United Sending Live Radar Maps to Travelers During Weather Delays

If you’ve ever had a flight delayed due to weather when it was clear and sunny outside, you were likely pretty confused. Some experienced travelers turn to websites like FlightAware to determine where their inbound aircraft is coming from but now passengers are getting an extra level of detail. United is now texting links to local, live radar maps during weather delays to give passengers as much information as possible during a delay.

United Airlines 767-300 N643UA at Newark Liberty International Airport
United travelers will now receive live radar maps via text when their flight is delayed due to weather.

The airline has used a dedicated team in years past to text customers with updates about their flights and the United app is by far the most detailed amongst U.S. carriers when it comes to reporting delays. I’ve received many of those texts through the years, including the use of their Connection Saver tool on a recent flight. The airline is now using gen AI to assist with these messages to travelers.

The latest innovation is the real time radar maps which allow passengers to see how bad weather in one part of the country may impact their flight. While the maps won’t make your delay go any faster it at least provides more information to travelers regarding the status of their trip.

Jason Birnbaum, United’s Chief Information Officer described the rationale behind the rollout:

“With more people traveling this summer than ever, we wanted to give our customers an easier way to stay connected to real-time information about their flight and texting was the simplest solution. 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.”

Jason Birnbaum, United CIO

The rollout of these new innovations couldn’t come at a better time for passengers. The airline plans to transport more than five million passengers between June 28th and July 8th in its busiest Fourth of July weekend on record. Also, Hurricane Beryl is barrelling towards the U.S./Mexico border which will no doubt have an impact on flights, including at their Houston Bush Intercontinental (IAH) hub.

If you’re curious as to how all of this works, United provided the following information in its press release:

  • Specialized customer service teams sit in the network operations center alongside the flight operations teams and tap gen AI to review flight data and write customer messages that tells the complete story of a flight change. These messages are sent to customers through text or email in an effort to provide more helpful and relevant information about why flight plans are changing.
  • During weather events, messages will include links to local, live radar maps showing weather details across flight paths. This helps customers stay informed on weather-related delays, including showing how weather in one part of the country can impact a flight elsewhere. Plus, customers on all flights can access links to weather maps in the United app under flight status updates, and United displays radar maps in the gate area when a flight has been delayed due to weather.
United Now Texts Live Radar Maps and Uses AI to Keep Travelers Informed During Weather Delays
United Now Texts Live Radar Maps and Uses AI to Keep Travelers Informed During Weather Delays (Photo: United)


United travelers will now receive live flight maps via text message when their flight is delayed due to weather. These maps are part of a larger push to provide travellers with more information when they are delayed during their trip.

As a frequent United flyer and someone who lives in an area of the country plagued by thunderstorms, I’m sure I’ll be getting one of these radar alert messages soon. Im curious as to whether anyone has already received one of these messages and, if so, did you find it helpful?

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