United Airlines Aims to Entice Travellers with iPad Rollout

New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport is getting a $120 million upgrade in United Airlines’ main terminal. According to a report by Bloomberg, the airlines is planning to offer its travellers a diversion via shopping and dining orders using iPads, following similar facelifts at New York’s airports as it competes for loyal business fliers.

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United says that by next year, every restaurant and gate seat in United’s Terminal C will have an iPad, letting travelers get flight updates, browse the web, buy food and make retail purchases with a 15-minute delivery guarantee. While sitting in Newark’s Terminal C, Deborah Dulaney, who was passing through Newark en route to Allentown, said “In some airports that are very modern, you’ll see a lot of artwork, a lot of modern sculptures, some interactive things to do. This is just nondescript.”

“It’s really become an expectation in society today to have these amenities,” said Alan Bender, professor of aeronautics, airline management and economics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “U.S. carriers are catching up to where they should be for their passengers, especially for their business passengers, and most especially for their international business passengers.”

New York City’s airports are particularly important because carriers make a disproportionate amount of profit from business fliers’ frequent, high-fare trips, and New York is the world’s business capital, Bender said in a telephone interview.

According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Newark ranks 26 out of 29 U.S. facilities in on-time takeoffs.

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