After days of flight cancellations due to Covid-19 and staffing issues, United Airlines now faces another challenge — technology. Beginning early in the afternoon eastern time on Monday, access to both the United Airlines main webpage as well as the mobile app were limited at best. Passengers, or perhaps would-be passengers, face a variety of challenges if attempting to fly United in the coming days.
United Airlines Website Glitch
Customer service and ticket agents are already strained due to holiday travel combined with the recent cancellations. The long lines of weary passengers waiting to be rebooked are likely to increase in size. Simple tasks such as logging in to mileage plus accounts, or completing online check-in have resulted in errors and timeouts. Customers who would have otherwise bypassed these queues and gone straight to security or to their gates thanks to online check-in, may face an unwelcome surprise while trying to check-in on their way to the airport.
Passengers all across United’s network can expect some delays, but those departing from United’s hubs such as Newark or Chicago should be prepared to face possible setbacks.
In addition to checking in through the website or mobile app, other online features such as viewing and changing reservations, changing seats, or requesting upgrades have been glitchy, and at times have not worked at all. Confirmation emails with locator codes are also being sent (or not sent) to customers with little consistency.
Passengers traveling internationally could face an extra hurdle or delay. The normally preferred method of uploading vaccination records, covid test results, or travel attestations through United’s Travel-Ready Center may prove to be unreliable. If possible, customers may benefit from having paper copies of covid test results and other documents if required.
This Isn’t the First Time This Has Happened
While this is not the first time United or other major airlines have faced a major technical outage, it comes at a very inconvenient time. A similar technical issue happened with United in September of this year, but it did not coincide with mounting flight cancellations and staffing issues. Though that issue did result in a temporary ground stop of all United aircraft. Though technical issues rarely take longer than 24 hours to fix, there is a ripple effect that could plague travelers and the airline for days to come.
United acknowledged the issues in a brief statement on their webpage and mobile app for those fortunate enough to get that far. “We’re experiencing a temporary technical issue that is impacting our website and mobile app, and causing some intermittent delays. We’re sorry for this inconvenience and are working to resolve this issue.” United’s twitter account had not addressed the technical issues, but passengers with an issue might have better luck writing United’s twitter account directly than holding for a customer service agent on the phone.
Over the next few days, it is unlikely that the technical outage will lead to additional cancellations, but passengers should expect some delays. Longer lines at ticketing counters and customer service desks will have a domino effect that could cause numerous flights to depart late if waiting for a large number of passengers. United customers should plan on spending some extra time at the airport, though anyone flying throughout this holiday season should prepare for some setbacks even without the technical problem.
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