Captain Surprises Military Son on Flight Home from Deployment - United Hub

Captain surprises military son on flight home from deployment

By The Hub team, April 26, 2016

Story, image and video by: United Airlines IAD 777 Captain Mario Lopes

Washington D.C. based Captain Mario Lopes was recently presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the captain of the military charter that brought his son back from deployment overseas in the armed forces. Mario's son was stationed in Kuwait on a multinational support mission and was scheduled to return home on April 14. Shortly after speaking to his son about his return date, Mario saw an available opportunity on a military flight that was slated to arrived in Norfolk, Virginia on the same day and at the same time. "I told my wife that this couldn't be a coincidence. No one could confirm or deny if he would actually be a passenger on my aircraft, but I knew I had to take the chance and find out," said Mario.

Words cannot describe how meaningful it was to have that moment with my son. I cannot thank everyone enough for their support. It was my most memorable flight in my 27 years with United, and, while I can't say for certain, I'm pretty positive nothing will ever beat that."

To pull off the surprise, Mario decided to pick up the flight without telling anyone other than his wife. He briefed the flight crew before anyone boarded and laid out a plan to divert his son's attention. He even enlisted the help of his wife by having her bake her son's favorite cookies. The entire crew helped out by concealing Mario from his son until he made his surprise entrance before the start of the flight. "I came up behind him and said, 'First Lieutenant Lopes! What are you doing on my aircraft?' He turned around, and we immediately embraced for quite some time after he realized it was me," said Mario."

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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