United’s mobile app has long been one of the best in the industry, and it’s getting even more useful with this new feature.

Beginning on Friday, March 22, travelers will be able to sign up for seat notifications if their preferred seat is not available at the time of booking, as confirmed by a United spokesperson.

When booking (or managing) a flight on the mobile app, you’ll be able to request your desired seat while browsing the seat map.

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For instance, if you’re booking just a few days before departure and only middle seats are left, you can set an alert to be notified if a window or aisle seat becomes available.


The app will also allow you to opt into notifications for exit rows and bulkhead (first-row) seats.

If your desired seat choice becomes available, the app will automatically notify you and prompt you to process the seat change.

United didn’t share how frequently it will check the seat map on your behalf or whether it would automatically switch you to your preferred seat if it became available.

Landing gear in the kitchen? Touring United’s renovated Chicago headquarters in the Willis Tower

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This new app feature will begin rolling out on Friday to a small group of customers, followed in the weeks ahead by a broader rollout to additional flyers. United didn’t share which travelers would be in the first tranche of eligible users, but we’ll update this story with some firsthand experiences when we get our hands on the feature.

For United travelers, however, this is a nifty new (and free) service that should incentivize more downloads and engagement with the app. United says that three million flyers use its app on a daily basis.

It’s also the latest feature that United has debuted to simplify the digital travel experience, building on initiatives such as Live Activities on the latest iPhone devices and a new all-in-one rebooking center for delays and cancellations.


As part of the news, United becomes the first and only U.S. airline to offer a seat preference feature.

For those booking tickets on other airlines, there are several third-party tools that can monitor your seat assignment and notify you if better seats become available.

This includes ExpertFlyer, which allows you to set seat alerts on most major airlines and sends email and text notifications when seats open up. (ExpertFlyer is owned by TPG parent company Red Ventures.)

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