The end of all roads
Each week we will profile one of our employee's adventures across the globe, featuring a new location for every employee's story. Follow along every week to learn more about their travel experiences.
By Guam 737 First Officer Dan Bartlett
737 First Officers Bob Lynch, Brian Johnson and I are all Guam-based pilots. Over the past eight years, we have been hiking daily, scuba diving, exploring shipwrecks around the Pacific and exploring the world.
On these travels, I always try to rent motorcycles. I've been an avid rider since I was 10 years old, and, only second to aviation, my passion is hopping on a motocross bike to explore remote areas, especially in Southeast Asia. It wasn't long before both Bob and Brian were joining in on the motorcycle rides, and their curiosity about motorcycles quickly grew into a passion. We have had multiple riding adventures exploring Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, the Philippines and more. They are continuously a thrill, and there is always an adventure being planned. We have other friends that occasionally join in on the rides, adding a new dimension to the riding dynamics.
There was one trip in particular in Laos that was very challenging. Bob and I stumbled off the beaten path and wandered into a rebel stronghold area. The trail we were riding on turned into a cow path that was eventually covered over by a landslide. With no other option than to turn around, we continued down the path, and our day turned out to be filled with multiple landslides, rebel encounters, running out of water, mechanical problems -- a day that would stretch both our mental and physical capacities. Instead of being weary of another adventure, this was also the day we determined to circle the world on motorcycles together. We decided that if we could survive everything that day threw at us, then we could overcome anything.
We are now en route to see the world; 82 countries over three years, all while flying full time for United. We don't just want to check these places off our list, we want to really experience them, so we will be hitting some of the best places at the best times: Munich, Germany, for Oktoberfest; running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain; Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Songkran Water Festival in Thailand. It's incredible that the profession we love -- being a commercial airline pilot -- not only provides the means but also the flexibility to accomplish this goal.
We have already traveled over 5,000 miles of this journey, with the first leg complete from San Diego, California, to Homer, Alaska. So far, we have had multiple encounters with bears, moose, flat tires, gas shortages and lack of supplies. There was no shortage of obstacles or laughter.
The next leg of our journey is Sept. 15 - Oct. 15, and we will go from Buffalo, New York, to Newfoundland then on to Halifax, Nova Scotia. After reaching Halifax, the last leg of the North America tour will be from Halifax down to Key West, Florida, and then over to Houston. We will take the holidays off from riding and, in 2018, our travels will take us from Texas to Mexico, through Central and South America on to Patagonia.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 56 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 8,000 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
In the midst of mobilizing our cargo operations, our teams at New York/Newark (EWR) and Jacksonville (JAX) stepped in to assist Roche Diagnostics with transporting a vital component for an instrument being used for COVID-19 testing.
The component was stuck at EWR en route to the Mayo Clinic in Florida after another airline's flights were cancelled. A Roche employee contacted us asking for help and, within a few hours, our teams had the piece loaded onto a Jacksonville-bound aircraft, with arrangements in place to deliver it to the Mayo Clinic.
The item we shipped will allow the Mayo Clinic in Florida to process hundreds of COVID-19 tests per day. Mayo Clinic Laboratories has been on the front lines of increasing testing capacity to expedite caring for patients at this critical time and working to ease the burden being felt at test processing laboratories in a growing number of areas.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.