2018 Travel Hotspots - United Hub

5 travel hotspots you don't want to miss in 2018

By Bob Cooper

Even seasoned travelers can rattle off countless places they still want to go. But there are only so many trips you can take each year—so where should you go in 2018? Here are a few of the best choices. Even if you've been to some of these cities, like Chicago and New Orleans, there are good reasons why you should go back in the coming year.

Church in Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile

Don't go to Chile in 2018 just because it's the bicentennial of the country's declaration of independence from Spain. Go for all the other reasons why it's one of the best destinations in the Americas. There's a hotel boom in bustling Santiago—and it's within a 90-minute drive of world-class wine regions (notably the Casablanca and Maipo Valleys), several great beaches, the culturally dazzling city of Valparaiso (where the historic quarter is a World Heritage Site), one of Chile's many observatories (Pailalen) and Andes foothills hikes. Plus, Chile's stable democracy makes it one of the hemisphere's safest and most prosperous countries. But don't forget that our winter is Chile's summer—so it's best to go soon.

Traffic in Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Illinois also celebrates its bicentennial year in 2018, with events planned all year in Chicago and statewide that climax with a celebrity-studded bash at Chicago's United Center on December 3. Another reason to visit is the red-hot cultural scene, which has heated up even further with the 2017 opening of the American Writers Museum and performances of “Hamilton" at the CIBC Theatre through April 2018. The Chicago Riverwalk and 26-mile-long Lakefront Trail have both been newly expanded for the outdoors crowd. And it's never too early to get Cubs tickets, with Wrigley Field sellouts as routine as the winds that whip in from Lake Michigan.

Belfast city hall in North Ireland

Belfast, North Ireland

Belfast and the nearby Causeway Coast were named best region in the world to visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet, and there are many reasons. A city tormented by violence for decades during “The Troubles" (tours that trace this history are now offered) has become a safe and satisfying tourist destination. The Titanic Belfast museum is the main attraction in The Titanic Quarter, Northern Ireland's biggest attraction, where you can now stay at the new Titanic-themed Titanic Hotel. As for the Causeway Coast to the north—where visitors can tour the Old Bushmills Distillery—viewers of “Game of Thrones" will feel right at home. Many scenes were filmed there, with “Game of Thrones" tours—by bus, van, bike and boat—a popular diversion.

Balcony with plants in New Orleans French Quarter

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Southern city that knows how to party has one more excuse in 2018: the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans by the French. Count on even more celebrating than usual during Mardi Gras (February 2-13), but also throughout the year at dozens of events. They kick off with Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve Countdown to Tricentennial, the only event in a Central Time Zone city to be featured in the Ryan Seacrest-hosted telecast, with a major concert at Jackson Square and fireworks over the Mississippi River. But it will also be “Big Easy" to take in other tricentennial events during the year, ranging from ballets and a “burlesque opera" to special art exhibits and jazz concerts.

Aerial view of Taipei, Taiwan

Taipei, Taiwan

In Taiwan, you can see nearly all of the kinds of places one might find in China, but it's small enough that you can drive the length of the island country in a day—though that wouldn't allow time to stop at any of the dozens of beaches that line both coasts, or to explore the volcanic mountains, lakes or national parks in the island's lightly populated interior. In the main city of Taipei are attractions that include Tapei 101 (a 101-story tower topped by a viewing platform), countless temples, and at Liberty Square, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall, the National Theatre and the National Concert Hall.

If you go

United Airlines offers nonstop flights from U.S. cities to all of these hotspots with the exception of Belfast which you can reach via Dublin. Visit united.com or use the United app to plan a trip.

United's regional presidents join respective Governor's COVID-19 task force

By Ryan Wilks, May 21, 2020

As a member in the tourism, travel and transportation industries, United offers a unique perspective into the economic and operational effects rippling across the U.S. To advocate United's efforts, and in anticipation of a bright future, New York/New Jersey President Jill Kaplan and California President Janet Lamkin have both been named to their states' respective governor's COVID-19 response task force committees.

Making every step of the travel journey safer for you

By United Airlines, May 20, 2020
United Clean Plus | Clorox

We remain passionate about connecting the world safely

United CleanPlus SM is our commitment to putting health and safety at the forefront of your journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. We're teaming up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures, and over the coming months, we'll roll out Clorox products across our U.S. airports, starting in select locations, to help support a healthy and safe environment throughout your travel experience.

At the airport

  • At check-in:

  • 1
    Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
  • 2
    Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
  • 3
    Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
  • 4
    Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
  • 5
    Introducing touchless check-in for customers with bags
  • At the gate:

  • 6
    Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
  • 7
    Providing hand sanitizer and
    disinfectant wipes
  • 8
    Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
  • 9
    Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing

On our aircraft

  • 1
    Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
  • 2
    Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
  • 3
    Temporarily removing onboard items like pillows, blankets and inflight magazines
  • 4
    Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
  • 5
    Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
  • 6
    Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
  • 7
    Applying social distancing to seating procedures when possible, including:
    • Limiting middle seat selection
    • Moving customers seated closely together
    • De-planing in groups of five rows at a time to reduce crowding
  • 8
    Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft, to be completed on all flights by mid-June
  • 9
    Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove up to 99.7% of airborne particles

Cleveland Clinic We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.

A message from Scott Kirby, United’s new CEO

By The Hub team, May 20, 2020

Hello. I'm Scott Kirby, the new CEO of United Airlines. I'm a proud Air Force Academy graduate and have spent my entire career in and around aviation, including the last four years as President of United.

While I had planned for my first communication with you to be about the meaningful investments we were making to the travel experience and our continued growth across the U.S. and expansion to exciting new destinations around the world, today, the situation rendered to us by the COVID-19 pandemic leads me to a different type of message.

First, I graciously and humbly thank you for your business. Now, more than ever, our customers' loyalty is so deeply appreciated by every member of the United family.

As essential workers, the men and women of our airline have been hard at work over the past two months to transport vital medical supplies and critical goods to places that need them most, to provide free travel to healthcare professionals and to help thousands of individuals repatriate to their home countries.

Safety has always been our top priority, and right now in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, it's our singular customer focus. We recognize that COVID-19 has brought cleanliness and hygiene standards to the front of your mind when making travel decisions. We're not leaving a single stone unturned in our pursuit to protect our customers and employees.

We are installing plexiglass in lobby and gate areas, we're using the same equipment used to clean hospitals to disinfect the interiors of our aircraft, all crew and customers on board are required to wear face mask coverings and we're taking the temperature of our employees before they start work.

But at United, we're not stopping there. We're teaming up with experts from Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to set a new standard for cleanliness and healthy flying that we are calling United CleanPlus℠.

Clorox is working closely with us to improve how we disinfect common surfaces and provide our customers with amenities that support a healthy and safe environment.

Physicians and scientists at the Cleveland Clinic, will advise us on new technologies and approaches, assist in training development and create a rigorous quality assurance program. And, as scientists learn more about how to fight COVID-19, Cleveland Clinic experts will help us use those discoveries to quickly implement new ways to keep our customers safe.

While we may not know when this pandemic will subside, what we do know is that travel is so deeply woven into the fabric of our global culture. We all desire to visit family, dance at a friend's wedding, hug parents…and see the wonders of this beautiful world. No matter how sharp the picture quality – or how strong the WiFi signal – there's simply no substitute for being there – in person – to collaborate, celebrate, explore. We are confident that travel will return. And when it does, United Airlines will be ready to serve you again in the friendly skies.

Thank you. Be well. And I look forward to seeing you on board.

Scroll to top