United Becomes First U.S. Carrier to Provide Boarding Passes for Partner Airlines Through App

A United Boeing 777-200 in Star Alliance colors departs from Chicago O’Hare (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Greg Linton)

Chicago-based United Airlines announced that a new enhancement to their mobile app will now allow customers to receive boarding passes when connecting with United’s airline partners.

The functionality, which no other U.S. carrier offers, aims to make connections with the airline more seamless and further enhances United’s award-winning app, which sees usage rate of 500 million times a year by passengers.

“As we continue to make improvements to the United app, we found that simply allowing our customers to access boarding passes for their entire itinerary within the same app made a big difference,” said Kate Gebo, United’s Chief Customer Officer.

“Our partnerships with Star Alliance carriers and other partner airlines can take our customers to over a thousand destinations around the world, and we’re excited to be the first US carrier to provide customers with this convenience when connecting to partners.”

Currently, boarding passes from 19 airlines can be retrieved through United’s app, including Star Alliance partners such as Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, EVA Airways, LOT, Lufthansa, SAS, and Thai Airways. Two non-Star Alliance partners, Azul and Cape Air, will also have their boarding passes on United’s app.

It is worth noting that not all boarding passes from Star Alliance partners are currently available in the app. These airlines include Air China, Air India, Avianca, Copa Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, and TAP Air Portugal. However, United has said that these remaining airline partners will be added in the near future.

While many airlines have been attempting to enhance their boarding pass functionality, the enhancements typically include boarding passes for flights operated by that airline and not through partner airlines.

Australian carriers, Qantas and Jetstar, recently expanded their mobile boarding pass offerings for Australia-New Zealand and Asia-Pacific flights, allowing passengers to receive boarding passes on their phones for immigration, security, and boarding.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines also recently announced that they will automatically check-in passengers through their mobile app, but passengers will still have to acknowledge the federal restrictions on banned items prompt that many people see when checking in.

There are, however, a few catches with United’s new functionality. United passengers will not have access to partner airlines’ boarding passes if the first leg of the trip is not on a United flight, meaning the functionality may not be available on some U.S.-bound itineraries.

Additionally, passengers on United’s Basic Economy product will not have access to the feature due to restrictions on Basic Economy passengers combining tickets with other airlines.

Akhil Dewan

Akhil Dewan

An “AvGeek” for most of his life, Akhil has always been drawn to aviation. If there is an opportunity to read about an airline, fly on a new airplane, or talk to anyone about aviation, he is on it. Akhil has been on over 20 different kinds of aircraft, his favorite being the MD-80. Additionally, he has visited 5 continents and plans to knock out the remaining two (Africa and Antarctica) soon. Based in Dallas, Akhil graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Management Information Systems and currently works in consulting. His dream is to become an airline executive.
Akhil Dewan