Guam Pulls Together to Fight Cancer - United Hub
company

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."

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.

youtu.be

Scroll to top