11 Tourist Traps that Are Actually Worth Visiting - United Hub
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11 tourist traps that are actually worth visiting

By The Hub team , November 23, 2016

You travel to see the world, not to wait in three-hour lines to make it to the top of an overpriced observatory deck. That said, certain proverbial “tourist traps" are totally worth the time, money and proximity to sweaty, disgruntled teen tours. Here are 11 of them.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon

Moyan Brenn/Flickr

The Grand Canyon (Arizona)

You could visit the Grand Canyon 100 times and always walk away feeling completely awestruck. While the South Rim draws almost 90 percent of tourists for its breathtaking vistas, and it shouldn't be missed, you can escape the crowds by also venturing to the North Rim's less frequented trails.

Statue of Liberty, New York

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Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty (New York)

Look, New Yorkers--we'll forgive you for avoiding the overpriced Empire State Building observation deck. But a trip to Ellis Island and Liberty Island is a must. The place is full of history, and you can even scan the books and try to find your family name among the 12 million immigrants who passed through from 1892 to 1954.

Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo

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Tsukiji Fish Market (Tokyo)

We're always wary of places deemed the “number-one, must-see spot" in any given city. But Japan's largest fish market is 100 percent worth it. Go at 5 a.m. to see the live bluefin tuna auctions, where the best-looking, biggest fish sell for unthinkable prices. Before you leave, make sure to grab a traditional sushi breakfast.

The White House in Washington D.C.

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The White House (Washington, D.C.)

OK, it might sound obvious, but no trip to the nation's capital is complete without a visit to what is possibly the most important political site in America. Arranging a self-guided tour through the White House takes a little effort (in fact, you have to submit a request through your congressman). But the experience is well worth the extra legwork, and hey, how many people can say they went to the president's house?

Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

Steve Simmonds/Flickr

Anne Frank House (Amsterdam)

If you're going to do just one educational activity in Amsterdam, let it be a visit to the secret annex where the Frank family hid during WWII. The exhibits, videos and commentary are exceptionally well done, and you can even skip the massive lines by buying your tickets in advance.

Sacre Coeur/Montmartre in Paris

Marc Biarnès/Flickr

Sacré Coeur/Montmartre (Paris)

Perched atop Montmartre hill on the fringes of the city, Sacré Coeur basilica offers one of the most postcard-perfect, panoramic views of Paris. Climb about 200 winding stairs to the dome, and see the 21 arrondissements sprawl out before you.

Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro

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Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro)

Watching over Rio from the top of Corcovado Mountain, Christ the Redeemer stands 125 feet tall with arms wide open. Getting to the iconic sculpture is an adventure on its own--pick a clear day to take the scenic tram ride 700 meters above sea level, through the lush Tijuca rainforest to the top of the mountain.

Alcatraz in San Francisco

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Alcatraz (San Francisco)

Alcatraz is one of the rare attractions that both locals and tourists can enjoy. The ferry ride over, offering sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and mainland San Francisco, is impressive all on its own.But the real reason to go is to see the prison where Al "Scarface" Capone and Robert Stroud (the so-called Birdman of Alcatraz) once served time.

Angkor Wat in Cambodia

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Angkor Wat (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Cambodia's most iconic temple, Angkor Wat, is sacred in both Hinduism and Buddhism. But religion aside, this relic of the 9th- to 15th-century Khmer Empire is one of the most incredible architectural accomplishments of ancient times. You could spend an entire day exploring the moats, towers, forests and intricate details that surround it.

The Great Wall of China

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The Great Wall of China (Beijing)

Sure, you'll be walking with thousands of sweaty people on any given day, but there's a reason why the Great Wall is one of the world's most visited destinations. The 5,500-mile granite, brick and stone wall was built mostly by hand, with some portions dating back to 770 B.C. Head to the restored section at Mutianyu (about 45 miles outside of central Beijing) for a less crowded experience.

The Blue Lagoon in Iceland

Chris Ford/Flickr

The Blue Lagoon (Iceland)

Don't go expecting your own personal hot tub, but the Blue Lagoon--a 40-minute drive from downtown Reykjavík--is pretty incredible. The geothermal pool, set on a lava field, is bubbling with rich minerals believed to help a variety of skin ailments. Even durling Icelandic winter when the days are cold, dark and short, the teal, thermal water feels like dream and illuminates the otherworldly landscape.

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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.

Humbly,

Oscar

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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