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Travel tips

O'Hare wait times, in real time

By The Hub team

We have partnered with TSA and are working closely with them to bring new technology to security checkpoints, which will help reduce processing times and provide more information to those waiting in line. In February at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, we launched a new wait time display system that helps inform passengers of expected security wait times and to further help them find their way to the correct checkpoint on their boarding pass from wherever they enter our lobby.

This innovative new technology calculates expected wait times by monitoring passenger throughput in each checkpoint. Screens positioned throughout our Terminal 1 lobby inform passengers of expected time to clear the security process, while also helping them navigate to the three different checkpoints in our lobby – Premier, PreCheck, and standard screening.

"Our new wait-time system now allows us to provide passengers with timely security information and peace of mind as they walk into the lobby and begin their journey, emphasizing our core4 standards of caring and efficient in another key part of the travel experience," said United's Customer Service Delivery Innovation Senior Analyst Paul Schrader.

The wait time display system will also help TSA optimize its resources by providing insights into checkpoint performance metrics and is just the latest in our other partnership efforts with TSA at O'Hare, including testing computed tomography scanners and installing Automated Screening Lanes to improve the screening experience.

Customers can currently see estimated wait times on our websites for Denver International Airport and San Francisco International airport. We are constantly assessing ways to improve the security experience for our customers, and the long term goal is to have wait time display systems active at all of our domestic U.S. hubs.

7 tips to stay travel savvy this year

By The Hub team

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to reflect on what's working and not working when it comes to travel habits and your travel routine. Here are seven tips to consider before you travel next.

1. Apply for Global Entry

For those who travel internationally, Global Entry will make your travel experience feel like a breeze. With expedited clearance privileges, you'll be able to skip long customs lines when entering the U.S. from international destinations. To apply, you'll need to complete a background check and an in-person interview. The membership costs $100 for five years. And the bonus: TSA Pre✓ ® is included.

2. Take advantage of loyalty programs

Earn award miles through a great selection of credit card products including the United℠ Explorer Card and the United MileagePlus® Club card. From free checked bags and priority boarding to United Club℠ passes and Premier Access®, you'll find an award program that fits your travel needs.

You don't have to have status to get into one of our United Club℠ locations, either. Purchase a one-day pass for $59 through the United app or at the lounge's front desk. Once inside, you can recharge in comfortable seats, grab a bite to eat, enjoy a complimentary beverage or catch up with work.

3. Utilize airport amenities

From world-class restaurants to relaxing retreats, many airport locations have amenities that are worth a visit. With major upgrades to restaurant and bar offerings, you'll soon forget you're in an airport terminal. Below are a few locations worth checking out:

  • Vino Volo wine bars that offer great wines by the glass or flights, along with bottles (check for locations here)
  • The relaxing yoga room at San Francisco International Airport, located in Terminal 2
  • Olio, an upscale eatery known for paninis and soups that's the brainchild of award-winning Chef Monica Pope, located in Terminal C at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston
  • Melange, a bakery and chocolatier, located in Terminal C at Newark Liberty International Airport
  • Tortas Frontera by award-winning chef Rick Bayless, located in Terminal 1 at Chicago O'Hare International Airport

4. Download a travel app

There are currently thousands of apps designed to make your travel life easier. By utilizing more travel apps, you can make your trip more seamless, from packing more efficiently to easily finding great restaurants near you. Three apps you may want to consider downloading are:

  • Gate Guru, which gives locations of restaurants and stores at the top airports in the world. There are also user reviews, and sometimes you can even get a discount coupon.
  • Packing Pro, for those who want to be more organized when trying to decide what — and what not — to bring on a trip. There are customizable and sample packing lists that cover every contingency.
  • United, may be thought of as solely a way to book flights and check in, but the app actually has a number of additional features, including a currency converter, airport maps and much more.

5. Pack smarter

Now that you've downloaded an app to help you pack smarter, next up is packing lighter. We've all overpacked at some point in our lives, but the trick that savvy travelers exercise when flying is that they always pack less. Try to maximize your carry-on for shorter trips and repeat outfits when going on longer trips. It may seem counter intuitive, but packing lists can be helpful — especially when planning out a longer trip where you'll be going from city to city lugging around a suitcase. Trust us, your back and travel companion will thank your future self.

6. Organize your travel documents

It goes without saying, but just in case it's not on your list, you should always photograph your travel documents including your ID and passport. You may take every precaution out there, but sometimes the unpredictable happens and your passport goes missing. Instead of scrambling to produce another copy, you'll rest assured with the second copy you made sure to pack away from your passport in case your luggage or personal backpack is stolen.

7. Use your vacation days

This may seem like an obvious tip, however, each year more than 700 million vacation days go unused in the U.S. If you've got the days, you should be using them. A long weekend trip offers you the chance to take a break from work and recharge, while also exploring a new city. Whether you visit a neighboring state or go abroad, you'll be able to get out and experience a new part of the world.

Discover what makes each of our hub airports unique

By The Hub team

If you fly regularly, one terminal starts to blur into the next. But next time you're flying through one of our hub airports, take a minute to check out some of these unique features.

Sample fresh sushi from Tokyo

You won't need an airplane to be transported around the world — just step into Terminal C's Global Bazaar at Newark's Liberty International Airport (EWR). Tsukiji Fishroom features sushi made on-site with the freshest fish flown direct from Tokyo. Slurp ramen with hand-pulled noodles at Kaedama. Choose from sweet or savory at Creperie Juliet with options like S'mores Chocolate & Marshmallow and Mushroom, Spinach & Cheese. Or get your early morning fix from Poppy's Bagels. You'll find endless options in this food hall designed specifically for the on-the-go guest.

Have an artistic experience

Contemplate life as you enter Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). You'll encounter Gary Brewer's "Across the Universe" in the Terminal 7 ticketing lobby — one of many pieces curated by the LAX Art Program which features local and regional artists and aims to enhance and humanize the travel experience. Brewer's large-scale oil paintings reference abstract images inspired by NASA's efforts to map dark matter, the invisible gravitational entity that orders galaxies into clusters, using the Hubble Space Telescope.

Let out your inner AV geek

Spend a layover discovering the history of commercial aviation. Located before security in San Francisco's International (SFO) Terminal, the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum is part of the SFO Museum in an adaptation of the airport's 1930's passenger lobby. Learn about the innovative clipper ships that took the first flights across the Pacific Ocean with "China Clipper" or see aircraft development over the years through the model aircraft collection, "Aviation Evolution," from the 1903 Wright Flyer to today's airliners.

Check out Sky's the Limit underground

For over 30 years, Michael Hayden's "Sky's the Limit" has been captivating our customers as they traverse the underground walkway from Concourse B to Concourse C in Terminal 1 at Chicago O'Hare's International Airport (ORD). With mirrored ceilings, thousands of feet of undulating rainbow neon lighting synchronized with music, the tunnel invites you in to be part of the experience. Whether as a welcome home to Chicagoans or merely a stop on your journey, it is always a sight to behold.

Skate through the airport

Photo credit: Denver International Airport (DEN)

This holiday season the airport was the destination in Denver. Travelers enjoyed a break from the terminal at Denver International Airport's (DEN) third annual ice rink, that we sponsored. Set up between the terminal and the airport Westin hotel from November to January, you could stretch your legs and skate through your layover with free skating and skate rentals.

Fill up on mouthwatering BBQ

Local barbeque is cooked on-site at Q in Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Dig into traditional Texas barbeque like brisket, ribs and Texas sausage all smoked right in the middle of Terminal E — you can't miss the vast copper tubing that carries the smoke outside. Serving breakfast through dinner, you can get a taste of Texas all day long.

Check out one of these unique Hub airport locations yourself by visiting united.com or use the United app.

7 facts about the newest Dreamliner: The Boeing 787-10

By The Hub team

The Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner, which officially launched at the 2013 Paris Air Show, is a long-range jet that features one of the most comfortable cabins on the market. From mood lighting to a state-of-the-art air filtration system, the new Dreamliner provides an improved experience allowing passengers to arrive at their destination feeling refreshed. As the first U.S.-based carrier to add the 787-10 to its fleet, United is also the first in the world to fly the entire 787 Dreamliner family — including the 787-8 and 787-9. The aircraft officially went into service on January 7, departing from Los Angeles to New York/Newark.

Read on for seven facts about United's newest Dreamliner.

1. Going the distance

18 feet longer than the 787-9, the 787-10 can carry more passengers and more cargo than its predecessors. Flying up to 6,430 nautical miles, the 787-10 uses 20 percent less fuel than older generation airplanes, making it superior when it comes to fuel efficiency.

2. More seating options

Featuring more premium seating options, including 44 United Polaris® business class seats, 21 new United® Premium Plus seats, 54 Economy Plus® seats and 199 United Economy® seats. The 787-10 offers seating options to meet all preferences.

3. Improved cabin air

Thanks to a new air filtration system, the 787-10 boasts better air pressure and humidity, helping passengers fight dryness and fatigue on long flights.

4. Mood lighting

The 787-10's cabin features lighting patterns that mimic sunrise and sunset, designed to help passengers fall asleep and wake up more adjusted after arriving in a new time zone.

5. A better ride

Smoother ride technology on the 787-10 helps to offset turbulence, resulting in less motion sickness and a more comfortable flight.

6. State-of-the-art windows

With 19-inch windows, the 787-10 has the largest of any aircraft in the market. The large windows allow views of the horizon, plus there's no need to shut the window shade as the Dreamliner's windows dim electronically with smart glass.

7. Entertainment at hand

Featuring a new seatback entertainment system with a split-screen function, passengers are now able view the flight map while watching a movie. They can also customize a list of soothing videos and relaxing audio playlists. Also, it makes movie and television recommendations based on your remaining flight time and previously-watched content.

The new system accommodates any level of vision and provides support for customers with hearing and mobility issues.

The 787-10 Dreamliner is now flying from Los Angeles to New York/Newark and it will begin service between San Francisco and New York/Newark this month, with international service starting in March.

Travel resolutions for an adventure-filled 2019

By The Hub team

If past years have taught us anything, it's that resolutions are made, but more often than not broken a few months into the new year. This year make resolutions that you are sure to keep — resolutions that are achievable and that you enjoy checking off your list. Read on for 10 travel resolutions that are worth considering for a year full of adventure.

1. Go someplace new 

It's easy to get into a routine, traveling to the same places to visit family or friends. In 2019, make a resolution to go someplace new. Maybe it's a destination you've always dreamed of exploring or one that recently popped up as a place you'd like to visit. Whatever the reason may be, it's time to check it off your list.

2. Stop making excuses 

It's easy to put things off because the timing doesn't feel right, making promises to ourselves that next year will be the year. Instead of putting off that trip, make this year the year you go because timing may never be exactly right. Things can always come up, so instead seize the opportunity and take the chance to explore something new because there's a strong chance you won't regret it — you'll likely forget why you put it off in the first place.

3. Pack light 

It's easy to stress out before a trip when it comes to what to pack especially if traveling to a new destination. In the new year, make a resolution to not only pack lighter, but to also pack smarter. Try downsizing your suitcase — a smaller suitcase means you'll have to prioritize exactly what you're bringing on the trip and while on your trip, likely thank yourself for opting for the lighter, easier to manage suitcase.

4. Be a conscious traveler 

Just because you're on vacation, it doesn't mean you have to throw your good habits out the window. Travel with a reusable glass bottle that can be filled up once you've passed security at the airport, recycle trash like newspapers, paper cups and magazines onboard, take public transportation when possible and be mindful of sustainable practices while visiting public places while on your trip.

5. Get out of your comfort zone 

Its easy to fall into a routine. This year make a resolution to go outside of your comfort zone by trying something new. That could mean taking a class while on vacation, learning a new sport, trying a new cuisine or taking the trip you've always wanted to take.

6. Unplug 

We live in a society that is always on, so it can be hard to completely disconnect when on vacation. In 2019, try unplugging more often. Turn off email and social media notifications while on vacation. Doing so will only enhance your experience because the more present you are, the more you'll enjoy your surroundings. Uploading that photo to social media can wait.

7. Go on a solo adventure 

Taking a solo trip isn't for everyone and that's okay, but if you do enjoy traveling by yourself this year could be the perfect time for a solo adventure.

8. Immerse yourself in the culture 

You've spent hours traveling to reach your destination — not to mention the hours you put in to plan your trip — so why not immerse yourself in the culture of the city you're in. Communicating with locals by learning the language, even the basics will do, will help make your interactions more meaningful.

9. Explore your own city 

Sometimes a staycation can be worthwhile as there are surely hidden gems to discover in your own city. Pick a weekend to explore a new neighborhood, dine at a restaurant you've been wanting to try or see an exhibit that you've been putting off.

10. Inspire others 

Once you're back from your vacation, inspire others by sharing your adventures with them like tips and tricks you learned along the way. Their trip may not be to the same destination, but the benefits of travel are universal.

Introducing travel experiences with PlacePass

By The Hub team

Now that you've booked your flight, it's time to start planning out your trip itinerary. With so many options and endless websites to research, it can be a taxing task to take on. And if you're planning activities for everyone involved, it can be even more difficult to balance out the right amount of fun with the right number of touristy sites to visit.

With so many things to experience, research shows that travelers are seeking bespoke, local recommendations when it comes to planning their vacation itinerary. From activities like skip-the-line passes to museums, walking tours, water activities and more, our partnership with PlacePass provides top-rated recommendations when it comes to planning out your next trip. With over 100,000 travel experiences, you're sure to find something to do whether you're planning a family vacation, a trip with friends or tacking on a few extra days to your business trip.


To start, enter in your destination to browse categories of activities specific to that location. Activities are categorized by "most popular," "food and drinks," "family fun," "wine country" and more for nearly every destination we fly to, making it easy to find what you're looking for or discover new things to do.

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Our partnership with PlacePass is one of the ways we're bring more personalized experiences to our customers. As a leading technology solutions provider, PlacePass leads the way in bringing travelers in-destination experiences. Look out for more enhancements to our partnership early next year.
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