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  • Mariane Bunn

How United Airlines uses AI to improve customer service

It shows the interior of an empty airplane with blue colour as predominant colour.

United Airlines employs a comprehensive tech system to ensure smooth operations, a system that passengers are largely unaware of. This includes a chatroom for gate agents and flight attendants to coordinate details like carry-on space and seating arrangements. Flight delays are communicated to passengers via text and the United app, often through AI-generated messages. Dispatchers globally monitor real-time data to comply with FAA regulations, and the airline recently introduced an AI customer service chatbot.

Jason Birnbaum, United's CIO since 2022, oversees a team responsible for the airline's technological advancements. With a background at GE and a significant role in launching United's AI/ML-based services, Birnbaum is focused on leveraging AI and moving services to the cloud to optimize operations and reduce costs. United has chosen AWS as its primary cloud provider, aiming to enhance developer productivity and system reliability while managing legacy systems and ensuring smooth transitions.

There's a flight attendant from United Airlines posing for the picture. She has dark skin and dark long hair. She is wearing United's uniform and a headset.

United's approach to AI includes generating explanations for flight delays and summarizing flight information for operations teams. The airline's chat system on its website now utilizes an AI agent, aiming to improve customer service and handle inquiries efficiently. Upcoming projects include "Get Me Close," which will offer passengers alternative travel options during delays, and exploring generative AI for pilot announcements and summarizing technical documents, all while maintaining a focus on customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

Source: TechCrunch


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