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 Plans Largest Transatlantic Expansion in its History, Including 10 New Flights and Five New Destinations Debuting Summer 2022

Airline sets course to destinations not served by any other North American carrier in Amman, Jordan; Azores, Portugal; Bergen, Norway; Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Tenerife, Spain
By United Newsroom, October 14, 2021

CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United today announced the largest transatlantic expansion in its history, including 10 new flights and five new, vogue destinations – Amman, Jordan; Bergen, Norway; Azores, Portugal; Palma de Mallorca, Spain and Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Islands. All of the new routes – which are set to begin in Spring 2022 – are not served by any other North American carrier. Additionally, next year, United will add new flights to five popular European destinations: Berlin, Dublin, Milan, Munich and Rome. Lastly, United will launch seven routes that were interrupted due to the pandemic to Bangalore, Frankfurt, Tokyo's Haneda Airport, Nice and Zurich. Flights are subject to government approval.

"Given our big expectations for a rebound in travel to Europe for summer, this is the right time to leverage our leading global network in new, exciting ways," said Patrick Quayle, senior vice president of international network and alliances at United. "Our expansion offers the widest range of destinations to discover – introducing new, trendy locales that our customers will love, as well as adding more flights to iconic, popular cities."

Amman, Jordan

United will begin new capital to capital service between Washington, D.C. and Amman, Jordan starting May 5. Customers will be able to explore the numerous historical sites in and around Amman, as well as visit Jordan's other top destinations including Petra, the Dead Sea and the Wadi Rum desert. United will be the only North American carrier flying direct to Amman with service three times weekly with a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner.

Ponta Delgada, Azores, Portugal

United will add a third Portuguese destination to its global network with brand new flights between New York/Newark and Ponta Delgada in the Azores beginning May 13. The carrier will offer the most flights between the U.S. and Portugal of any North American airline and will be the only airline to fly to the Azores from the New York metro area. This daily service joins United's existing flights to Porto, which will return in March, and Lisbon, which the airline is currently operating from New York/Newark and will resume from Washington, D.C. next summer. United will fly a brand-new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft featuring United's new signature interior with enhanced seat back entertainment with Bluetooth connectivity and overhead bin space for every customer.

Bergen, Norway

Beginning May 20, United will become the only U.S. carrier to fly to Norway with flights launching between New York/Newark and Bergen. United will offer three times weekly service on a Boeing 757-200, allowing customers to experience Bergen's surrounding mountainous landscape and breathtaking fjords. United will be the only carrier to fly to Bergen from the U.S.

Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, Spain

United is expanding its Spanish beach getaway destinations with three times weekly flights between New York/Newark and Palma de Mallorca in the Balearic Islands, launching June 2 with a Boeing 767-300ER. This will be the first and only flight between the U.S. and Mallorca and will add to United's existing service to Madrid and Barcelona.

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

Travelers looking for an additional new beach destination can enjoy the stunning black and white sand beaches of Spain's Canary Islands with United's new flight from New York/Newark to Tenerife. United will be the only airline to fly direct between the Canary Islands and North America with three-times weekly service launching June 9 with a Boeing 757-200. Along with the new service to Palma de Mallorca, United will fly to more Spanish destinations from North America than any other airline.

Expanded European Service

United is also adding flights to some of Europe's most iconic cities in anticipation of a resurgence in visitors. Next spring United will add:

  • New daily flights between Denver and Munich – joining existing service from Denver to Frankfurt and London which is expected to resume in March. United is the only U.S. airline to offer transatlantic service from Denver.
  • New daily flights between Chicago and Milan, joining existing seasonal flights between Chicago and Rome. United will be the only airline to offer a direct flight between Chicago and Milan, adding to its existing service between New York/Newark and Milan.
  • New daily capital to capital service between Washington, D.C. and Berlin, joining our other service to Berlin from New York/Newark. United is the only U.S. airline with direct flights to Berlin.
  • An additional daily flight from New York/Newark to Dublin and Rome.

In addition to these new routes, United will begin seven routes that were interrupted by the pandemic:

  • Daily flights between San Francisco and Bangalore beginning May 26
  • Daily flights between New York/Newark and Nice beginning April 29
  • A second daily flight between New York/Newark and Frankfurt beginning April 23
  • Daily flights between Chicago and Zurich beginning April 23
  • Flights from Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and New York/Newark to Tokyo's Haneda airport by March 26

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. To manage entry requirements in different destinations, and find places to get tests, customer can visit United's Travel Ready Center.

United Next

United is more focused than ever on its commitment to customers and employees. In addition to today's announcement, United has recently:

  • Launched an ambitious plan to transform the United customer experience by adding and upgrading hundreds of aircraft as well as investing in features like larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry's fastest available Wi-Fi.
  • Announced a goal to create 25,000 unionized jobs by 2026 that includes careers as pilots, flight attendants, agents, technicians, and dispatchers.
  • Announced that United will train at least 5,000 pilots by 2030 through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of color.
  • Required all U.S. employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Became the first airline to offer customers the ability to check their destination's travel requirements, schedule COVID-19 tests and more on its mobile app and website. 
  • Invested in emerging technologies that are designed to decarbonize air travel, like an agreement to work with urban air mobility company Archer, an investment in aircraft startup Heart Aerospace and a purchase agreement with Boom Supersonic.
  • Committed to going 100% green by 2050 by reducing 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, including a recent agreement to  purchase one and a half times the amount of all of the rest of the world's airlines' publicly announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel commitments combined.
  • Eliminated change fees for all economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United has the most comprehensive route network among North American carriers, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.  For more about how to join the United team, please visit united.com/careers and more information about the company is at united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc. is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, 872.825.8640, media.relations@united.com

United Announces Promotions and Leadership Changes in Network Planning and Procurement

United promotes Ankit Gupta to SVP of Domestic Planning and United Express, Patrick Quayle to SVP International Network and Alliances
By United Newsroom, October 11, 2021

CHICAGO, Oct. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced the promotion of Ankit Gupta to Senior Vice President of Domestic Planning and United Express, and Patrick Quayle to Senior Vice President International Network and Alliances. Both Gupta and Quayle will continue to report directly to Andrew Nocella, United's Chief Commercial Officer.

In addition to these promotions, United also named former United Express Senior Vice President Sarah Murphy to lead the airline's new Global Sourcing organization as Senior Vice President of Global Sourcing and Chief Procurement Officer. Murphy will now report to Gerry Laderman, United's Chief Financial Officer.

Ankit Gupta

"As we work to deliver the best customer experience in North America with a dramatic increase in premium seats, Ankit's leadership in developing the United Next vision has us poised to exceed our customers' expectations as we meet the resurgence in air travel," said Nocella. "He has helped us execute network strategies that would ordinarily take years to develop in a matter of months. And as we play an ongoing and key role in the U.S. economic recovery, we will continue to shape our domestic network with a fleet that spans the CRJ-550 to cutting-edge mainline narrowbody aircraft."

Gupta, formerly Vice President of Network Planning and Scheduling, will now assume responsibility for the operation and strategy of the United Express network in addition to leading the domestic planning team. By linking the United Express operation more closely with the airline's domestic planning team, United expects to better optimize its network and deliver a better, more consistent experience with the products and services it offers.

Patrick Quayle

"Patrick continues to be instrumental in enhancing the alliances that benefit both United and our partners by helping us reach destinations each carrier is unable to serve with its fleet alone," said Nocella. "He led the design and interior configuration for more than 1,000 of our aircraft, including United Polaris, United Premium Plus and our high-premium Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and continues to reshape our network in the midst of a radically different demand environment, making the most of rapidly changing economic and passenger trends."

Quayle, also a former Vice President on United's network planning team, played a key role for the airline through the pandemic, leading the airline from just 10 daily international flights in early 2020 to now becoming the flag carrier of the U.S. as the largest international carrier in the country, with the largest trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific networks, as well as holding the position as the number one carrier to Central America.

Sarah Murphy

As the new leader of the Global Sourcing team, Murphy will leverage her experience leading teams in United's finance and operating groups and will build upon the procurement team's track record of success in driving efficiencies among the airline's vendors and suppliers to deliver for United's employees, customers and the communities it serves.

"With Sarah's extensive operating and capital budget expertise, and her deep knowledge of our operations, she is uniquely positioned to enhance our ability to source the goods and services we need in order to transform the customer experience and change the way people think about United while protecting the company's bottom line," said Laderman.

United Next

United is more focused than ever on its commitment to customers and employees. In addition to today's announcement, United has recently:

  • Launched an ambitious plan to transform the United customer experience by adding and upgrading hundreds of aircraft as well as investing in features like larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry's fastest available Wi-Fi.
  • Announced a goal to create 25,000 unionized jobs by 2026 that includes careers as pilots, flight attendants, agents, technicians, and dispatchers.
  • Announced that United will train at least 5,000 pilots by 2030 through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of color.
  • Required all U.S. employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Became the first airline to offer customers the ability to check their destination's travel requirements, schedule COVID-19 tests and more on its mobile app and website. 
  • Invested in emerging technologies that are designed to decarbonize air travel, like an agreement to work with urban air mobility company Archer, an investment in aircraft startup Heart Aerospace and a purchase agreement with Boom Supersonic.
  • Committed to going 100% green by 2050 by reducing 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, including a recent agreement to  purchase one and a half times the amount of all of the rest of the world's airlines' publicly announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel commitments combined.
  • Eliminated change fees for all economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United has the most comprehensive route network among North American carriers, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.  For more about how to join the United team, please visit united.com/careers and more information about the company is at united.com. 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 Plans Largest Domestic Schedule Since March 2020

December schedule includes new connections between the Midwest and warm weather cities like Las Vegas and Orlando as well as nearly 70 daily flights to ski destinations, including new service between Orange County and Aspen
By United Newsroom, October 07, 2021

CHICAGO, Oct. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United today announced that it will fly its biggest domestic schedule since the start of the pandemic to meet an expected surge in holiday travel, with an emphasis on connecting the Midwest to warm weather cities like Las Vegas and Orlando as well as offering nearly 70 daily flights to ski destinations, including new service between Orange County and Aspen.

According to United, holiday travel flight searches on united.com and the airline's app are up 16%, compared to 2019. The airline expects the busiest travel days for the Thanksgiving holiday will be Wednesday, November 24 and Sunday, November 28, while popular days for winter holiday travel are expected to be Thursday, December 23 and Sunday, January 2.

The airline plans to offer more than 3,500 daily domestic flights in December, representing 91% of its domestic capacity compared to 2019.

"We're seeing a lot of pent-up demand in our data and are offering a December schedule that centers on the two things people want most for the holidays: warm sunshine and fresh snow," said Ankit Gupta, vice president of network planning and scheduling at United. "We know families and friends are eager to reunite this holiday season, which is why we're thrilled to add new flights that will help them connect and celebrate together."

In December, United will begin new direct flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix from Cleveland, and to Orlando from Indianapolis. The carrier also will resume eight popular direct flights from Midwest cities, including routes to Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando and Tampa, offering the most mainline departures the airline has flown from Cleveland since 2014 including direct service to Nassau and Cancun. United will offer up to 195 daily flights to 12 destinations in Florida this winter, the most flights to the Sunshine State in company history. United is also resuming direct flights from Columbus, Indianapolis, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh to Fort Myers – which were some of the airline's most popular point-to-point flights last winter.

Customers who prefer fresh powder can enjoy more flights to ski destinations with United than any other carrier. The airline offers 66 daily flights to over a dozen ski destinations across the U.S., including brand new service beginning this December between Orange County and Aspen. This winter season, United will have flights to Aspen/Snowmass, Bishop/Mammoth, Bozeman/Big Sky, Eagle/Vail, Kalispell, Gunnison/Crested Butte, Hayden/Steamboat Springs, Jackson Hole, Montrose/Telluride, Reno/Tahoe, Sun Valley from its hub airports.

Earlier this year, United announced that it will add 150 flights to warm-weather destinations this winter season. All of these flights and more are available now on united.com and United's mobile app.

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 CleanPlus℠ 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. Customers can review COVID-19 entry requirements, find local testing options and upload any required testing and vaccination records for domestic and international travel, all in United's Travel Ready Center. United was the first airline to integrate all these features into its mobile app and website.

United Next

United is more focused than ever on its commitment to customers and employees. In addition to today's announcement, United has recently:

  • Launched an ambitious plan to transform the United customer experience by adding and upgrading hundreds of aircraft as well as investing in features like larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry's fastest available Wi-Fi.
  • Announced a goal to create 25,000 unionized jobs by 2026 that includes careers as pilots, flight attendants, agents, technicians, and dispatchers.
  • Announced that United will train at least 5,000 pilots by 2030 through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of color.
  • Required all U.S. employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Became the first airline to offer customers the ability to check their destination's travel requirements, schedule COVID-19 tests and more on its mobile app and website.
  • Invested in emerging technologies that are designed to decarbonize air travel, like an agreement to work with urban air mobility company Archer, an investment in aircraft startup Heart Aerospace and a purchase agreement with Boom Supersonic.
  • Committed to going 100% green by 2050 by reducing 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, including a recent agreement to purchase one and a half times the amount of all of the rest of the world's airlines' publicly announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel commitments combined.
  • Eliminated change fees for all economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United has the most comprehensive route network among North American carriers, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. For more about how to join the United team, please visit united.com/careers and more information about the company is at united.com. 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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