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There are few things more frustrating in the world of travel than missing your connecting flight when you, as the traveler, have done nothing wrong but the airline you’re flying has somehow contrived to screw things up in spectacular style (I’ve been there!).
It can get even more frustrating if it becomes obvious that, despite the issues which caused your delay, a little thought and common sense on the part of the airline could have salvaged the trip…..and that’s where United’s ‘ConnectionSaver’ appears to come into play.
ConnectionSaver is a tool introduced by United to help customers connect seamlessly between United flights (this doesn’t apply to connections to/from partner airlines)….and it sounds quite clever.
Per United, ConnectionSaver uses technology that can determine if a flight can be held at the gate to allow delayed passengers to connect while, at the same time, ensuring that all passengers still arrive at their destination on time (if you ever needed proof that airlines pad their schedules then here it is).
Here’s how United describes what ConnectionSaver does:
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.
To help passengers make it to their connecting flights in a timely manner ConnectionSaver sends them personalized text messages (assuming the passengers have 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 first trialed ConnectionSaver at Denver International airport back in February and then rolled it out at Chicago O’Hare a month later. Now the airline plans to have the technology working at all its hubs by this fall and, subsequently, will roll it out to all other airports at which United offers connections.
The airline says that, since the first trials of ConnectionSaver back in February, over 14,400 passengers who would have otherwise missed their connections made their flights thanks to the new technology and, just as importantly, flights that were held for connecting customers were delayed for an average of six minutes – that’s pretty good going.
I really like the sound of this technology. We all know that airlines pad their schedules (sometimes to a ridiculous degree) so there’s bound to be some leeway when it comes to holding an aircraft at the gate to allow delayed passengers to connect without delaying the passengers already onboard. It’s nice to see United (a) admitting this and (b) using it to make sure fewer passengers misconnect….now let’s hope other airlines adopt this technology.
Have you benefited from United’s ConnectionSaver tool?