United Airlines becomes the first airline to support Live Activities - here's what it does

Live Activities on United Airlines app
(Image credit: United Airlines)

If you're a frequent flyer with United Airlines and have an iPhone 14 Pro, then there's some good news for you.

Available in an update from the App Store as of today (May 22), it has become the first airline to feature Live Activities, which enables the app to show updates of your flight from the Dynamic Island on an iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Users who have other iPhones however, can check the same flight information on the lock screen where Live Activities can also be found.

The feature debuted with iOS 16.1 in October, where a bunch of apps, such as Uber have taken advantage of the feature as a great way of having glanceable information without going into the app itself.

With United Airlines being the first one in the U.S. to debut this, and with WWDC 2023 a few weeks away, we wonder if the feature will finally extend to iPadOS 17, and, hopefully, macOS 14.

How the new update works

United Airlines Live Activities

(Image credit: iMore)

Using Live Activities in the United Airlines app is a simple affair - once you've booked a flight and you're approaching the departure time, the feature will allow you to check the following:

  • Receive details such as the flight number, on-time status, inbound aircraft status, estimated departure and arrival times, and more in the Live Activities widget on the Lock Screen or the Dynamic Island when expanded.
  • Open a boarding pass directly from the Live Activity to easily scan during security check-in or while boarding the flight.
  • See departure and arrival gates, pre- and in-flight countdowns, and baggage carousel information right in Dynamic Island on iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

With school holidays rapidly approaching once again, it's great timing to see an update like this from an airline. It's a far cry from years past when you had to have print-outs of tickets and make sure you were close to a monitor at the airport to make sure if the flight was still on-time, or had been canceled.

Now though, it's simply a matter of glancing at the Dynamic Island or your iPhone's lock screen, and you know the status of your flight in an instant.

As WWDC 2023 approaches, we're hoping to see Live Activities appear on more of Apple's devices, such as the iPad and the Mac. Seeing these animated byte sizes of information would be very useful, especially for something like flights.

However, with United Airlines being one of the first in its industry to roll this feature out, we're also hoping to see other airlines do the same across the year.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.


Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.