On Tuesday, the airline announced that it has launched “Agent on Demand,” a virtual customer service program that’s currently available at Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Houston's George Bush International Airport.
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According to the announcement, passengers will be able to call, text or video chat live with a United Airlines agent for help with seat assignments, boarding times and other customer service questions.
Though “Agent on Demand” is only available in Chicago and Houston right now, the program will expand to United’s other airport hubs -- including Denver, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, New Jersey, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. -- by the end of the year.
"We know how important it is for our customers to have more options for a contactless travel experience and this tool makes it easy to quickly receive personalized support directly from a live agent at the airport while maintaining social distancing," Linda Jojo, United's executive vice president for technology and chief digital officer, said in a statement.
"Agent on Demand allows customers to bypass waiting in line at the gate and seamlessly connect with customer service agents from their mobile device, ensuring they continue to receive the highest levels of service while also prioritizing their health and safety,” Jojo added.
Passengers can access “Agent on Demand” by scanning a QR code that will be posted around United’s hub airports. There will also be self-service kiosks equipped for the program at some gates in the Chicago and Denver airports.
Once passengers are connected to an agent, they’ll be able to ask about anything they would normally ask a gate agent, without having to wait in line.
The program’s chat function is even able to translate more than 100 languages, so passengers “can type in their preferred language and the messages will be automatically transcribed in English for the agents and in the selected language for the customer,” the announcement said.