Chasing waterfalls in Laos - United Hub

Chasing waterfalls in Laos

By The Hub team, March 30, 2016

Sculptures in the Quirky Buddha Park Travel story and photos by: HNL City Ticket Office Agent, Dusty Loffarelli

I traveled to Laos back in October of 2006 and instantly fell in love with it! The food and people are awesome, the infrastructure is good and it's a small country so you will not get lost. I did a lot of awesome outdoor activities that did not require anything hard core, yet were very rewarding.

Luang Prabang (LPQ) is the best place to fly into or, alternatively, out of Laos. It is located in the top of the country, so everything else is south.

Luang Prabang is also located near the so-called "golden triangle," where Myanmar (formerly Burma), China and Laos all meet. You can usually travel in this area to have a taste of all three countries without a visa. However, it is rather touristy so prices and treatment may be likewise. The city is also the cultural capital of Laos and is easily the most visited.

South of Luang Prabang is a town called Vang Vieng. This is where the outdoor action really comes alive. You'll hear about a lot of trips down the famous Mekong River, but in Vang Vieng there is a tributary of it called the Nam Xong (pronounced "song"), which has some great water sports like rafting, tubing and rapids or tours, if you prefer. Also, this is where the Kaeng Nyui Waterfall is - which is awesome. It is really large and spread out all over a park-like setting. You can swim in many places here. I even climbed to the top, which takes several hours. In Vang Vieng you can also explore many caves located right off the river.

The south of Laos is also good but a bit farther out. It's great to explore if you continue on to Cambodia or Vietnam (which requires advance visa) or if you are doing a full Mekong River journey (I have done parts of the Mekong by boat, but I don't recommend the longer journeys unless you are on a high speed boat). Alternatively I've done some great bike trips along the Mekong to complement being on the water.

Overall, my experience was culturally beautiful and visually amazing. I never take for granted that our travel benefits are a privilege. For this, I am forever thankful.

*Travel tip for this trip: You can fly United into HKG (Hong Kong) and travel with Thai Airways, our Star Alliance partner, from HKG to LPQ.

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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