United Now Lets You Check In for Partner Airline Segments With Its App

United’s app isn’t aesthetically clean or intuitively designed, but I’ve never been much for form over function. I find it much more useful than many other apps, especially American’s. This is surprising in many ways because I find the SHARES passenger service system that United uses to be significantly behind competitor platforms.

United just announced a new improvement to their app. When you’re traveling on United and connecting onto one of 19 airline partners you’ll be able to check-in for the downline partner and receive a boarding pass for the partner airline’s flight segment all inside their app.

Here are the supported partners:

There are several Star Alliance airlines not supported: Air China, Singapore, Air India, Avianca, Copa, EgyptAir, Ethiopian, Juneyao Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal. Interestingly it’s not just Star partners on the list — Azul and Cape Air are supported.

Since Shenzhen Airlines is included I think we can assume Air China’s exclusion isn’t government/regulatory in nature. Star partners with the worst tech (like Air India) and that are the biggest basket cases (South African Airways) are unsurprisingly not supported. And partners with the worst relationships with United (Singapore) as well.

United says they’ll be adding support for additional partners going forward.

We’ll see how each partner handles the United mobile app boarding passes in practice. I frequently find that partner airlines want to reprint even paper boarding passes issued by another airline. Nonetheless it’s a nice improvement to know that a boarding pass has been pulled for the partner segment and that you’re checked in for that flight, and to be able to do it without visiting the ticket counter at your point of departure.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I recently flew on a United mileage ticket pek-wnz-pvg-gum-tkk-pni. The first two legs were on Air China. When in Beijing, Air China could not check me in for their own flight for the second leg wnz-pvg (connection in wnz 55 mins) and told me I had to check in in wnz in person. This could only be done outside security, I had to leave and reclear during my short connection, from airchina to airchina, domestic to domestic.

    I was able to check in for the United segment (pvg-gum) and generate the boarding pass via the app, but in pvg I had to go to the counter to have it printed as security would not let me through with just the boarding pass on my phone.

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