Employees tour retro aircraft before its final flight
By chance, Chicago O'Hare 777 First Officer Kim Kuyk-Novotny was assigned to fly the last Boeing 727 standard model aircraft on its retirement flight more than 20 years ago, so she was thrilled at the recent chance to tour another historic 727 – the first 727 United ever flew.
Twenty-five years after United donated is the aircraft to Boeing's Museum of Flight, a dedicated team has restored it to flightworthy condition, and a few lucky employees, including Kim, were able to take a tour of it.
"It's the coolest thing that's ever happened to me at United," Kim said.
That's high praise from a woman who joined United 38 years ago as a flight attendant when she was just out of college. But, after her first month on the job, she was convinced she wanted to fly as a pilot. "I started taking flying lessons, built up thousands of hours flying skydiving planes and did a stint at Trans World Express," she said. "United hired me as a DC-10 engineer, but my first flight seat was on the 727."
The 727 was the first Boeing jetliner to undergo rigorous fatigue testing, the first to have completely powered flight controls, the first to use triple-slotted flaps and the first to have an auxiliary power unit.
San Francisco 777 First Officer Kim Weinstein, another tour guest, was a flight engineer on the 727. "The interior and the cockpit brought back so many memories of how exciting that was," she said. "They found and restored every little gauge and switch, the fuel tanks and all the mechanical parts for the elevator, flight controls, fuel and electrical system for an aircraft that had been sitting out in the rain for 25 years. It was a labor of love."
"The interior and the cockpit brought back so many memories of how exciting that was."– 777 First Officer Kim Weinstein
London-Heathrow Station Operations Duty Controller Peter Barnes compared it to stepping into another time. "No inflight entertainment. The color schemes – gosh, were they really popular?" he joked. Peter jumped at the chance to tour the 727 restoration. "I do love my airplanes. I was very touched to be invited and I appreciate it very much."
San Francisco 777 Captain Tad Gordon, another 727 tour guest and who is headed to 787 training in a few weeks, said, "When I was a kid, the 727 was the latest and greatest technology – but the 727 technology and the DC-3s I flew in the military represent 1940s technology. Now, with the 787, we have ring laser gyros and liquid crystal displays. It's a great transition, phasing out a lot of the older technologies, and it's representative of the good, positive changes in our culture."
Boeing flew the 727 from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, to Boeing Field last week. The plane's flight is part of the museum's year-long recognition of The Boeing Company's centennial. The Museum expects to open the 727 to the public in the Air Park during the summer and then move it to the Aviation Pavilion in the fall, where it will join a prototype Boeing 737 and Boeing 747 for permanent exhibition.
Watch the video below featuring special employee behind-the-scenes tours of the aircraft, which took place two days prior to its final flight.
We know people are taking a second look at their travel plans right now. If you're scheduled to travel March 10 – May 31, 2020 and would like to change your plans, there is no fee to do so, regardless of when you purchased your ticket or where you're traveling. This is in addition to our previous waiver, which waives all change fees – domestic and international – for tickets purchased March 3 – April 30, 2020. This is available for any of United's published nonrefundable fares. If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee. These electronic travel certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. You might not see this policy change reflected everywhere right away – we appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.
Eligible travelers on domestic flights and international tickets can request a refund on united.com or may call our contact centers if their flights have been severely adjusted or service to their destination suspended either due to government mandates or United schedule reductions related to COVID-19.
Certain tickets cannot be changed on united.com or the mobile app, including tickets booked through another airline (if the ticket receipt does not begin with 016). Please contact the original ticketing airline for changes.
Follow the steps below to stay up to date, change or cancel your flight.
Change your current flight:
- On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your flight information to retrieve your flight.
- Select "Change flight" and then "Edit" to make the following changes:
- Date of travel or destination
- Add a flight
- Remove a flight
- Select "Continue" and choose a new flight option
- Continue through booking to confirm your new flight
Note: The change fee will display as waived, but any difference in fare may apply.
Cancel your flight and rebook later:
- On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your reservation information to retrieve your flight
- Select "Cancel flight"
- Confirm flight cancellation
- If you have future flight credit, when you return to the reservation, select "Use Future Flight Credit" to shop for new flights and apply the credit towards a new flight.
Canceling or changing an award flight:
When you select "Cancel flight," you will have the option to cancel your award reservation and redeposit the miles or to cancel your award reservation and use those miles for another trip in the future.
*We're currently experiencing heavy traffic to united.com. If you experience an error while trying to change or cancel your flight, please try again later.
Click through the slideshow below for more detailed instructions:
Start on the United homepage:
User can select 'My Trips' on the homepage widget to find and retrieve their reservation.
When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 68 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 9,200 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
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. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.