Behind the Scenes at Chicago O’Hare with United Airlines

Still one of the busiest airports in the world, Chicago O’Hare (ORD) is the origination, destination, or connection point for millions of passengers every year.  Several leaders at Fox World Travel were recently invited to spend the day with the United Airlines (UA) leadership team at ORD. It was a great insight into what goes on behind the scenes to ensure the customer experience while transiting ORD on UA remains best in class.


United remains the largest airline at ORD and consistently outperforms its competitors in key performance statistics. A look at the numbers:

On-time arrivals (into ORD within :14) 

  • UA over 2 full percentage points higher than the next closest airline
  • 2022 YTD

On-time departures (departure at scheduled departure time) 

  • UA over 5 full percentage points higher than the next closest airline
  • 2022 YTD

Completion Factor (ORD scheduled departures that actually departed) 

  • UA over 97% YTD


Clearly, a lot of hard work and planning have gone into these impressive performance statistics. And a lot of dedication to be the best.  And technology plays a role, which is evident in two recent UA enhancements at ORD.


In 2021, United launched “Agent-on-Demand” (AoD) at both Chicago O’Hare and Houston’s George Bush International airport.

  • Live help by talk, text, or video
  • Staffed by United customer service agents working from an airport
  • Request seat change, upgrade, or travel information
  • Rebook flights after service disruption
  • Accessible anywhere within 24 hours of travel
  • Text chat in 100+ languages
  • Access from the United App or scan a QR code in the airport with your mobile device
  • As of June 2022, AOD had taken over 1 million calls (from inception of program)
  • Summer 2022 has seen 4,500 calls per day
  • 72% of customers rated AoD demand experience as “Excellent”
  • 77% of customers prefer AoD vs waiting for a physical agent


Use of Connection Saver.  Launched in 2019 and available in all UA domestic hubs, Connection Saver automates the process of determining which flights to hold for connecting passengers, and then communicating that information to passengers to reduce their stress levels over their tight connections. The results have been quite impressive.  In 2021, over 762,000 passengers were assisted with the tool and YTD 2022 over 361,167 passengers have already been assisted.


United has also taken great strides in focusing on physical enhancements at ORD, from the check-in and gate areas, to lounge upgrades.  These enhancements include:


In addition to all these improvements implemented by United, travelers also need to understand the efforts at ORD to improve the runway situation.  Work was complete in 2021 on a major runway improvement program.  ORD used to have three pairs of parallel runways intersecting each other, a system that increased the risk of aircraft collision and was susceptible to weather disruptions.  Today, ORD has eight runways, six parallel to each other and two that run diagonally.  This new configuration has reduced delays by 65%, giving ORD one of the most capable runway networks of any civilian airport in the world. [Read More.]


Ultimately, all of this is great news for the traveler.  United has led the way with customer improvements at ORD, and in doing so is clearly looking out for their customers. Everyone at Fox World Travel thanks UA for taking care of our mutual customers!


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