConnectionSaver, a new tool dedicated to improving the experience for customers connecting from one United flight to the next. ConnectionSaver is powered by new technology that automatically identifies departing flights that can be held for connecting customers, while ensuring those who have already boarded the aircraft arrive at their destination on time. ConnectionSaver also sends personalized text messages to every connecting customer (who has opted in to receive notifications) with clear directions to the gate for their connecting flight and information about how long the walk will take.

United's ConnectionSaver technology automatically scans flights for customers who are making tight connections to determine if the connecting flight can be held without inconveniencing other customers. The ConnectionSaver tool takes into account factors such as the time it will take for late connecting customers to travel gate-to-gate as well as the impact the hold may have on other flights and customers.

"Through improved technology and our dedication to running a reliable operation, customers with tight connections are making their flights. With summer travel picking up, as many as 150,000 customers will make connections on United flights every day and our goal is to provide our employees and these customers with the most up-to-date information to make connecting as stress-free as possible," said Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer at United.

United launched its ConnectionSaver tool on all flights at Denver International Airport in February, and then expanded it to Chicago O'Hare International Airport – two of the airline's busiest hubs with thousands of connecting customers every day. During the past four months, more than 14,400 customers, who would have otherwise missed their connections, were able to make their flights thanks to ConnectionSaver. Flights that were held for connecting customers were delayed an average of six minutes. This ConnectionSaver technology will expand to the airline's hubs by this fall and to all other airports that United operates at in the future.

"ConnectionSaver only works if it allows us to care for as many customers as possible – without inconveniencing others – and that's exactly what this technology has shown it can do. We're determined to capitalize on as many opportunities as possible to better serve and care for our customers and that's part of what sets United apart from our competitors," said Enqvist.

The ConnectionSaver program also includes text notifications personalized for customers making connections through the airline's hub airports, that will help them navigate and travel efficiently to the gate for their next flight. Once customers land at their connecting airport, they will receive a text message that tells them the gate where they are arriving, the gate where they will depart and the expected travel time between the two gates. The texts will also include a link with step-by-step directions to the next gate and a map of nearby amenities.

Earlier this year United added more detailed and helpful connection information to its reimagined mobile app. Customers using the latest version of the app will be prompted with information about their arrival and departing gates and a map of the airport once they land.
ExplorerWannabe and ajGoes like this.

Last edited by WineCountryUA; Jun 10, 19 at 12:24 pm Reason: formating to improve readability
wxguy is offline  
Old Jun 10, 19, 1:33 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: SYD
Programs: UA 1K; VA Gold; QF Gold; HHonors Gold; Marriott Gold; National ExecElite
Posts: 418
I noticed that the texts from UA are more detailed now. Flying IND-ORD-JAX last Friday, I got this within 2 minutes of landing at ORD:

"Welcome to Chicago!

You'll arrive at Gate F11. Your next flight UA3690 to Jacksonville departs from Gate C2 at 6:59pm. It takes about 19 minute(s) to get to Gate C2.

Map it out:
*link to UA.com*"

I thought it was quite clever to get a tailored text with that info, although I of course would have looked up the gate info on the app anyway.

And of course, I hoofed it all the way over to C2 and sat down at the new Wicker Park there. My bum had literally just touched the seat when I got a text that my gate changed to F24. So I got up and started walking, and about halfway back to the tunnel, my gate changed again to B2. And then after 30 minutes at B2 the gate changed again to B22.

Maybe all the gate changes are related to this wonderful new "holding flights" algorithm. Or maybe it's just a summer Friday at ORD!
Boofer is offline  
Old Jun 10, 19, 1:47 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2019
Posts: 6,876
Interesting. Will they also expand the "boarding ends" window? I think it is 10 minutes before departure but I might be wrong.
RoxyMountain is online now  
Old Jun 10, 19, 2:42 pm
  #4  
mr8
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Programs: UA1K | *A Gold
Posts: 766
Nice! The text notifications would be very similar to what the tripit app currently does.

Would be really great if they could have one of those passenger transport carts waiting for you if there are more than X passengers that need to make a tight connections due to a delay.
Billygreg likes this.

Last edited by mr8; Jun 10, 19 at 2:48 pm
mr8 is offline  
Old Jun 10, 19, 5:12 pm
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Houston
Programs: UA Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 11,314
For better or worse, I think I used all my ConnectionSaver karma before the official announcement and rollout of the frontend:

55 minute connect at ORD to the last flight of the day, was going to be F to B. Arrived 35 min late due to late inbound, mechanical issue needing a writeup, and higher than forecast headwinds. Gates swapped to be adjacent in C, and even after waiting for my gate check I boarded at T-14m (and got the CPU when I did). Someone I know at HQ confirmed it was the new systems doing.
Boofer, Billygreg, iapetus and 1 others like this.
mduell is offline  
Old Jun 10, 19, 6:32 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Chicago
Posts: 773
Originally Posted by Boofer View Post
I noticed that the texts from UA are more detailed now. Flying IND-ORD-JAX last Friday, I got this within 2 minutes of landing at ORD:

"Welcome to Chicago!

You'll arrive at Gate F11. Your next flight UA3690 to Jacksonville departs from Gate C2 at 6:59pm. It takes about 19 minute(s) to get to Gate C2.

Map it out:
*link to UA.com*"

I thought it was quite clever to get a tailored text with that info, although I of course would have looked up the gate info on the app anyway.

And of course, I hoofed it all the way over to C2 and sat down at the new Wicker Park there. My bum had literally just touched the seat when I got a text that my gate changed to F24. So I got up and started walking, and about halfway back to the tunnel, my gate changed again to B2. And then after 30 minutes at B2 the gate changed again to B22.

Maybe all the gate changes are related to this wonderful new "holding flights" algorithm. Or maybe it's just a summer Friday at ORD!
UA could use a half dozen more gates at ORD, possibly a dozen. The gate shortage is what’s causing this.
LarryJ likes this.
AirbusFan2B is offline  
Old Jun 10, 19, 7:54 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PSP & ZQN
Programs: UA 1K (2MM), AA Exec Plat, BA Gold, MH Enrich Platinum
Posts: 1,685
Somehow I am quite "doubtful" about anything UA says will be better for me....I will probably be the person already on board held up for 15 minutes where we miss out slot wait 45 minutes more (of course it will show departed on time) and miss my next flight.
zebranz is offline  
Old Jun 10, 19, 9:08 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: USA
Programs: UA Gold, Marriott Gold
Posts: 822
Originally Posted by Boofer View Post
Maybe all the gate changes are related to this wonderful new "holding flights" algorithm. Or maybe it's just a summer Friday at ORD!
I've had multiple conflicting gate changes like that in the past at LAX so not related to the new software. I do appreciate the new, more informative text messages.
ExplorerWannabe is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:04 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: Mileage Plus 1K; Marriott Platinum; Hilton Gold
Posts: 6,355
Originally Posted by zebranz View Post
Somehow I am quite "doubtful" about anything UA says will be better for me....I will probably be the person already on board held up for 15 minutes where we miss out slot wait 45 minutes more (of course it will show departed on time) and miss my next flight.
My ORD-YVR flight was delayed 20 minutes for late connecting pax last night. I think this new algorithm means that the last departures each day out of a hub will be more likely to be delayed in the 15 - 30 minute range, going forward.
EWR764, ajGoes and mikeyf like this.
transportprof is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:22 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: New York, NY
Programs: UA, AA, DL, Hertz, Avis, National, Hyatt, Hilton, SPG, Marriott
Posts: 7,687
Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
My ORD-YVR flight was delayed 20 minutes for late connecting pax last night. I think this new algorithm means that the last departures each day out of a hub will be more likely to be delayed in the 15 - 30 minute range, going forward.
As the day rolls on, focus on D:0 should be shifting toward A:14 anyway, such that closing the door on time for the last flight to a given city out of a hub should be pretty low on the priority list, behind accommodating late-arriving connections (within reason). OTOH, A:14 performance is what's considered by the DOT in on-time statistics, and block-in time has a more direct correlation with legality and crew rest for the following day. So, if a flight can be held a certain amount of time such that A:14 is preserved AND the maximum number of late-arriving connectors can be boarded, then that would be the optimal departure, from an passenger service perspective.

I think this is sort of what UA was getting at when it referred to this program by the more jargon-y term "Dynamic D:0".

In your case, the ORD-YVR flight blocked in 20 minutes late, so while still "late" by DOT standards, it made up some time after a 28 minute delay on closing the door and was within striking distance of A:14. Not ideal for United, as I imagine it was shooting to come in just under that 15-minute mark so as to still be "on time", officially, but on a bad weather day on the East Coast that no doubt impacted arriving westbound connectors, IMO, it's a reasonable concession.
drewguy likes this.

Last edited by EWR764; Jun 11, 19 at 10:31 am
EWR764 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 10:34 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Programs: Mileage Plus 1K; Marriott Platinum; Hilton Gold
Posts: 6,355
Originally Posted by EWR764 View Post
As the day rolls on, focus on D:0 should be shifting toward A:14 anyway, such that closing the door on time for the last flight to a given city out of a hub should be pretty low on the priority list, behind accommodating late-arriving connections (within reason). OTOH, A:14 performance is what's considered by the DOT in on-time statistics, and block-in time has a more direct correlation with legality and crew rest for the following day. So, if a flight can be held a certain amount of time such that A:14 is preserved AND the maximum number of late-arriving connectors can be boarded, then that would be the optimal departure, from an passenger service perspective.

I think this is sort of what UA was getting at when it referred to this program by the more jargon-y term "Dynamic D:0".
As someone who has been stranded at ORD more than once on a sub-15 minute connection due to late arriving aircraft over the years, I can certainly appreciate Dynamic D:0. I've got a 1'15" connection LHR-ORD-YVR next month, which will involve taking the third world bus connection over from T5, as well as rechecking bags. Hopefully Dynamic D:0 will work in my favor then, if needs be.
EWR764 likes this.
transportprof is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 11:03 am
  #12  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: DCA
Programs: UA US CO AA DL FL
Posts: 48,051
Originally Posted by RoxyMountain View Post
Interesting. Will they also expand the "boarding ends" window? I think it is 10 minutes before departure but I might be wrong.
It makes no sense to hold departure, but then to close the flight.

To be precise, the flight closes at T-10, but domestic passengers must be through the gate reader by T-15 and international by T-30. There will be occasions, such as with an overbooked flight at risk of oversale, where offloading late passengers is the alternative to VDB/IDB, especially IDB.

The one thing I would suggest is that one always head to the connection gate. Sometimes there are last second delays and what shows on the board as "flight closed" really is not.
EWR764 and jsloan like this.
Often1 is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 4:51 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: PSP & ZQN
Programs: UA 1K (2MM), AA Exec Plat, BA Gold, MH Enrich Platinum
Posts: 1,685
Originally Posted by transportprof View Post
My ORD-YVR flight was delayed 20 minutes for late connecting pax last night. I think this new algorithm means that the last departures each day out of a hub will be more likely to be delayed in the 15 - 30 minute range, going forward.
I am sure United appreciated your sacrifice to save them putting people up in hotels and providing food vouchers.
zebranz is offline  
Old Jun 11, 19, 5:35 pm
  #14  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: SFO
Programs: AC SE MM, Bonvoy Plat, HH Diamond, Accor Gold
Posts: 33,795
"more than 14,400 customers, who would have otherwise missed their connections, were able to make their flights thanks to ConnectionSaver."

How many customers missed their connection because their first flight was delayed due to ConnectionSaver?

Even if the number is significantly lower than 14,400, I'd be pretty annoyed if an airline's explicit action resulted in a misconnect.
canadiancow is online now  
Old Jun 11, 19, 5:56 pm
  #15  
Moderator: United Airlines; FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: SFO
Programs: UA Plat 1.85MM, Hyatt Discoverist, Marriott Plat/LT Gold, Hilton Silver, IHG Gold
Posts: 51,750
Originally Posted by canadiancow View Post
.... How many customers missed their connection because their first flight was delayed due to ConnectionSaver? ...
The stated plan seems to be sensitive to that issue
while ensuring those who have already boarded the aircraft arrive at their destination on time.
Such as, holding the last flight of the night for a few minutes does not have the risks of misconnections.
WineCountryUA is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: