Travel Technology

United’s New Website Is, Well, New, Yet Also Familiar

United this week launched a beta version of its new website. It’s derivative, but still a step in the right direction. Have a look!

United’s website redesign has been in the works for ages. And it’s now in beta. Which means that looky-loos can finally have a look-see.

And, well, yes, it’s new alright, at least for United. But your first impression is likely to be tinged with deja-vu. Because, although it’s a significant departure from the old website, it’s also somehow familiar.

Those big, square mono-colored navigation icons? If you’ve worked with Microsoft Windows 8, you’ve seen them before. And the overall look and feel? Very Delta-like, no? (United shamelessly copied Delta’s new-for-2015 revenue-based loyalty program, so it’s no surprise that United would look to Delta for best practices in other areas as well.)

United’s press release characterizes the new design as “sleek, modern and touch-friendly.” That’s accurate. Clearly the goal was an interface that lends itself to the smaller scale of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Among the promised functionality improvements are the following:

  • Robust searches with filtering and sorting options
  • Pricing search results display 15-day booking window
  • Upgrade availability viewable for all United flights
  • Customizable widgets (upcoming trips, saved searches, etc.)

United is quick to advise that the final design, with full functionality, won’t be launched until this summer. A final evaluation will have to wait until then. But so far, it looks like United is headed in the right direction. And hey, what’s a little plagiarism among Fortune 500 companies, if it’s for a good cause.

Reader Reality Check

What would you like to see in a new website design from United?

This article originally appeared on

By Tim Winship

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

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