My masterclass experience with United Airlines: a seamless blend of digital and physical touchpoints

by Cale Maxwell, CEO

When planning a trip, the excitement often starts with booking your flights. Although my travel agent handled the booking, my digital journey with United Airlines began a week before departure, and it was a beautiful showcase of a powerful blend of technology and customer service that we advocate for at LEVO.

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The first touchpoint was an email from United, which was not just a confirmation, but a comprehensive travel checklist. This checklist included everything from arrival documentation to baggage limits, and introduced me to the United mobile app. The app would soon prove to be my control room for the trip.

As the departure day approached, United's communication shifted to SMS and app notifications. The transition was seamless. Twenty-four hours before my flight, I received a reminder to check-in, which I completed effortlessly through the app. The forms were simple and straightforward, ideal for an international traveller like myself.

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Once registered, the app became central to my trip management. It allowed me to:

  • Check in and manage my itinerary,
  • Receive real-time updates about flight changes,
  • View detailed information about my flights, including the status of the inbound aircraft,
  • Communicate directly with United agents.

On the day of departure, a timely SMS confirmed that my flight was on schedule, provided the gate number, and reminded me of my confirmation number—just as I was en route to the airport in an Uber. The timing was perfect.

Arriving at the airport, I used the digital boarding pass from the app to check in and drop off my bags in under three minutes. The app had cleverly collected all necessary paperwork the day before. As I headed to customs, another SMS thanked me for checking my bags and provided a tracking link and a digital copy of my bag tag numbers.

As boarding time neared, another message informed me that boarding was ready. The United app kept me updated with badges on my iPhone, counting down to boarding, and reminding me of my seat number once on board. Even during a flight delay in Sydney, the app kept me informed about my connecting flights, and I could chat with a United agent to make necessary adjustments.

Seconds after landing, the app prompted me for feedback, completing a circle of continuous digital engagement that complemented the physical experience beautifully. Throughout the trip, United's digital tools took care of administrative tasks, allowing their staff to focus on customer service and ensuring a smooth, enjoyable travel experience.


Highlights of the experience:

  1. The badge showed by boarding group and seat number along with a real-time countdown timer to the boarding time.
  2. Easy access to my boarding pass.
  3. Gate number and an indicator as to whether the flight is still scheduled to depart on time.
  4. Regular SMS communication throughout my travel experience. Sometimes this felt a little overkill however if you were without internet connectivity for whatever reason it meant that you didn’t miss any communications.
  5. Real time status throughout the flight. The integration between the app and the flight monitor was really neat.
  6. My arrival gate number so that I could orient myself with my arrival gate and where my next connecting flight was. The app also contained detailed maps of all the airports so that you could see how far away each gate was.
  7. As soon as a baggage carousel was allocated your app updated – no more trying to find your flight on the airport monitors.
  8. The app also included a seat map which allowed you to view a 3D visual of the seat position.
  9. Throughout the flight your arrival time was kept updated. We were late leaving Sydney and this was updated multiple times throughout the flight as we were issued landing spots at LAX.
  10. The app included a chat facility where you could engage with a United consultant for any reason throughout the flight. I was unsure whether my baggage was checked through to Miami or whether I needed to collect it at LAX so used this during the flight. The agent asked for my checked baggage ID, which was sent via SMS after check in and promptly advised me that I needed to collect my bagged at LAX, but from there it would be checked through to Miami.
  11. The notification badge showed your gate number and countdown time until you are due to board. After you had scanned into the flight at the boarding gate it then showed your seat number and the countdown time until departure and then countdown time until you land.

This experience underscored the potential of technology to enhance physical experiences—a principle we hold dear at LEVO. We strive to integrate effective technology with genuine human interaction, much like United Airlines did on my trip. Our team of psychology graduates, marketers, and content managers works tirelessly to ensure that our digital experiences enrich the human aspects of each interaction with your brand or business.

United Airlines provided a masterclass in blending digital prowess with exceptional customer service, mirroring our philosophy at LEVO, where we use technology to enhance, not overshadow, the human experience.

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