Guam Pulls Together to Fight Cancer - United Hub
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Guam pulls together to fight cancer

By Pete Rapalus, June 26, 2017

As our 900 United employees based there can attest, Guam is a tight-knit community — just over 160,000 people on an island 30 miles long — and the community really pulls together to help one another.

"It seems as though everybody knows everybody on Guam, and unfortunately that also means we all know loved ones and friends and neighbors who are battling cancer or who passed away because of it," said International HR Manager Alethea Flores, co-captain of the volunteer effort behind the 12th annual United Plane Pull – "Towing the Line to Save Lives."

Alethea, her co-captain Micronesia Sales Senior Manager Paula Monk, and a cast of hundreds from all United departments and many business partners worked for months to prepare for June 24's event, which attracted 2,500 people to our maintenance hangar at Guam. A total of 43 teams took part, each getting two chances to pull a Boeing 737-800 12 feet down the ramp. United fielded four teams — one from Guam Ramp Service, another from Japan, one made up of employees from South China, and another from our United Express partner Cape Air.

United Team Japan

The quickest time, 4.61 seconds, was posted by men's division team FD (Fire Department) All Stars sponsored by Moylan's NetCare. The fastest co-ed team was the Department of Defense Team 1 sponsored by DZSP 21, with a time of 4.66 seconds. The real heavy lifting, however, took much longer than seconds.

"Planning has been going on for months, and as usual the final weeks and days were hectic," Paula noted. "But we've got a lot of experience arranging these large community events, and we're fortunate on Guam to have so many who are willing to volunteer and put in all that extra time for a good cause."

The Tech Ops team that services Boeing 737s and 777s and provides field services for charters and special flights such as those to remote Western Pacific islands handled most of the logistics.

Because the hangar is the primary venue for the event, including the elaborate Opening Ceremonies with a full-blown Parade of Teams, aircraft that would normally be worked on there are relocated outside for a couple of days.

"This weekend we have another 737 that needs some sheet metal work done, and it can't wait, so I have a team that's working on that airplane right now over there in the hot sun," said Guam Maintenance Manager Rudy Capistrano, pointing to where the aircraft was parked. "They really deserve credit for that, and for missing out on all the fun everyone else is having."

The week prior to the event was particularly challenging for Tech Ops as it made preparations. Planners usually adjust the schedule so that the hangar is not needed during the event, but days before the event the crews were dealing with more aircraft out of service than usual. Thanks to teamwork and extra effort, the team was able to clear all the aircraft with the exception of the one needing the sheet metal work.

Cape Air team pulling

Tech Ops also provided employees to stand by the plane taking part in the plane pull: They were in the cockpit riding brakes, driving the tractor that repositioned the plane after each two pulls, and hooking and unhooking the tow ropes. We also had employees standing by to monitor the safety and security of the event, and two from our on-site clinic to provide first aid. Others kept the teams on schedule with military precision, as each went from check-in through briefing and safety reminders, posed in front of the 737 for team photos, did the pulls, then went back to the hangar to cheers from supporters.

Clarissa Perez, senior manager of our Guam Inflight base, served again as emcee of the event, keeping the crowd updated and entertained while results were posted in real time on a giant LED screen behind the stage. Local musicians and dancers performed, there were jump houses and other attractions for children and a wide array of refreshments.

Towing the Line to Save Lives raised at least $25,800 from pull team registrations; that figure will grow once raffle ticket and other sales are added. Proceeds are split 50/50 between the American Cancer Society and Guam Cancer Care.

"This is yet another example of why I enjoy living and working here so much," said 737 Captain Trond Einemo, who was supplying each 20-person team with gloves to wear while tugging at the heavy tow ropes. "People from all departments come out on this hot Saturday to support the community and we're all having a great time doing it."

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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