United Airlines passengers now have a free, albeit limited, in-flight WiFi option on board. The carrier enabled free messaging services for travelers this week.
WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and iMessage are among the supported apps.
The company implies that this is only available to users of the newest version of the company’s mobile app, though that is not yet confirmed. This may, however, prove one of the more compelling reasons to download an airline app if that is the case.
While implying that the feature is made available via the app a company representative confirms that this option is available even without the app. It will be displayed as one of the regular pricing plans on the capture portal.
United is also using its in-flight connectivity offering to help encourage international travelers to submit vaccination and test results documents via the app.
The company’s AI-powered document verification system allows for automated handling of the paperwork prior to arrival at the airport, helping to reduce workload in dispatching flights. Inbound international travelers can now receive a free day pass for using that service rather than waiting for an airport agent to verify the documents.
Most of the carrier’s connected aircraft have the service available today. The Embraer 170/175 fleet is expected to be fully enabled by January 2022. This includes finally installing the hardware on many of the more recent deliveries which entered service without connectivity for some reason.
The 757-200 and 767s are partially active with completion expected in March 2022. The 787-9s will complete by June 2022.
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