United Airlines: Now playing in a city near you - United Hub

United Airlines: Now playing in a city near you

By Janet Lamkin, September 26, 2019

When I came to United two years ago, I came here knowing that I had the opportunity to be part of an exciting new chapter in this airline's history.

United had already begun focusing more than ever on customer needs and on what our CEO Oscar Munoz called "de-stressing the travel experience." There was a sense that we were going to change the airline industry, and I couldn't wait to do my part, particularly for our customers here in California.

As United's California president, my team and I are responsible for making sure that United stays connected to the needs and values of the customers here. And it's more than flying people from point A to point B. It's also using our collective voice to advocate for things like diversity and inclusion in the workplace and doing things like reducing our carbon footprint for the future of our planet. It also means helping strengthen our underserved communities.

I was raised in Stockton, a place that, though I left it, has never left me. People often don't realize that the Central Valley is almost like a state within a state – an enormous area with a significant population, a rich culture, its own economy and its own unique needs that sometimes get overlooked in favor of the larger coastal cities.

So, when I arrived at United two years ago, I asked, "What do customers here need?" The simple answer was: connectivity and convenience. For too long, places like Stockton, Bakersfield and Fresno were virtually ignored by major airlines. If you lived in Redding, for instance, and you wanted to visit Beijing, you had to drive all the way to San Francisco. Who wants to do that before boarding a 12-hour flight?

With that in mind, my team and I have worked closely with United's Network Planning group over the past couple of years, building off of their expansion strategy for California. Our guiding principle was that the people who live in smaller cities deserve the same opportunities to easily fly where they want to, just like the people who live in the bigger metropolises. From Stockton alone, we can now connect local customers to more than 60 domestic and international destinations via LAX, which is something I'm thrilled to say.

We also recognized that people in other parts of the state and the country also want to visit smaller cities in California, and they want to do business in those places. Again, Stockton is a terrific example of that. A L.A.-based tech company recently opened a satellite data center there due, in part, to United's flights between Stockton Metropolitan Airport and LAX. It's worth noting that we are the only airline offering this service, so I like to think we contributed in a small way to that important economic boon for the city.

Being from Stockton, you can imagine how proud that makes me feel. When I spoke at the Inland California Rising Summit last week, I expressed that pride and reiterated how important our community is to United. But Stockton is not alone in that respect.

Our airline now serves more destinations in California than any other carrier. That is by design. Our Los Angeles and San Francisco hubs are integral to United's success, but we want to be California's hometown airline, and that extends to the towns beyond the Bay Area and greater L.A.

United has placed me in a unique position to help make that a reality, and I couldn't be more excited about how we're expanding, particularly in the Central Valley. Not only can we fly these customers to amazing destinations, we can fuel economic expansion and other opportunities where they live. When that happens, it's a win-win.

Whether it be technology, entertainment or agriculture, California is always looking for the next big thing. We're no different at United, only in the case of California, the smaller cities are the next big thing. Wherever our customers are, that's where we'll be.

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.

Scroll to top