The 6 Best Places to Travel This Spring - United Hub
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The 6 best places to travel this spring

By The Hub team, April 05, 2017

You don't have to be a student to treat yourself to spring break. Whether you're searching for art and culture, outdoor adventure or food and wine, here are six amazing vacations to take while you're waiting for the summer sunshine to kick in.

Budapest, Hungary

Confession: Until we visited Budapest, we didn't think much of it. But we were immediately enamored of this jaw-dropping city with its medieval castles, art-nouveau buildings and chain bridges glistening over the Danube River. Beginning in April, temperatures rise to the mid 60s—perfect weather for exploring the city by foot, climbing up scenic Buda Castle, dipping in the thermal baths (Széchenyi was our favorite) and sipping Tokajwine alfresco. The best part of all? It's insanely cheap, so you can feast on goulash and stuffed cabbage at Hungarikum Bisztro for pocket change.

Kuromon Ichiba Market in Osaka, Japanxavierarnau/Getty Images

Osaka, Japan

While often overshadowed by Tokyo, Osaka, the third-largest city in Japan, deserves the spotlight…especially for foodies. It is, after all, the culinary capital of Japan, boasting everything from opulent, Michelin-starred restaurants to out-of-this-world street food (think: rice balls wrapped in nori, savory pancakes loaded with pork belly and vegetables and deep-fried meat skewers that will make your head spin). If you're going to splurge, make it the 14-course meal at Fujiya 1935. And don't leave without a visit to Kuromon Ichiba Market, where Osaka's chefs buy ingredients like uni and Kobe beef.

Aerial view of Douro Valley in PortugalLight-Lab/Getty Images

Douro Valley, Portugal

It's a bold statement, but the Douro Valley might be the most underrated wine region in the world (and also possibly the most stunning). Located in northern Portugal, just an hour east of Porto, the Douro River snakes through miles of lush, terraced vineyards. By July and August, the hot, dry weather can be oppressive, but springtime is gorgeous. Go wine tasting with a view at Quinta do Crasto and Quinta das Carvalhas, where you can try full-bodied reds like Touriga Nacional and fresh, fruit-forward white blends made from the native Rabigato and Viosinho grapes.

View of the colorful architecture in Sicily, ItalyVvoeVale/Getty Images

Sicily, Italy

An Italian summer getaway sounds romantic and dreamy, but in reality, it's a zoo: Hotels are exorbitant, the lines for gelato are endless and every beach chair on the Amalfi Coast is taken by 9 a.m. Our plan: Visit the majestic island of Sicily before high season hits. The island is a mishmash of cultures, and everything from the architecture to the cuisine shows Greek, Arab and Spanish influence. In Palermo, medieval streets and colorful markets meet lemon trees and terra-cotta-walled cafés, while in the undeveloped Aeolian Islands, you can hike volcanoes and snorkel in the dizzyingly blue Tyrrhenian Sea.

Great Smoky Mountains in TennesseeWerksMedia/Getty Images

Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee

For outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers, Great Smoky Mountains are a dream come springtime. In April, the vistas of the Blue Ridge Parkway burst into color with wildflowers, and the weather is mild and breezy. Renting a place in the friendly town of Gatlinburg is a great option for budget travelers or, for a splurge, consider Blackberry Farm, a stunning wellness and culinary retreat just minutes from the mountains in the town of Walland.

Stretch of the coastline in Oaxaca, MexicoJcarillet/Getty Images

Oaxaca, Mexico

The state of Oaxaca in southwest Mexico is a far cry from the busy beaches of Cancun or Cabo. Though still on the fringes, it's a blossoming, culturally rich city, home to museums, colorful crafts, baroque churches and impressive Spanish colonial architecture. It also boasts one of the most exciting food scenes in all of Mexico. (Think: barbacoa, tamales and grilled masa cakes covered in mole sauce.) Want some downtime? The laid-back beaches of Mazunte and Puerto Escondido and the resort town of Huatulco are three incredible stretches of Pacific coastline.

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Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

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