United Airlines is now texting customers with links to local, live radar maps during weather delays, as part of its effort to give travelers as much real-time information as possible about their trip, especially if things don’t go as planned.

For the past few years, the airline has used dedicated teams to write and send text messages to customers that give near-instantaneous details about a given flight — everything from gate changes and boarding times to more specifics regarding aircraft swaps, crew rescheduling and weather events — and the teams now use generative artificial intelligence (gen AI) tools to assist in giving more travelers real-time updates during flight delays.

The latest innovation — real-time radar maps — can help customers understand how inclement weather in one part of the country can impact a flight elsewhere. United said it is the first and only US airline currently providing its customers with these kinds of specific messages, and the airline is sending them with assistance from gen AI tools.

Jason Birnbaum, United's chief information officer, said, “We know customers appreciate transparency, and by combining innovative technology-enabled tools with people power, we can give more people even more in-the-moment details about their flight.”

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