5 Things You Didn't Know About Customer Service Reps - United Hub
customer service reps

5 things you didn't know about customer service reps

By The Hub team, November 10, 2016

Take a look into the world of customer service reps

Have you ever wondered what customer service reps are looking at on their computer screens, what they use the intercom for or what's it like to drive the jet bridge? Read on to find out.

Gate Agents at Chicago O'Hare Airport

1. Customer service reps do much more than scan your boarding pass.

Our CSRs scan thousands of boarding passes a day, but they do so much more than that. They are our representatives in the terminal ensuring your trip runs as smoothly as possible every step of the way. The knowledge they possess of flights and airports across the country and around the world is second to none. If you miss a flight, CSRs turn on their incredible critical thinking skills, pouring through hundreds of flights and destinations to get you where you need to go as soon as possible.

Customer Service Representative's Computer Screen

2. What's on their computer screens?

You may have seen your CSR looking intently at a screen at the United ticket counter and wondered what they were doing. Our CSRs are constantly confirming and updating details related to your flight and the flights around it. From seating arrangements onboard to weather patterns, CSRs have an incredible amount of information at their disposal. And of course, CSRs are also responsible for the final manifest which informs the pilot and crew of everyone who is on their flight.

Customer Service Representative's company mobile device

3. CSRs get their own personal technology

In addition to the swiveling computer screens they use to manage many aspects of the flight boarding and seating process, CSRs are also equipped with a company-issued mobile device. Their smart phones are loaded with apps and tools that allow CSRs to assist customers on the go — everything from seating service to meal service — without having to be behind a desk.

Customer Service Representative on Intercom

4. What's going on when a CSR calls a passenger over the intercom? It's actually not what you think

This is one we've all heard at the airport: a CSR calling out the name of a passenger on the intercom to let them know their flight is nearing the end of boarding. What you may not know is that CSRs also call out people who are checked-in on an international flight, but haven't boarded. This is because baggage cannot travel outside the country if a passenger doesn't make their flight. If a person is unable to board their international flight, CSRs must inform the ground crew to remove that person's luggage from the aircraft for security reasons.

5. CSRs have to be certified to drive the jet bridge

If you've ever flown on a plane, you've also used a jet bridge. But did you know that planes don't move to meet the jet bridge? Instead the jet bridge moves to meet the planes once they are parked at the gate. That means somebody has to steer this giant walkway. In addition to taking your tickets, CSRs also navigate the jet bridge into position to allow passengers to board and de-board flights. It might seem easy but it's really no walk in the park — CSRs not only need to be certified but also retrained on the jet bridge throughout their career.

Jessica Kimbrough named Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By The Hub team, July 10, 2020

Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.

Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.

In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.

"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."

As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.

Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.

Jessica's new role is effective immediately.

United Cargo and logistics partners keep critical medical shipments moving

By The Hub team, July 02, 2020

By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.

United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.

Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.

A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.

United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Celebrating Juneteenth

By United Airlines, June 18, 2020

A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group

Fellow United team members –

Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.

Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.

Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.

Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."

Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.

To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.

Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.

Thank you,

UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)

Leadership Team

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