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updated: 8/7/2014 4:23 PM

United's app now includes passport scanning for quicker check-in

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  • United Airlines has updated its mobile app to provide a new feature, the ability to scan your passport about 24 hours before your scheduled departure.

      United Airlines has updated its mobile app to provide a new feature, the ability to scan your passport about 24 hours before your scheduled departure.
    COURTESY OF UNITED AIRLINES

  • United Airlines has updated its mobile app to provide a new feature, the ability to scan your passport about 24 hours before your scheduled departure.

      United Airlines has updated its mobile app to provide a new feature, the ability to scan your passport about 24 hours before your scheduled departure.
    COURTESY OF UNITED AIRLINES

  • United Airlines has updated its mobile app to provide a new feature, the ability to scan your passport about 24 hours before your scheduled departure.

      United Airlines has updated its mobile app to provide a new feature, the ability to scan your passport about 24 hours before your scheduled departure.
    COURTESY OF UNITED AIRLINES

 
 

While 13 million customers have already downloaded the United Airlines app, they likely have found a new feature on it this week. Users can now scan their passports to check in for their international flights at least 24 hours before their scheduled departure.

Users can update their app, or download the entire app with the passport scanning function. There is no fee associated with the mobile passport scanning.

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It also offers a high level of security through a third-party service. But it is still in a testing phase, said United Spokesman Charles Hobart. Chicago-based United has some operations in Elk Grove Township.

"We're collecting feedback now to help improve it," Hobart said. "But so far we've been getting a lot of positive comments."

Users can access the passport scanning feature, line up their passport by the green line they'll see on their smartphone, and then take the image, he said.

United Airlines' local engineers have been working on the new feature for the last 6 weeks, based on what customers have requested, Hobart said.

In addition to the app improvements, United said it will overhaul its website, United.com, later this year to make it simpler and easier to use. It also will be more consistent with its other customer technology, including the app and the airport kiosks.

"They won't be linked together, but will have the same look and feel as the website," Hobart said.

Surfing: AT&T, which has its Midwest headquarters in Hoffman Estates, said its has expanded its U-verse to about 7,700 local customer locations. More than 122,000 customer locations were added across AT&T's wireline territory in the same month. A large amount of the local growth, about 900 customer locations, took place in Bartlett during June. Customer locations also were added in more than 20 other area towns and neighborhoods, including significant numbers in Chicago, Naperville, Carpentersville, Wheaton and Channahon, the company said.

Comcast, which has its Midwest headquarters in Schaumburg, will include up to six months of complimentary service for any new family that has not yet applied for Internet Essentials. The program is for eligible low-income families for about $10 a month. The usual price is around $45 a month. Families who are approved for Internet Essentials now through Sept. 20 will receive up to six months of Internet service. Since 2011, Comcast's broadband adoption program has connected more than 350,000 families, or about 1.4 million low-income Americans, to the power of the Internet.

• The Shedd Aquarium now has an updated website at www.sheddaquarium.org. Visitors can create custom itineraries to include the Shedd's 4-D Experience screenings and the One World aquatic show. After planning their trip, visitors can purchase advance tickets, allowing them to avoid lone ticket lines upon arrival.

• Follow Anna Marie Kukec on LinkedIn and Facebook and as AMKukec on Twitter. Write to her at akukec@dailyherald.com.

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