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.
For travelers awaiting some of the tardiest departures in the U.S., United Airlines is offering a diversion via shopping and dining orders from an iPad. New Jersey’s Newark Liberty International Airport, which consistently scores toward the bottom of U.S. on-time rankings, is getting a $120 million upgrade in United’s main terminal. The carrier is rolling out Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s signature tablets and other flourishes, following similar facelifts at New York’s airports, as it competes for loyal business fliers. As airlines strip out inflight perks while packing more people on planes, United’s efforts show how carriers are trying to set themselves apart on the ground. By 2015, every restaurant and gate seat in United’s Terminal C will have an iPad, letting travelers get flight updates, browse the web, buy food and make retail purchases with a 15-minute delivery guarantee. “It’s really become an expectation in society today to have these amenities,” said Alan Bender, professor of aeronautics, airline management and economics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. “U.S. carriers are catching up to where they should be for their passengers, especially for their business passengers, and most especially for their international business passengers.”