Today in Apple history: iPad takes to the skies with United Airlines

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United Airlines iPad
If only they had known about the iPad Air...
Photo: United Airlines

23 Today in Apple history: United Airlines will issue iPads to pilots August 23, 2011: United Airlines says it will hand out 11,000 iPads for its pilots. It’s the largest rollout yet of Apple tablets as a replacement for the weighty flight bags previously carried by pilots.

Going paperless saves around 16 million sheets of paper each year, the equivalent of 1,900 trees not cut down. The weight difference between the 1.5-pound iPad and the 40-pound flight bag also saves 326,000 gallons of jet fuel per year!

United Airlines teams up with Apple for SFO makeover

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United
Apple spends a lot of money on United Airlines tickets.
Photo: United Airlines

San Francisco International Airport could soon get some serious tech upgrades thanks to Apple. The iPhone-maker is reportedly in discussions with United Airlines about giving the carrier’s SFO terminal a much-needed makeover.

The dangerous reason you still can’t make in-flight phone calls

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Boeing 777
A known hazard from using a cell phone on a flight will — at long last — be removed by the end of this year.
Photo: Boeing

Dozens of airplanes still have equipment subject to cellular phone interference. This is one of the reasons why iPhones and Androids have to be in airplane mode during flight. Fortunately, this danger will soon go away. The best-known cockpit system to have problems with cellular radios has to be replaced before the end of this year.

Does that mean in-flight phone calls will become part of travel?

Apple buys 50 business class seats to Shanghai every day

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United Airlines
A United Airlines flight attendant uses an iPhone.
Photo: United Airlines

Apple shells out a total of $35 million every year to buy 50 business class airline seats from San Francisco to Shanghai.

The numbers were shared by United Airlines, which revealed that Apple is the airline’s biggest customer at San Francisco International Airport. While Apple’s products are, famously, “designed by Apple in California,” the majority of its supply chain is based in China. Tim Cook has also talked about the importance of China as Apple’s second-biggest market.

Apple and IBM team up to develop United Airlines apps

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IBM
You could say that Apple and IBM's partnership has really... taken off!
Photo: Apple

Apple is teaming up with IBM and United Airlines to create new mobile apps for use by the airline’s front-line employees.

The apps will be designed for the roughly 50,000 Apple Watches, iPhones, and iPads that United Airlines has already issued to its flight attendants, gate agents, and other employees.

6,000 iPhones will upgrade United Airlines’ customer service

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United Airlines
iPhone 6 Plus is taking flight at United Airlines.
Photo: United Airlines

The iPad has helped airlines replace the outdated paper flight manuals pilots used to lug around. Now Apple’s first phablet is ready to help revolutionize the way United Airlines provides customer service.

United Airlines revealed today that it plans to distribute over 6,000 iPhone 6 Plus units to customer service representatives at its hubs across the US, as part of the company’s effort to give employees better tools to provide faster service.

United Airlines gives Newark terminal $120 million iPad makeover

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United Airlines is going all-in on the iPad. Photo: United Airlines
United Airlines is going all-in on the iPad. Photo: United Airlines

Newark International Airport is renounced for its habitually tardy flights, but in an effort to woo (and distract) flyers, United Airlines announced today that it’s planning to give its main terminal an iPad makeover.

The airline is investing $120 million into a upgrade of its main terminal at Newark, which consistently ranks as one of the worst airports in the country, despite being the 14th most busy. To spruce up the terminal, United plans to rollout iPads and other tech flourishes that have become an expectation among fliers now.

United Airlines To Provide Free In-Flight Entertainment For Apple Users

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United
Apple spends a lot of money on United Airlines tickets.
Photo: United Airlines

Rolling out in April, United Airlines will offer a special personal device entertainment system on-board select aircraft for people using the iPhone and iPad, running iOS 7.

Customers will be able to choose from more than 150 movies, and close to 200 TV shows, which they can access free of charge.

United Airlines Hands Out 11,000 iPads To Its Fleet Of Pilots

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The FAA forces us to turn off our electronics during takeoff and landing. Tell them you want that rule changed.
The FAA forces us to turn off our electronics during takeoff and landing. Tell them you want that rule changed.

Delta was the first U.S. airline to deploy the iPad, with 22 devices replacing weighty flight bags for a number of its pilots. Now United Airlines is also taking Apple’s device to the skies, but with a slightly larger roll-out that will see 11,000 of the tablets handed out to all United and Continental pilots.