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We unveil a new state-of-the-art flight training center in Denver

By Matt Adams , October 09, 2018

After more than two years of construction, our newly renovated, fully consolidated flight training center was formally unveiled today at a special rededication ceremony in Denver. Home to more than 30 full flight simulators, the Denver Flight Training Center will welcome each of the airline's 12,000-plus pilots every year for new and recurrent training, along with pilots from more than two dozen other airlines and government agencies who visit our campus annually to sharpen their skills. In addition to pilots, the center will host flight attendants and maintenance technicians for emergency training and other activities.

United CEO Oscar Munoz poses with fellow United employees for the ribbon cutting event at Denver's new flight training center

"This state-of-the-art flight training center symbolizes the investments we're making in our people and our company, both in Denver and throughout our network," said our CEO, Oscar Munoz, who headlined a ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 9 for the facility, the largest such flight training center in the world. "In addition to providing industry-leading training for our pilots, flight attendants and other vital work groups, this facility will become a thriving center where we foster the professional culture, commitment to safety and dedication to customer service that's at the heart of the United success story we are seeing take shape."

Our flight training presence in Denver goes all the way back to the early 1940s, while the current campus was opened in 1968 with four buildings, expanding to six over the subsequent years. Recently, we broke ground on a seventh building which, when completed, will bring the size of the campus to nearly 540,000 square feet, with space for eight more flight simulator bays. In the five decades since its opening, pilots have participated in more than half a million training events, totaling approximately two million hours of training time.

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Doing our part to #SheddTheStraw

By United Airlines , September 06, 2018

You may think that foregoing a single plastic straw won't effect change, but small actions can lead to big changes. That's why we are eliminating non-recyclable plastic stirring sticks and cocktail picks on our aircraft, and replacing them with an environmentally-friendly alternative made out of bamboo. Starting in early November, you'll see these items onboard our planes. It's a small, but meaningful step to help minimize the impact plastic products have on our environment.

With 8.8 billion tons of plastic in our oceans, our collective efforts have the ability to go a long way. Plastic products can take up to 22 years to degrade and even then aren't ever completely gone, as plastics are not fully biodegradable. And we're not just stopping there. The elimination of plastic stirring sticks and cocktail picks is just one part of a larger initiative we're taking here at United. We recycle aluminum cans, paper including newspapers and magazines, and plastic products onboard our planes. These efforts are part of our company-wide commitment to operating sustainably and responsibly. We're also evaluating more sustainable options for our onboard catering operations beyond our current partnership with brands that are committed to sustainable practices like illy coffee, which we proudly serve onboard our planes and in United Clubs℠ and lounges.

Additionally, we're partnering with the Shedd Aquarium in our hometown of Chicago, whose goal is to spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world, and which is doing its part to help animals and protect our waters through their #SheddTheStraw campaign. "We've partnered with Shedd Aquarium for over 30 years and we're proud to do our part to #SheddTheStraw and help conserve our oceans from excessive plastic waste," said Catering Operations Vice President, Charlean Gmunder.

Join us and the Shedd Aquarium to #SheddTheStraw.

"We are thrilled to work with United Airlines to reduce single-use plastic items used globally, which often pollute waterways and can harm wildlife," said Cheryl Mell, Senior Vice President, Conservation Partnerships and Programs. "United's commitment to Shedd the Straw by removing plastic stirrer sticks and cocktail picks is a shining example that plastic comes in different shapes and we can all be part of the solution to reduce our plastic footprint. A supporter of Shedd for 30 years, United's leadership toward environmentally-friendly business operations brings a positive impact that extends worldwide."

It's easy to go about our daily lives forgetting every little bit helps when it comes to protecting our environment. Here are a few things you can do to help when traveling:

  • Bring along a refillable bottle to use while you travel. Remember to fill it up once you have gone through security
  • Make sure to recycle any paper products like old magazines or newspapers
  • Separate your garbage items from your recyclable items until collected by a flight attendant
  • Use our United mobile app instead of a paper boarding pass

For more information on our commitment to the environment, visit our United Eco-Skies® page.

Hurricane Lane update: On approach to Hawaii

By United Airlines , August 23, 2018

As of Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Lane is still a Category 4 hurricane and continues to track toward the Hawaiian Islands. Current forecasts predict Lane will make a turn to the west and not make landfall. However, the current track and speed are already producing large amounts of rain. Some areas could see more than 30 inches of rain during the storm. With the forecasted rain and accompanying high winds, the Network Operations Center (NOC) has made the decision with the Hawaii station to cancel flight in and out of Kahului Airport (OGG) in Maui tomorrow — Friday, August 24. Additionally, the first two arrivals into Kona International Airport (KOA) on the Island of Hawaii will be delayed by approximately three hours on Friday. All other island stations are making storm preparations and planning normal operations.

Additionally, we have taken steps to reduce fares beyond what a regular last-minute fare would be and we encourage our customers who are traveling to, from or through areas affected by Hurricane Lane to take advantage of our waiver policies in place where the change fee and any difference in fare will be waived. The waiver is for travel scheduled through August 26 for flights out of the following airports:

  • Hilo, Hawaii (ITO)
  • Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii (HNL)
  • Kahului, Maui, Hawaii (OGG)
  • Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (KOA)
  • Lihue, Hawaii (LIH)

The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before September 9, 2018, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.

We have also scheduled two additional flights today from Honolulu (HNL) to San Francisco (SFO). We continue to closely monitor the weather situation and customers can visit united.com or our app for the latest updates and developments.

Customers who require rebooking or customers without reservations should not go to the airport. Instead we encourage customers to call 1-800-UNITED-1 where they can rebook.

The NOC and local leadership are determining our ability to upgauge and add extra room on aircraft after the storm passes. Our operations team is currently securing our hangar in Daniel K. Inouye Airport in Honolulu (HNL), and local leaders and Human Resources teams are reaching out to employees to make sure everyone is safe. We are making plans to provide rooms at nearby hotels for employees to ensure there is staffing available at the airports to handle any customer needs.

Lots of sweat, lots of on-time departures: Summer on the ramp

By Ryan Hood , August 10, 2018

It's 10:30 in the morning and the temperature gauge already reads 89 degrees. The Texan summer sun beams down from above. Heat waves emanate from the ground. Sweat glistens atop Ron Davis's shiny, bald head.

This isn't bad at all, Davis says. "I played high school football. Two-a-day practices? Those were hot. Some of the really hot days out here? Those feel more like three-a-day practices. We got it easy today."

A few gates down, employees revel in the "relief" that this weather feels like compared to the prior week.

"This is nothing," quips Tom Saavedra.

"A few clouds up there and a bit of a breeze – it's our lucky day," Leroy Taylor chimes in, a wide smile on his face.

Air temperature nearing 90 degrees. Tarmac temperature eclipsing 100 degrees most everywhere you step. 10:30 in the morning. And this is "easy". Welcome to life as a United ramp service employee at Houston's George Bush International Airport (IAH) in the summer.

United isoperating more than 500 flights out of Houston each day this summer, and thanks in part to the hard work of our ramp service employees, more flights have left Houston on time this summer than any prior summer.

How? Hydration and nutrition have played huge roles.

United ramp employee hydrating on the job

Posters with hydration reminders adorn the walls of ramp break rooms and hallways. It's the first topic of every meeting. Regular reminders are sent out over the group's radio system.

Employees have a flight schedule to keep, but as leaders, we have to provide them with the tools to do their job, says Gary Snead, a United supervisor based at IAH. "That includes keeping them fit to work in the summer heat."

And provide they do. Here are the resources deployed in an average summer month on the ramp in Houston:

  1. Over 10,000 bags of ice, totaling more than 100,000 pounds of ice.
  2. 313, 5-gallon water coolers refilled at least four times per day.
  3. An athletic trainer on site.
  4. One day a month, the IAH ramp holds a fruit & hydration day, where supervisors distribute over 1,000 pieces of fruit to our sun-soaked employees.
  5. 1,000+ cooling towels distributed.
  6. 10 misting tents

The increased focus on hydration has helped increase productivity, and it's also resulted in a record-low number of heat-related illnesses among employees.

You take care of the employees, Snead says, "and the employees will take care of your operation."

That's proved true around the world, as we have flown more customers this summer than ever before, all while topping our competition in on-time departures in recent months. Our 13,000+ ramp service employees have played a huge role in that.

Summer heat? It's been beat.

United takes top spot in on-time departure ranking

By Ryan Hood , July 23, 2018

The best way to arrive on-time? Leave on-time. In recent months, no U.S. carrier has done that better than us.

Hard work from our 90,000 employees around the world made us No. 1 among our competitors in on-time departures over the last three months. This achievement comes at a time when we have never been busier – in June, we flew 15.2 million customers, a record-high customer total for any month in our company history. We set a new single-day record for our customers flown with nearly 550,000 on June 29.

We have remained up to the challenge of high volumes as strong operational reliability has continued in July – our on-time departure rate is on pace to be the highest of any summer month in our history.

In celebration of master mechanics, United unveils the Charles E. Taylor status at O'Hare

By Pete Rapalus , October 23, 2015

Today we unveiled a statue of Charles E. Taylor, the first aviation mechanic in powered flight, at Chicago's O'Hare airport. Mr. Taylor, one of three men responsible for the first flight, is credited with designing and building the engine that powered the Wright brothers' first airplane. The statue celebrates the lifetime contributions and hard work of senior mechanics and those who have earned the Charles Taylor "Master Mechanic" Award.

United Salutes Aircraft Maintenance Technicians

The honor, presented by the FAA, is given to mechanics across the industry who have completed 50 years of service in aviation maintenance and who have spent at least 30 years as certified FAA technicians. We are proud to say that more than 40 technicians at United have received the award since its inception in 1998.

“I'm honored to be recognized and to represent all the hard working aircraft maintenance technicians with whom I've worked with over the last 50 years at United," said Bill Grater, a Chicago-based technician who received the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award last year and attended today's unveiling.

We currently employ more than 8,000 aviation technicians in locations around the world. Our technicians work tirelessly to maintain our fleet of 700 aircraft, ensuring that they operate safely and reliably.

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