Travel in sustainable style with a United upcycle travel bag - United Hub

Travel in sustainable style with a United upcycle travel bag

By The Hub team, October 08, 2015

Earlier this year the Chicago Department of Aviation changed the size of banner advertisements allowed at Chicago O'Hare, which meant that more than 20 United banners were unusable. Our United Eco-Skies team saw this as an opportunity to “upcycle" the materials rather than throw them away. The practice of upcycling allows us to repurpose materials in a creative way to create something truly one of a kind.

We partnered with students at Columbia College Chicago's Fashion School and challenged them to design a mock-up of a travel bag using only upcycled materials.

Columbia College Students Participate in Upcycling Challenge

Upcycle challenge

A winning design

The students were given three days to complete their designs. The guidelines required that they design a bag that was, durable, fashionable, and could fit easily underneath an airplane seat. Additionally, the students were instructed to keep the needs of a busy traveler in mind, whether for an overnight business trip or for the daily work commute. The students received credit hours for participating in the challenge, and also learned how to incorporate sustainability into their designs.

Winning designs

Fashion and design students Anne Tilma and Dillon Halford conceptualized the two winning travel bag designs. Anne's design is a duffel-style bag with a detachable tote, while Dillon's bag is a backpack-style bag designed for the daily commuter.

The final travel bag product

Handcrafted by Re:new artisans

After the winning designs were selected, they were produced by advanced artisans at the Re:new project, a Chicago-area nonprofit providing employment and community for refugee women resettled in the U.S. Each bag carries the story of the remarkable woman who made it.

Buy a bag and give back

Starting on Friday, October 16th you can purchase an upcycled travel bag for a limited time through the United Shop.

The United Eco-Skies Upcycling initiative helps to reduce landfill waste and encourages customers and employees to think differently about waste. All proceeds from the sales of the upcycled bags will benefit the Eco-Skies CarbonChoice Alto Mayo Forest Carbon project. This project provides jobs for local families, incentivizes new approaches to farming and helps to protect a critical watershed in northern Peru that supplies more than 240,000 people and many threatened species found nowhere else on Earth.

For more information on United's commitment to the environment, visit united.com/ecoskies.

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

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.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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