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.

Reflecting on Veterans Day: a message from our CEO Oscar Munoz

By Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines , November 11, 2019

Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.

When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.

They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.

I want them to look no further than United Airlines.

That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.

They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.

That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.

We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.

We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.

We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.

As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.

Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.

They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.

Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.

Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.

Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.

But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.

We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.

It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.

On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.



United named a top workplace for veterans

By The Hub team , November 10, 2019

Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.

"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.

"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."

Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.

Mission Accomplished

By Matt Adams , November 06, 2019

The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.

Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.

Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.

Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.

"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."

When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.

For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.

Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.

That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.

"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."

The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.

About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.

"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."

When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.

"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."

On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.

"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."

For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.

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