10 Ways United Wrapped Up a Stellar 2016 - United Hub

10 ways United wrapped up a stellar 2016

By The Hub team, December 27, 2016

If you thought United had a great year, you're in great company. From unveiling a jetbridge to what's next, to building a dream team, to putting new mobile devices in employees' hands and new coffee and snacks in the hands of our customers – we've had an amazing 2016.

As the clock winds down on this year, see below to read more about 10 ways we wrapped up a stellar 2016:

We have a jetbridge to what's next.

we have a jetbridge to what's next

Last month we told the world and our investors that we have all the right pieces to be the best airline in the world. We rolled out a strategy built on earning employee trust and elevating leadership, running the industry's most reliable operation, creating the world's leading network, delivering a highly competitive and profitable customer experience, powering our business through technology and building our future through financial strength. We have the right strategy, the right leadership team and the world's greatest employees, which will make us the best airline in the world.

We built a dream team.

we built a dream team

CEO Oscar Munoz returned from his heart transplant reenergized and ready to help us soar on the wings of this new spirit of United. We have begun turning promise into proof as the team has focused on restoring trust and re-earning the loyalty of our employees and customers. We started with an impressive team of industry veterans: EVP and General Counsel Brett Hart, EVP and Chief Operations Officer Greg Hart, EVP and Chief Information Officer Linda Jojo, Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Mike Bonds and SVP Finance, Procurement and Treasurer Gerry Laderman. To the mix, we added President Scott Kirby and EVP and Chief Financial Officer Andrew Levy, and EVP and Chief Commercial Officer Julia Haywood, bringing a powerful combination of industry perspective and experience to our leadership team.

We're all pulling on the same end of the rope.

we're all pulling on the same end of the rope

In one year, we reached agreements with all domestic unionized employee groups: the Air Line Pilots Association, Association of Flight Attendants, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Association of Machinists and Professional Airline Flight Control Association. We're now able to work together as an airline that is truly united as a team.

We keep getting better.

we keep getting better

We had our best-ever Thanksgiving operational performance, despite having the highest load factor and more weather delays than any other Thanksgiving timeframe in the last six years. It's no wonder that employees have achieved 12 months in a row of performance bonuses and a record number of no-cancellation days.

It's amazing what snacks and a great cup of coffee can do.

it's amazing what snacks and a great cup of coffee can do

Customers are once again enjoying free snacks on board after we brought them back to our flights in February with the delicious Stroopwafel. And award-winning illy coffee is gracing the skies on every United and United Express flight.

We're keeping the Beat.

we're keeping the beat.

Our new customer satisfaction score is called United Beat, and we get it from a survey that's shorter, more focused and mobile-friendly. It measures the percentage of satisfied customers and will help us make informed decisions about when and where to act to improve the customer experience. We also named Kate Gebo our chief customer officer, with responsibility for all of our customer-facing teams from booking to landing, including Contact Centers, Customer Experience, Food Services, Inflight Services and Airport Operations. Together we're working to take United to new heights of customer service delivery.

From Terracotta Warriors to the charm of Old Havana, we're connecting the world.

From Terracotta Warriors to the charm of Old Havana, we're connecting the world.

We launched several new international routes to Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, including new service to Havana; Hangzhou and Xi'an in China; Auckland, New Zealand; Singapore; and Tel Aviv.

We've placed 50,000 mobile devices in our employees' hands.

We've placed 50,000 mobile devices in our employees' hands.

Our flight attendants can use their LINK devices to process Economy Plus upsells, customer service representatives can use their Mobile Agent Platform for in-the-moment customer care, and ramp service employees are using new SmartScan technology to scan bags in real time using Wi-Fi or cellular data to ensure we're following bags from the bag room to departure to arrival to transfer to the claim area.

Two words: Rio Olympics.

Two words: Rio Olympics.

We took pride in flying the US Olympic and Paralympic Teams to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, where Simone Biles, Michael Phelps and so many other athletes stole our hearts with dramatic, gold-medal performances. From employee volunteers to Olympic-level sendoff events, we celebrated our more than 35 year partnership with Team USA.

From price-sensitive to posh, we're reimagining the customer experience.

From price-sensitive to posh, we're reimagining the customer experience.

To serve a broad customer base, we're rolling out Basic Economy for those seeking ultra-low airfares. For intercontinental travelers, we rolled out our most significant product transformation in more than a decade in United Polaris, featuring a reimagined, sleep-enhancing experience that puts the legacy of the weary intercontinental business traveler to bed for good. It features Custom-designed bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue, luxe spa products, an elevated dining experience and an exclusive portfolio of United Polaris business class lounges – the Chicago United Polaris Lounge is the only lounge of its kind offered by a U.S. airline to business class customers.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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