7 Steps United Is Taking to Shorten Your TSA Wait - United Hub
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7 steps United is taking to shorten your TSA wait

By Ryan Hood, May 24, 2016

We know TSA security lines have never been the highlight of your travels, but recently, that step of the journey has become particularly frustrating due to unacceptably long wait times through the passenger and baggage screening process.

We are working with the TSA every day, and have been for the past several months, to help them address the longer-than-normal wait times at airport security checkpoints, including supporting the initiatives TSA recently announced.

At United, your safety and security — and that of our employees — remains and always will be our number one priority. While we encourage you to allow plenty of time in your travel schedules, particularly during the upcoming, always-bustling summer travel season, here are seven important steps we're taking to help get you through security in a timely manner and on your way.

1. More hands on deck

In an effort to get you through security faster, we are redeploying some of our employees at our hubs to help manage wait lines and perform other non-screening tasks. On top of the $11 million we spent on support from service partners, we've spent $4 million to provide additional assistance from our service partners at several locations around the system, including at our hubs in Chicago, Newark and Houston. These partners are assisting with non-screening tasks at the security checkpoints and bag screening areas. This is an investment in you, because the wait times are unacceptable.

2. Volunteers are on the way

Employees from our Corporate Support Center in Chicago are volunteering to assist their co-workers at the airports and improve the travel experiences by helping better prepare you for the security process. Volunteers will be on hand at O'Hare International Airport Thursday, May 26 and Friday, May 27 to provide basic assistance in the lobby and terminal area by giving directions and answering questions to expedite the security process for Memorial Day travel. This is an extension of an already-existing program and we are looking to expand it further.

3. Staying in the loop

We are partnering with and strengthening communication with TSA on a local level at each airport to provide a more efficient deployment of resources to help alleviate wait times.

4. Operational flexibility

To help you in case you do get stuck in a long line, in certain situations we will hold a flight to allow you extra time to go through security. We will balance this with running a reliable operation as we know this is a priority for all of you. Additionally, we may have our employees 'prioritize' the security line for those of you whose flights are soon to depart.

5. Ensuring you have your belongings

Working with TSA, we have developed baggage processes to meet all security and safety requirements, with a focus on ensuring you receive your bags in a timely manner. This has supported record-setting baggage performances in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Washington, D.C. and Newark.

6. Innovative checkpoints

With checkpoint redesign projects underway across our system, we are working with TSA to make sure we take advantage of the latest innovative checkpoint technology.

  • We are in the process of consolidating our three checkpoints in Newark into one new, centralized checkpoint. This will allow for additional lanes and a much better process for you.
  • We have redesigned checkpoints in Chicago to create more room for you.
  • Our new checkpoint in Los Angeles is under construction. Once complete, this will be a dramatic improvement in your overall experience.
  • We are engaged with TSA on a long-term project to alleviate wait times in Denver.

7. Enroll in TSA PreCheck

We are installing TSA PreCheck enrollment centers at each of our U.S. hub airports and other key locations to make it more convenient for you to enroll. Please visit TSA PreCheck for more information. Enrollment costs $85 and is valid for five years.

All of us here at United have never been more focused on ensuring you have a comfortable and reliable journey. We look forward to welcoming you on board soon. Visit united.com to book your next trip.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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