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's regional presidents join respective Governor's COVID-19 task force

By Ryan Wilks, May 21, 2020

As a member in the tourism, travel and transportation industries, United offers a unique perspective into the economic and operational effects rippling across the U.S. To advocate United's efforts, and in anticipation of a bright future, New York/New Jersey President Jill Kaplan and California President Janet Lamkin have both been named to their states' respective governor's COVID-19 response task force committees.

A message from Scott Kirby, United’s new CEO

By The Hub team, May 20, 2020


Hello. I'm Scott Kirby, the new CEO of United Airlines. I'm a proud Air Force Academy graduate and have spent my entire career in and around aviation, including the last four years as President of United.

While I had planned for my first communication with you to be about the meaningful investments we were making to the travel experience and our continued growth across the U.S. and expansion to exciting new destinations around the world, today, the situation rendered to us by the COVID-19 pandemic leads me to a different type of message.

First, I graciously and humbly thank you for your business. Now, more than ever, our customers' loyalty is so deeply appreciated by every member of the United family.

As essential workers, the men and women of our airline have been hard at work over the past two months to transport vital medical supplies and critical goods to places that need them most, to provide free travel to healthcare professionals and to help thousands of individuals repatriate to their home countries.

Safety has always been our top priority, and right now in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, it's our singular customer focus. We recognize that COVID-19 has brought cleanliness and hygiene standards to the front of your mind when making travel decisions. We're not leaving a single stone unturned in our pursuit to protect our customers and employees.

We are installing plexiglass in lobby and gate areas, we're using the same equipment used to clean hospitals to disinfect the interiors of our aircraft, all crew and customers on board are required to wear face mask coverings and we're taking the temperature of our employees before they start work.

But at United, we're not stopping there. We're teaming up with experts from Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to set a new standard for cleanliness and healthy flying that we are calling United CleanPlus℠.

Clorox is working closely with us to improve how we disinfect common surfaces and provide our customers with amenities that support a healthy and safe environment.

Physicians and scientists at the Cleveland Clinic, will advise us on new technologies and approaches, assist in training development and create a rigorous quality assurance program. And, as scientists learn more about how to fight COVID-19, Cleveland Clinic experts will help us use those discoveries to quickly implement new ways to keep our customers safe.

While we may not know when this pandemic will subside, what we do know is that travel is so deeply woven into the fabric of our global culture. We all desire to visit family, dance at a friend's wedding, hug parents…and see the wonders of this beautiful world. No matter how sharp the picture quality – or how strong the WiFi signal – there's simply no substitute for being there – in person – to collaborate, celebrate, explore. We are confident that travel will return. And when it does, United Airlines will be ready to serve you again in the friendly skies.

Thank you. Be well. And I look forward to seeing you on board.

Making every step of the travel journey safer for you

By United Airlines, April 22, 2020
United Clean Plus | Clorox

We remain passionate about connecting the world safely

United CleanPlus SM is our commitment to putting health and safety at the forefront of your journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. We're teaming up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures, and over the coming months, we'll roll out Clorox products across our U.S. airports, starting in select locations, to help support a healthy and safe environment throughout your travel experience.

At the airport

  • At check-in:

  • 1
    Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
  • 2
    Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
  • 3
    Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
  • 4
    Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
  • 5
    Introducing touchless check-in for customers with bags
  • At the gate:

  • 6
    Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
  • 7
    Providing hand sanitizer and
    disinfectant wipes
  • 8
    Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
  • 9
    Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing

On our aircraft

  • 1
    Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
  • 2
    Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
  • 3
    Temporarily removing onboard items like pillows, blankets and inflight magazines
  • 4
    Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
  • 5
    Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
  • 6
    Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
  • 7
    Applying social distancing to seating procedures when possible, including:
    • Limiting middle seat selection
    • Moving customers seated closely together
    • De-planing in groups of five rows at a time to reduce crowding
  • 8
    Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft, to be completed on all flights by mid-June
  • 9
    Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove up to 99.7% of airborne particles

Cleveland Clinic We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.

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