What US-Cuba Commercial Flights Mean to One of Our Cuban-American Employees - United Hub
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What US-Cuba commercial flights mean to one of our Cuban-American employees

By Matt Adams, September 08, 2016

The announcement on September 1 of United's scheduled routes from Houston and New York/Newark to Josè Martì International Airport in Havana was met with excitement throughout our company. But there was perhaps no one more excited than United Safety Manager Marlon Garcia Suarez. Born in the town of Cardenas in Cuba's Matanzas province, Marlon left the country as a 15-year-old in 1998, and has not been back to Cuba since 2000.

Marlon Garcia Suarez, United Employee

Marlon attended high school in Kentucky, where he learned English as a second language. His teenage years were much the same as any American kid, so far removed from the Cuban-influenced cultures in larger cities like Miami and New York City. A passionate aviation enthusiast since childhood, he went on to study aviation management at Eastern Kentucky University, while also serving as a U.S. Army reservist.

“I have both happy and sad memories of Cuba," he said, recalling his life there. “Cardenas is on the north coast, only 11 kilometers from Varadero Beach, which is one of the top travel destinations in Cuba. I'll never forget riding my bike to the beach with friends on the weekends. And in Cardenas, it's a small town, so we could all stay out late on the streets together and play."

After almost 18 years in the United States, Marlon is optimistic about what the new flights mean for both Cuban-Americans and those still living on the island. “For younger Cubans, those of my generation, I think that they generally view the softening of the travel embargo as a good thing. My personal feeling is that, what happened almost 60 years ago, though painful and life changing for many Cubans like my parents and grandparents, is history and it's time for things to change." More than anything, Marlon is looking forward to the cultural exchange that will likely take place once American visitors are allowed into the country. “American travelers will give Cubans a different view of the world outside," he said. “They will not only inject dollars into the economy, but inject new ideas and open doors for those living there. For Americans, it will enable us to get a different perspective on life in a communist country, perspective that will generate healthy discussions."

As for his plans, he is looking forward to showing his wife and 16-month-old son where he grew up as well as visiting family and friends living in Cardenas and in Havana. “I'm thinking about seeing things, like the house I grew up in, that I've probably forgotten," said Marlon, “and having the chance to reconnect with family. It's all going to be very emotional."

Working at United has only strengthened Marlon's joy over the fact that U.S. airlines have resumed service to his birthplace. “As both a United employee and someone with a personal connection to Cuba, I'm so proud that we are going to be flying there, and even more proud that after all these years, I'll be able to go back on a United plane."

United cargo-only flights transport critical goods

By The Hub team

When the pandemic began, United Cargo knew it would be critical to utilize its fleet, network and industry-leading pharmaceutical handling processes to transport a COVID-19 vaccine when the time came.

Connecting vaccines to the world: United responds to mass distribution effort

December 22, 2020

On November 27, United Airlines became the first commercial airline to safely deliver the first batch of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine into the U.S. thanks to a coordinated effort between United's cargo, safety, technical operations, flight operations, regulatory and legal teams.

Now as the entire shipping and logistics industry bands together to widely distribute vaccines, United is leveraging all of its flights, including cargo-only and those carrying passengers, to transport millions of vaccines to destinations throughout our network, including Honolulu, Guam and Saipan – the first of any carrier to do so.

United Raises Miles for Dozens of Non-Profits that Rely on Travel

Airline and its customers use crowdsourcing platform - Miles on a Mission - to donate more than 11 million miles for charities like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, College to Congress and Compass to Care
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CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United is inviting MileagePlus members to give back on Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season by donating miles to nearly 40 non-profits through United Airlines' crowdsourcing platform, Miles on a Mission. Non-profits like Thurgood Marshall College Fund, College to Congress and Compass to Care are attempting to raise a total of more than 11 million miles to be used for travel for life-saving health care, continued education, humanitarian aid and more. United will match the first 125,000 miles raised for each of these organizations to help ensure they meet their goals.

United Raises Miles for Dozens of Non-Profits that Rely on Travel

Why we fly

By The Hub team, November 27, 2020

In October 2019, we launched a first-of-its-kind airline miles donation platform, Miles on a Mission. In the inaugural year, MileagePlus members donated over 70 million miles, with United matching over 20 million miles, to 51 organizations. These miles have allowed for these organizations to do important, life-changing, life-saving work in the communities we serve around the globe.

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