United Airlines on Wednesday introduced a new tool in the United app that could help travelers stay on top of weather delays during the Fourth of July — a holiday expected to top an already record-breaking summer travel season.

The new tool features a live radar map powered by generative AI that helps passengers visualize potential delays and impacts on their flights, even if it’s bright and sunny at their current location.

United is the first domestic airline to offer radar map-based, real-time information on weather-induced flight delays, the airline said in a press release. With the new weather map feature, United already provides fairly detailed information explaining the reasons for any delays or cancellations, which it began doing early in 2018 as part of a pilot program before adopting and expanding across its entire system.

The new feature builds on the Chicago-based airline’s efforts over the past few years to improve communications with passengers, including near-instant details about a given flight, such as gate changes, boarding times, aircraft swaps, crew rescheduling and bad weather.

Considering that the Transportation Security Administration has reported screening more people on June 24 than any other day in the agency’s nearly 23-year history, these features could be especially helpful for United fliers during the July Fourth holiday travel week. According to TSA data, the upcoming holidays will likely mark eight of the 10 busiest travel days at TSA checkpoints since Memorial Day weekend.

More than 1,370 flights were canceled at US airports on June 30, including 120 on United — roughly 4% of its schedule. Still, flight cancellations are down overall this summer, well below the infamous, airline-meltdown-plagued summer of 2022.

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“With more people traveling this summer than ever before, we want to give our customers an easy way to stay connected with real-time information about their flight, and texting is the easiest way,” United’s chief information officer Jason Birnbaum said in a statement. ” . “We know customers value transparency and by combining innovative technology-enabled tools with the power of people, we can give more people, in-the-moment, more details about their flights.”

Through Wednesday, the United app will provide customers with links to live weather radar maps showing conditions along the flight path that could lead to potential weather delays. Additionally, all customers can now access weather map links in the United app under “Flight Status Updates” to see when flights are delayed due to weather.

The push for real-time communication is a joint effort between specialized customer service teams and flight operations teams in network operations centers to use AI, which reviews flight data and writes customer messages.

“These are more helpful and relevant text or email messages that reference why the flight changed during weather-related delays — including links to live weather radars,” United said in a statement.

United Airlines

Like the TSA, United expects to experience its busiest Fourth of July weekend on record — it predicts more than 5 million passengers will fly between June 28 and July 8, up more than 7% from last year.

Other United app features that can help travelers during flight delays include automatic self-service rebooking assistance, which allows customers to rebook, track their bags and determine if they qualify for meal and hotel vouchers. United also gives customers real-time access to details like their flight number and gate, and a countdown clock to departure on their phone screen. Live activities without opening the application. The airline is also the only domestic airline to offer an in-app seat map facility for families who wish to book free seats for children below 12 years of age in their party (included in the basic economy fare).

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