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Massive Crowds After Flight Delays and Cancellations Are Chaotic For Passengers. United Airlines Is Trying to Fix That.

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Perhaps the only thing worse than an unplanned flight delay or cancellation is the chaos that tends to ensue after the flight disruption is announced, often causing mass hysteria and massive crowds of disgruntled passengers rushing to get in line to speak to an agent.

Now, United Airlines thinks it has the solution for curbing the chaos.

The company announced on Thursday that it will begin rolling out mobile vouchers for hotels and food for stranded travelers in hopes that sending the documents digitally will cut down on time spent in lines.

“The more we can help the people who are technically savvy, the more we can take the time to help folks who are not technically savvy,” said Linda Jojo chief customer office for United, per CNBC. “You’re already stressed out. We don’t want you to wait in line.”

Jojo did not specify when the new mobile vouchers would roll out.

The airline offers meal vouchers if a flight is delayed by over three hours for a number of circumstances but does not provide them if the delay is caused by weather. Hotel vouchers are issued to passengers who must stay overnight due to a delay or cancellation.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, 2.69% to 2.71% of total flights were canceled in 2022, the highest rate in a decade. The agency maintained that most cancellations were due to weather and understaffed airlines.

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby told CNN in January that the air travel industry was extremely stressed, noting that several new pressures have cropped up since the end of the pandemic.

“Across the board, there are strains in the system,” Kirby said. “Aircraft manufacturers delivering, having enough pilots and all of those stresses and strains means that the system is tighter.”

The airline was up over 44% in a one-year period as of Thursday afternoon.

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