The Jewels of Jordan - United Hub

The jewels of Jordan

By The Hub team, May 05, 2016

United Flight Dispatcher Jonathan Uhrig in Jordan Travel story and photos by: United Flight Dispatcher Jonathan Uhrig

I had the opportunity to visit Jordan recently as I am interested in ancient civilizations and always wanted to see the ancient city of Petra. My travels to Jordan included the capital of Amman. While there I visited the Citadel, an ancient Roman fortress with a commanding view of Amman and the surrounding area. I also visited the Royal Automobile Museum where you can see King Hussein's automobile collection.

Just north of Amman is the ancient city of Jerash, in ancient times called "Gerasa," founded by Alexander the Great in about 331 BC. I continued my journeys to Mt. Nebo where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land. Just a few miles from Mt. Nebo is the city of Madaba, the mosaic capital of the world. Here you can see well-preserved mosaics dating back thousands of years. The art of mosaic making takes a lot of patience and is a time-honored and skilled profession. There is a factory here where you can buy decorative murals and furniture that incorporates mosaics. The pieces' subjects run the gamut from rock stars to nature scenes.

Continuing my journey along the King's Highway, I stopped for lunch in the town of Kerak where there is an ancient Crusader fortress dating back to the 12th century. Along King's highway there are breathtaking views of the mountains and valleys of the Mujib Valley.

I finally made it to Petra, where I stayed for about 10 hours. I befriended a guide and rode a donkey all the way to the top of the summit to an ancient monastery. The unusual thing about Petra is that the buildings are all carved in the soft, rose-colored sandstone. They are remarkably well preserved considering how old they are. You are truly held in awe as you navigate the narrow cliffs towering high above you. I had the privilege of meeting some of the locals and learning about the culture. I was even invited to have tea with one of the local Bedouins — nomadic Arabs of the desert — who usually live in caves and lead a very simple life. A typical Bedouin home may have a small kitchen and a few mats on the floor used as beds or just a place to sit. Despite living modestly, yhey are very happy and proud people.

The last part of my journey took me to the Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon. Here you can take a safari tour to view impressive rock formations in the middle of the desert. I stayed overnight in a Bedouin camp and our dinner was cooked underground, as is their custom. In the morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. to do a camel trek and see the sunrise coming up over the mountains, which made the perfect ending to my journey. I came home feeling very culturally enriched and I would definitely like to go back to Jordan someday.

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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