United wants to help resolve issues for travelers by tapping into Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus could help alleviate headaches for travelers flying on United Airlines.
The airline said on Wednesday that it will hand out iPhone 6 Plus units to more than 6,000 customer service representatives. Slated to start sometime next year, the roll out will give reps the ability to help customers with travel-related issues at any location at any of United’s U.S.-based hubs.
For travelers, the initiative promises to take some of the stress out of checking in at the airport or making last-minute flight changes. Apple, meanwhile, furthers its cause of getting the iPhone, already widely popular among consumers, adopted as a tool for more businesses.
Agents equipped with an iPhone 6 Plus will be able to help customers who’ve already checked in with certain pre-flight tasks, such as printing boarding passes and baggage tags at any spot in the airport. The agents will also be able to assist travelers with different flight options and other more involved issues right on the spot.
Down the road, United representatives will be able to help travelers check in at airport lobbies and offer other options now available only at traditional kiosks.
“Our employees told us they needed better tools to serve our customers, especially during severe weather and busier travel times,” Jon Roitman, United’s senior vice president of airport operations, said in a press release. “We have seen great success with the custom-made tools on the iPhone 6 Plus and believe expanding the use of a smartphone device with other applications is a great investment in our employees.”
Released October of 2014, the iPhone 6 Plus was Apple’s first truly big-screened iPhone, outfitted with a 5.5-inch display. This past September, Apple rolled out the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus, both with the same screen sizes as their predecessors.
This isn’t the first time Apple has been called into action by United Airlines.
In December 2014, United announced that it would start doling out iPhone 6 Plus units to 23,000 flight attendants. Rolled out last June, the iPhones are used for onboard retail transactions as well as for access to an attendant’s business email, Intranet access and flight policies and manuals. In August 2011, United started exchanging the printed flight manuals used by its pilots with electronic versions stored on Apple’s iPad.
United is far from the only airline relying more on mobile devices. In August of 2013, flight attendants at Delta Airlines began using the Lumia 820 Windows Phone handset to help travelers make purchases on board using their credit cards.