Charmed by Southern Africa - United Hub
Amazing destination

Charmed by Southern Africa

By The Hub team, July 19, 2019

Each week we profile one of our employee's adventures across the globe, featuring a new location for every employee's story. Follow along every week to learn more about their travel experiences.

By San Franciso Customer Service Representative, Leonida Esquieres

Two years of preparation for this adventure brought my family and close friends to southern Africa. Since this is the farthest destination we've ever planned, we decided to cover at least three neighboring countries — South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana — to save on travel. We weren't sure what to expect from these places, but surprisingly, it turned out to be the most amazing adventure. Our long journey from the U.S. (33 hours) brought us first to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. To get there, you could fly to many of United's European destinations and then take Star Alliance partner airlines to get to Africa. (Later this year you'll be able to fly nonstop from Newark to Cape Town)

Victoria Falls

Zimbabwe

Our first stop was the city of Victoria Falls, home to the famous, spectacular and most beautiful waterfall also called Victoria Falls. It is referred to as "The Smoke that Thunders" and is one of Earth's greatest spectacles, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world as well as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Made up of a series of gorges and falls, the size and power of this massive body of water is awe-inspiring. As we planned to witness the "lunar rainbow," which only happens during a full moon, we scheduled to go at that time. The lunar rainbow can be seen for three nights of each lunar cycle during the full moon. The moon bow is created by the mist of the falls as light from the moon is refracted by water particles, creating a rainbow effect. Although it is something extraordinary, I must say that it was more fun to see the falls at day time while getting drenched from the thick mist.

The next day's highlight was the much-anticipated Zambezi River sunset cruise. What could be better than an open bar sunset cruise while soaking up the beauty of Africa? As we drifted along the river we admired the splashes of color that the setting sun painted in the sky as well as watched the wildlife in the serenity of this place. At the end of the cruise we tasted unique cuisines such as impala meat, buffalo meat and worms (yes, worms) at Boma restaurant.

Botswana

A short and easy trip from Zimbabwe, Botswana makes for a great trip to this and a wonderful safari destination. It's an astonishing place and home to amazing wildlife. We did both a Thebe River boat safari and a mobile safari through Chobe National Park. The river safari was entertaining and is an authentic Botswanan experience. Chobe is famous for its large population of elephants and one of the best wildlife destinations in the world, which overwhelmed us as we tried to capture photos of all of the amazing animals in sight. The baby animals were so cute, glued close to their mothers or underneath them. What a sheer display of wildlife in their natural habitat. A herd of buffalos swimming across mini islands, sunbathing crocodiles, hippos in the bank, a herd of kudus under the trees, families of monkeys with babies hanging underneath mothers along our relaxing river cruise — we saw it all. The baby elephants were so adorable you'd want to take them home.

From Zimbabwe we flew on our Star Alliance partner South African Airways (SA) to Johannesburg, our point of entry into South Africa.

South Africa, the rainbow nation

I have put off South Africa for too long, to my regret now. Admittedly, I was worried by its reputation for crime and discouraged by the distance. But my experience proved otherwise — the people were very nice, it was peaceful everywhere we went and the scenery is so beautiful it makes the long distance worth it.

After a night's rest in Johannesburg, we headed to Cradle of Humankind, renowned as the birthplace of humanity. The Sterkfontein Caves in the Cradle of Humankind put the origins of humans into perspective and gave an intriguing look into our collective past. It is here that some of the most important fossils were found. The network of limestone caves and old mines at Sterkfontein today hold one of the most renowned paleontological sites in the world, made famous by a breakthrough in 1947 when an almost perfect adult skull nicknamed "Mrs. Ples" was found. The skull dates back 2 million years, providing valuable evidence for the origins of human evolution in Africa.

A monkey at Kruger National Park
A kudos at Kruger National Park

Our next stop was Kruger National Park for more wilderness sightings during a safari on a jeep. There, we witnessed a hyena family, leopards, lions, zebras, giraffes, kudus, buffalos, monkeys roaming on the streets stealing fruits or chasing us, and more elephants. What's more interesting is where we stayed for a couple of nights, called Hippo Hollow Country Estate, which offers cute chalet bungalows and a resident hippo roaming in the backyard. I swear it was near our chalet one night making loud noises.

On our third day we went to a place called God's Window on the Drakensberg escarpment in Mpumalanga, which is known as Paradise Country. God's Window is so called gets its name because of the panoramic view that it offers of the Lowveld, located more than 900 meters below with lush forest clad ravine. Despite the fog during our early morning visit, the incredible view was still marvelous and so enigmatic.

View overlooking Cape Town

By the time we reached our main destination of Cape Town, we were hooked. South Africa's beauty is incomparable with any other countries we've seen. We filled our five days here (not enough) climbing Table Mountain with an incredible sweeping view of the city. Flanked by Devil's Peak and Lion's Head, Table Mountain makes up the northern end of the Cape Fold Mountain range. Legend has it that the tablecloth of clouds that pours over the mountain when the southeaster blows is the result of a smoking contest between the devil and a retired sea captain, Jan van Hunks. Blessed with crisp blue skies, we rode in a cable car and enjoyed the spectacular view from the peak.

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town is situated on the Atlantic shore and offers a breathtaking view of Table Mountain and the ocean, making it a relaxing place to chill. We took a ferry to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The legacy of apartheid is still very clearly visible and it was touching. Robben Island, the unique symbol of "the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice" with a rich 500-year-old multi-layered history, represents an important aspect of South Africa's history.

The colorful homes in Cape Town

Bo-Kaap is one of the most photographed places in Cape Town so we weren't going to miss it. This place was formerly called the Malay Quarter when the colorful houses called "huurhuisjes" were built and rented to slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia and other African countries. It was told that while leased these houses were white and when that law was lifted — and they were allowed to buy the houses — they painted them bright colors as an expression of their freedom. They are indeed very attractive and unique.

Ready for some African wine? Western Cape is your spot. The Cape Winelands is a region of the Western Cape Province and is home to world-class vineyards of South Africa. We had a wonderful wine tasting experience with views of the mountains surrounding the vineyards. We also stopped at Cape of Good Hope, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet offering stunning views of the sea, flora and fauna. It was a dream come true to reach the most south-western point of the African Continent. Along our way on each stop were smaller charming Victorian villages, which were adorable and gave us a different perspective on South Africa that you wouldn't feel anywhere else in the world. A visit to Seal Island and Boulders Beach, where you can spot African penguins, were an added bonus.

Finding splendid beauty and wilderness in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana changed our perspective. Southern Africa offers dramatic mountain ranges, golden coast lines, wildlife, vibrant cities and centuries of history. It's amazing and worth traveling 30-plus hours to. I'm really looking forward to our Cape Town service starting in December.

United named to Year Up Opportunity Hall of Fame

By The Hub team, September 17, 2020

Since its launch 20 years ago, Year Up, one of our critical needs grant recipients, has helped more than 10,000 young adults gain access to corporate business and technical experience at large companies like United while offering the invaluable perspectives they bring with them.

On Wednesday, the nonprofit inducted United into its Opportunity Hall of Fame – a selection that occurs once every five years.

Year Up's mission is to help close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Since 2018, our partnership has allowed talented student learners the opportunity to gain corporate business experience and technical skill training at the airline while bringing their unique perspectives to our United family and culture. One of those students is Emily Lopez, who graduated from the Year Up program in January 2019 and was hired to be part of the United family as an analyst in Revenue Management.

"I moved from Venezuela to the United States in July 2016 and being a young immigrant with no resources can be difficult to pursue a career in a new country," said Emily.

After learning about Year Up and ultimately being accepted into the program, Emily landed an internship with United, an opportunity she is very grateful for.

Emily Lopez - Analyst, Pricing & Revenue Management

"Feedback from my mentors, coaches and managers was key during my internship phase and helped me convert my internship at United to a full-time position. I am grateful for the opportunity United has provided me and my Year Up Alumni colleagues to keep building a professional career within the company. I am so excited to continue building a professional career with the company and to see United being inducted to Year Up's Hall of Fame. Let's continue closing the opportunity divide!" said Emily.

Although the coronavirus pandemic has made this year's partnership a bit more difficult, we continue to do our part to support the Year Up student learners. Last month, we surprised 145 graduates of this year's Year Up Chicago program with roundtrip tickets to pursue career and networking opportunities within the United States.

"I've been personally honored and inspired to be an advocate for Year Up since I joined United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "This program gives young people from challenged backgrounds an opportunity to get their foot in the door as interns at United. This year's graduates are entering a challenging job landscape, but we have one thing that can help: a route network that provides easy access to major business markets across the United States."

United Airlines Strengthens Global Network, Adding New Nonstops to Africa, India and Hawaii

By United Newsroom, September 09, 2020

CHICAGO, Sept. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to expand its global route network with new nonstop service to Africa, India and Hawaii. With these new routes, United will offer more nonstop service to India and South Africa than any other U.S. carrier and remains the largest carrier between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii.

Starting this December, United will fly daily between Chicago and New Delhi and, starting in spring 2021, United will become the only airline to operate between San Francisco and Bangalore, India and between Newark/New York and Johannesburg. United will also introduce new service between Washington, D.C., and Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria in late spring of 2021. In the summer of 2021, United will fly nonstops four times weekly between Chicago and Kona and between Newark/New York and Maui. And starting this week, United, the airline offering more nonstop service to Israel than any other U.S. carrier, begins new nonstop service between Chicago and Tel Aviv, the only carrier to offer this service.

United's newly announced international routes are subject to government approval and tickets will be available for purchase on united.com and the United app in the coming weeks.

"Now is the right time to take a bold step in evolving our global network to help our customers reconnect with friends, family and colleagues around the world," said Patrick Quayle, United's vice president of International Network and Alliances. "These new nonstop routes provide shorter travel times and convenient one-stop connections from across the United States, demonstrating United's continued innovative and forward-looking approach to rebuilding our network to meet the travel needs of our customers."

Offering nonstop service to three new destinations in Africa

United will become the only U.S. carrier serving Accra nonstop from Washington, D.C. and the only airline to serve Lagos nonstop from Washington, D.C., with three weekly flights to each destination beginning in late spring 2021. The Washington metropolitan area has the second-largest population of Ghanaians in the United States, and Lagos is the largest Western African destination from the United States. Now, with 65 different U.S. cities connecting through Washington Dulles, United will offer convenient one-stop connections to Western Africa.

United already provides seasonal, three-times-weekly service between Newark/New York and Cape Town. By adding new daily nonstop flights between Newark/New York and Johannesburg in spring 2021, the airline will operate more flights to South Africa than any other U.S. carrier, and will offer the only roundtrip, nonstop service from the United States to Johannesburg by a U.S carrier. These routes also offer easy connections for customers traveling to South Africa from more than 50 U.S. cities.

New nonstops to India from two U.S. cities

United has served India with nonstop service for 15 years and now builds on its existing service to New Delhi and Mumbai with two new routes. Beginning December 2020, United will introduce new nonstop service between Chicago and New Delhi and, for the first time ever, United customers will be able to travel nonstop between San Francisco and Bangalore starting spring 2021. Chicago has the second highest population of Indian-Americans in the United States, and customers from more than 130 U.S. cities can connect on United through O'Hare International Airport. Service from San Francisco to Bangalore connects two international technology hubs, broadening United's west coast service to India, which also includes San Francisco to New Delhi.

New nonstop service between Chicago and Tel Aviv

Beginning, Thursday, Sept. 10, United will start brand-new three-times-weekly nonstop service between Chicago and Tel Aviv. In addition to Chicago, United currently operates nonstop service between Tel Aviv and its hubs in Newark/New York and San Francisco and will resume service between Washington and Tel Aviv in October. The airline operates more nonstop service between the United States and Israel than any U.S. airline.

United expanding Hawaii service to the Midwest and East Coast

As customers look to resume leisure travel options, United will make it easier than ever to travel nonstop to Maui and Kona for the 2021 summer season. With the addition of new flights between both Newark/New York and Maui and Chicago and Kona, United will provide customers in the Midwest and U.S. East Coast with even faster and more convenient service to the Hawaiian Islands than any other airline.

United's New Flights



Destination

United Hub

Service

Season Start

Africa

Accra, Ghana

IAD

3x/week, 787-8

Spring 2021

Lagos, Nigeria

IAD

3x/week, 787-8

Spring 2021

Johannesburg, South Africa

EWR

Daily, 787-9

Spring 2021






India

Bangalore, India

SFO

Daily, 787-9

Spring 2021

New Delhi, India

ORD

Daily, 787-9

Winter 2020






Hawaii

Kahului, Maui

EWR

4x/week, 767-300ER

Summer 2021

Kona, Hawaii

ORD

4x/week, 787-8

Summer 2021


The United Travel Experience

United's new trans-Atlantic flights will operate with Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft featuring United Polaris® business class, a premium travel experience that prioritizes relaxation and comfort with features that include everything from custom, luxury bedding from Saks Fifth Avenue and restaurant-quality, multi-course inflight dining to premium amenity kits and full flat-bed seats.

United's new service between Chicago and Kona will operate with Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft and service between New York/Newark and Maui will operate with Boeing 767-300ER aircraft.

Committed to Ensuring a Safe Journey

United is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront of every customer's journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness through its United CleanPlusSM program. United has teamed up with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic to redefine cleaning and health safety procedures from check-in to landing and has implemented more than a dozen new policies, protocols and innovations designed with the safety of customers and employees in mind, including:

  • Requiring all travelers – including crew members – to wear face coverings.
  • Using HEPA filters – in the air and during the entire boarding and deplaning process - to circulate air and remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles.
  • Using electrostatic spraying before departure for enhanced cabin sanitation.
  • Using ultraviolet lighting technology on pilot flight decks to further disinfect the aircraft interior.
  • During check-in, requiring customers to acknowledge they do not have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Offering customers a touchless baggage check-in experience.
  • Boarding fewer customers at a time, from the back of the plane to the front, to allow for more social distancing.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

United Airlines Holdings Extends Leading Commitment To Diversity In The Board Room

By United Newsroom, September 09, 2020

CHICAGO, Sept. 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines Holdings, Inc. (UAL) today announced that as part of its overall commitment to recruit and develop more diverse talent to better serve customers, its Board of Directors expects to add a second Black board member. The Board of Directors collectively agreed last December to further diversify the board, conduct a search and recruit an additional Black board member.

"As the first Latino to lead a major airline, I know from experience that a company can only truly thrive if those at the top are as diverse as the customers, communities and employees they serve - starting with the boardroom," said Oscar Munoz, Executive Chairman "It's a matter of competitiveness as well as conscience. That's why I am proud we are continuing our long-standing efforts to further diversify our board leadership to help lead United into the future."

In addition to this commitment, United today also signed on to The Board Challenge, a movement among companies looking to accelerate change. United, like other Charter Pledge Partners, currently has a diverse board including one Black board member and is encouraging other corporations to do the same. The company and its Board of Directors believe that diverse leadership improves its ability to serve the millions of customers who choose to fly United across the globe.

"Change comes from the top, and by making this commitment, we will expand and diversify the leaders that are helping to guide United forward during some of the toughest challenges we have faced," said Scott Kirby, CEO. "As our search progresses, I am reminded of the wealth of untapped diverse talent that is out there and the ongoing responsibility that we, as corporate leaders, have to confront systemic racism head-on and actively recruit this talent at all levels of our organizations."

About United
United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter and Instagram or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United's parent, United Airlines Holdings, Inc., is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

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