One Fine Day: San Diego - United Hub
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One fine day: San Diego

By The Hub team, July 06, 2017

By Nick DeRenzo | Rhapsody, July 2017

You're in town for business, but you have the day off. Go.

9 a.m. Forgot to pack a wet suit? Skip the coast's famous waves and instead begin your morning somewhere a bit more relaxing: Liberty Public Market, an artisanal food hall that opened last spring inside the former Naval Training Center, built in 1923. Stop by The WestBean Coffee Roasters for a Kryptonite (mint-infused coldbrew) and head to Pi Bar for chef Tim Kolanko's clever updates on the breakfast sandwich, like the Whiskey Tango, made with fried mortadella, hash browns, scrambled eggs, mozzarella, and ketchup. It's a far cry from mess-hall grub.

10:30 a.m. Now that you're fully fueled, take off for the San Diego Zoo (no, it's not just for kids). Channel a cheetah and sprint straight to the ultra-popular giant pandas, who hold the same pride of place (and crowd-gathering ability) as the Mona Lisa at the Louvre. The 100-acre zoo is hardly resting on its well-earned laurels: The $68 million Conrad Prebys Africa Rocks exhibit opened last month, replacing 1930s-era cages with a sweeping display of six habitats, including the Ethiopian highlands (featuring hamadryas baboons), the Madagascar forest (with honey badgers and lemurs), and the South African coastline (with beach-loving African penguins).

Elephants in the San Diego ZooElephants in the San Diego Zoo

1 p.m. For lunch, look toward the beaconlike 9-foot-tall rooster statue at Little Italy's The Crack Shack, an outdoor chicken-and-egg spot from Top Chef: All-Stars winner and James Beard Award nominee Richard Blais, who runs the city's most lauded fine-dining spot, Juniper & Ivy, just next door. Order schmaltz- fried fries and a Coop Deville, a fried chicken sandwich with pickled Fresno chilies, lime mayo, and napa cabbage on a brioche bun—and then overorder with the deviled eggs topped with French toast crumbles and candied bacon.

2:30 p.m. Grab a beer around the corner at the Little Italy outpost of Ballast Point Brewing Company, which serves as the brewery's research and development arm. While Ballast Point is rightfully lauded for its award-winning Sculpin IPA—which comes in pineapple, grapefruit, and habanero varieties—use this visit to sample some of the more out-there offerings, such as the Cinnamon Raisin Commodore American stout and the Red Velvet, a golden oatmeal stout flavored with chocolate and beets.

The entrance to Balboa ParkThe entrance to Balboa Park

4 p.m. Head back to massive Balboa Park— home of the zoo—which, at 1,200 acres, ranks as North America's largest urban cultural park. Established in 1868, the park hosted both the 1915–16 Panama-California Exposition and the 1935–36 California Pacific International Exposition, which left behind so many ornate, Spanish Colonial Revival–style architectural landmarks that the park has been dubbed the Smithsonian of the West. Stroll the wide El Prado promenade and stop into the San Diego Museum of Man, housed in the blue and gold domed California Building and Tower.

7 p.m. Time to eat. Cab back over to Little Italy—Kettner Boulevard is San Diego's undisputed restaurant row for dinner at Herb & Wood, a sprawling, loftlike new restaurant by Top Chef finalist Brian Malarkey. The unfussy California-Mediterranean spot wears its two namesake ingredients on its stylish sleeve. Herbs crop up throughout Willem Van Leuven's produce-forward cocktail menu (try the dill-infused Gin and Cucumber), while wood-burning grills and ovens are the heart of the kitchen, adding char to dishes like Ibérico pork with apple mostarda and a decadent pizza topped with caramelized onions, Gruyère, escargot, and bone marrow. The unexpected showstopper, though, is the roasted baby carrots with cashew-sesame dukkah, Aleppo yogurt, and carrot-top pesto.

False Idol's tiki interiorFalse Idol's tiki interior

9 p.m. Just down the street, duck inside False Idol, a new Polynesian-themed bar hidden through the walk-in freezer at Craft & Commerce cocktail bar—call it a tik-easy? Here, Martin Cate of San Francisco's Smuggler's Cove (currently number 29 on the World's 50 Best Bars list) brings his artfully curated South Seas kitsch to Southern California, in a space dripping with skulls, pufferfish, ropes, and colorful glass buoys. But despite the theme-park aesthetic—thunder claps and the bar rumbles when you order the shareable Alkala the Fierce—the cocktails are serious business, featuring a slew of rare and vintage rums and unique housemade cordials and orgeats.

10:30 p.m. Return to your hip crash pad at the Pendry Hotel, which opened in February as the first in a new urban chain by Montage Hotels & Resorts. While the surrounding Gaslamp Quarter historic district is a hub of Victorian-era architecture, the interiors here are all Mid-Century masculine, with blue plaid chaise lounges, leather headboards, and whimsical wall-paper that subtly pairs bunnies and surfers. You can count the former if you're having trouble sleeping or imagine that the latter are judging you for choosing a big breakfast sandwich over a big wave this morning. There's always tomorrow…


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 jointherevolution.org/pledge.

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

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