7 Things All Avgeeks Must Do - United Hub

7 things all AVGeeks must do

By Benét J. Wilson

Aviation geeks, also known as avgeeks, are those who have a passion for the aviation industry. A lot of aviation geeks become fascinated with aviation as children while looking up at planes in the sky. And as they grow up, avgeeks can spend a lifetime discovering ways to explore their love for flying. To give you a head start, here are seven experiences all true aviation geeks should do in his or her lifetime.

aircrafts flying in formation in the sky at an air show.

1. Attend a major air show.

Several air shows are held throughout the year all over the world, offering an exciting experience for spectators, especially aviation enthusiasts. Some of the best ones, however, only occur every other year so make sure to plan accordingly. On even-numbered years, the Singapore Air Show takes place in February and the Farnborough International Airshow in July. While on the other hand, the Paris Air Show occurs on odd-numbered years in June. These three events bring in all of the major commercial aircraft manufacturers and the events give them a chance to show off their airplanes in addition to announcing major deals. To top it off, all three events offer daily air demonstrations that are a mesmerizing sight to see.

2. Fly in a vintage aircraft

All across the country, aviation enthusiasts spend time restoring vintage aircraft to fly themselves and others. One aircraft to consider taking a spin in is the Ford Trimotor, a precursor to the modern passenger aircraft in the skies today. The Experimental Aircraft Association has a restored Trimotor that they fly all over the country. You can buy a seat for $75 for adults and $50 for kids. It's a ride well worth it.

3. Fly on an inaugural flight

Airlines typically go all out when there's a new high-profile flight between two cities. Earlier this year on Jan. 18, United launched service between Houston and Sydney, Australia, making it one of the world's longest flights at 17.5 hours. There was a quick dash by avgeeks to get on the flight, which was launched with great fanfare at our Houston hub.

The inside of a flight simulator

4. Fly an aircraft simulator

The simple, but realistic-feeling machines, usually found at malls or amusement parks can give you a taste of flying to places around the world. But the multimillion-dollar machines used to train commercial aircraft pilots give you a real feel of what it takes to fly a jet. Most of these simulators are used around the clock to train air crews, but there are a handful around the world that customers can fly in.

5. Visit an aircraft manufacturing plant.

One manufacturing plant you'll want to visit is Van's Aircraft, based in Aurora, Oregon, where they make “kit" aircrafts. These aircrafts are built by amateurs from plans or assembly kits made by companies like Van's. If you venture out to Aurora, not only do you get a tour of the facility, but you can take a demo ride in one of their aircrafts for $50. And if you purchase one, they'll refund you the $50.

United Polaris first class seating on our 777-300ER

6. Fly in first or business class

If it is within your budget, it's worth it to fly premium class on a trans-continental or even an international flight in United's Polaris first or business class. The experience begins when you arrive at the airport with a dedicated check-in, a premium airport security checkpoint line and access to a lounge before your flight. You're first to board, and you're sitting in a comfortable seat that turns into a lie-flat bed. Enjoy gourmet meals, fine wines and cocktails, and there's plenty to do with the in-flight entertainment system, including movies, television, music and games. It's an experience not to be missed.

7. Fly on an aircraft's final flight.

There comes a time when an aircraft will be retired from an airline's fleet. Last year, United retired their Boeing 747 “Queen of the Skies" from the fleet, and to celebrate the retirement, they held a special retro event for the final commercial flight from San Francisco to Honolulu. From a party at the gate to a throwback meal from United's previous Trader Vic's menu, the whole event was an unforgettable send-off for an iconic aircraft. Aircraft's final flights don't happen too often so be sure to look out for any opportunities to experience one.

If you go

To start checking off these avgeek experiences from your to do list and plan your first adventure, visit united.com or use the United app.

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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