Banking on Houston - United Hub

Banking on Houston Airport

By Matt Adams, June 27, 2017

Earlier this year, President Scott Kirby spoke with employees about the future of United and our plans to build the best airline for everyone we serve. "To be the best airline in the world, there are two 'must haves': the best people and the best network," he said. Calling United the airline with the "greatest route network potential in the world," we are focused on strengthening our hubs, creating opportunities for future growth and competing aggressively for customers everywhere we fly. Now, we are embarking on a new strategy in Houston that will help us achieve those ends.

For several years, we have operated a schedule of ten "flight banks" at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport, with the hub serving as a connection point primarily for east-to-west routes across the U.S. Beginning this fall, however, we are moving from that model to a consolidated eight-bank structure that connects passengers from all directions, giving us more flexibility to feed aircraft throughout the entire country while maximizing our approximately 90 gates at Houston Airport.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of "banking," think of a bank of flights as a cluster of aircraft that all arrive at a hub at roughly the same time and then depart to different destinations around the spoke. In the past we would see, say, 50 arrivals per bank spread throughout the day. But under the new schedule plan, we'll have eight daily peaks with upwards of 75-80 aircraft arriving at once.

Doing this allows us to improve connectivity for our customers and provide greater access to more destinations across the country. The move is also expected to increase passenger demand in several markets, enabling us to upgauge some United Express flights to larger mainline aircraft, and will result in better utilization of our space at the airport.

To help minimize any negative impact on our operation and employees, our Network Planning team worked closely with Houston Airport's leadership, eliciting feedback from the different operational groups and ensuring that potential pitfalls were addressed.

"We are going to invest in the right assets in Houston so that our employees have the tools they need to be successful under this new configuration," said Mark Nelsen, Operations Network Analysis Senior Manager. "For instance, we're focused on things like making sure the baggage system, our lobbies, TSA and ATC can all handle the increased movement of customers during those eight peaks. We're also adding staffing so that our employees can adequately support larger numbers of flights in each bank."

Additionally, there will be several other areas of investment meant to facilitate the new bank structure, including installing more lobby kiosks and adding ground support equipment.

With more flights, more route options and more available seats in and out of Houston, we are looking to better connect people to the places and moments that matter most. Customers can begin purchasing tickets for flights within the new schedule on June 24 for travel beginning on October 29.

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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