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United Airlines Gifts 30,000 Bonus Miles to Passengers Affected by Recent Flight Disruptions

The Mileage Plus miles can be utilized for various services, including flights, Wi-Fi, onboard food and drinks, and seat upgrades.
UPDATED JAN 22, 2024
Cover Image Source: Pexels/Marina Hinic
Cover Image Source: Pexels/Marina Hinic

United Airlines, one of the leading airlines in the United States, has taken a proactive step to address the inconvenience faced by its customers during recent flight disruptions. The airline announced that it would be offering 30,000 complimentary miles to passengers severely impacted by the disruptions.

In an email obtained by FOX Business on July 1, the company said this gesture aims to compensate affected customers and provide them with additional benefits for future travel.

Image Source: Pexels/Pixabay
Image Source: Pexels/Pixabay

Compensating Disrupted Passengers

The 30,000 complimentary Mileage Plus miles provided by United Airlines can be utilized for various services, including flights, Wi-Fi, onboard food and drinks, and seat upgrades. The airline acknowledges the difficulties faced by its customers who experienced delays extending to the following day or were unable to reach their final destination on flights scheduled between June 24 and June 30, 2023. United Airlines plans to send a subsequent email outlining the procedure for redeeming the free miles.

Acknowledging the Challenges

About 47% of United's mainline schedule arrived late and 15% of flights were canceled from June 24 through to July 2, per CNBC. Nearly 900 United flights were delayed on Sunday (July 2). The recent disruptions faced by United Airlines were attributed to a combination of factors. In the email regarding the complimentary miles, the airline mentioned "really bad weather, air traffic control issues, and some of our own operational challenges" as the causes of the rough experience encountered by many customers. CEO Scott Kirby addressed the disruptions in a memo to employees, emphasizing the severe weather conditions near the airline's hub at Newark Liberty International Airport and the subsequent limitations on flight operations.

Thunderstorms in the New York City area resulted in thousands of flight cancellations and delays, leaving aircraft and crews scattered and out of position.

Image Source: Pexels/Ana Benet
Image Source: Pexels/Ana Benet

Preventing Future Disruptions

In response to the recent challenges, CEO Scott Kirby outlined several steps that United Airlines intends to take to prevent similar disruptions in the future. These measures include improving crew technology, securing additional gates at Newark Liberty International Airport, and modifying the flight schedule at the airport. Kirby also emphasized the need for enhanced collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to find long-term solutions to staffing and operational issues. By prioritizing these improvements and working closely with the FAA, United Airlines aims to minimize disruptions and provide a smoother travel experience for its customers.

Image source: Pexels/
LT Chan
Image source: Pexels/ LT Chan

Holiday Travel Considerations

The flight disruptions occurred during the week leading up to the Fourth of July holiday weekend, traditionally a busy period for travel in the United States. AAA projected that more than 4.17 million people would travel by airplane, with an additional 46 million individuals opting for other modes of transportation. The demand for air travel during this period was evident, with over 10.7 million passengers passing through Transportation Security Administration (TSA) security checkpoints in the past four days alone. Notably, June 30 saw a staggering 2.88 million travelers, surpassing the previous year's figures for the same date.


United's CEO Scott Kirby was recently criticized for taking a private jet to Denver from New Jersey while thousands of passengers remained stranded after 750 flights were canceled that day, per The Associated Press reports. Kirby later admitted that his action was 'insensitive' and added, "I sincerely apologize to our customers and our team members who have been working around the clock for several days— often through severe weather—to take care of our customers," per Insider.

By gifting this loyalty program (the 30,000 complimentary miles), United Airlines seeks to compensate customers for their disrupted travel plans and offer them additional benefits for future journeys. With record-breaking travel anticipated for the Fourth of July weekend, airlines will continue to face challenges, but United Airlines' proactive approach sets a positive example for the industry as a whole.