Cure for the Blues - United Hub
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Cure for the blues

By Matt Adams

Employees' honesty restores a musician's faith

Kenny Neal's heart pounded as he retraced his steps through Newark International Airport's Terminal C, desperately looking for his missing bank bag. Over the years, lost money and lost love had been good songwriting fodder for Neal, a Louisiana-based musician known as the "American Bluesman," but this was no time for life to be imitating art. He had a hard-earned 8,500 euros from an overseas gig in that bag, and he couldn't believe it had just vanished into thin air.

With each passing minute, however, the chances of him finding it seemed less and less likely. Finally, out of time and having exhausted his search, Neal accepted defeat and lined up to board his flight to New Orleans. As he waited, he struck up a conversation with United Customer Service Representative Annabelle Nakar and told her of his plight.

"He really felt bad," Nakar recalls. "I asked him if he was ready to board or if he needed more time to look, but he said no, he was ready."

Neal remembers that feeling of bitter disappointment well. "I thought, I might as well get on back to New Orleans, because I'll never see that money again," he says. "I wrote it off as gone."

As the night went on, Nakar couldn't stop thinking about Neal, and she couldn't shake the feeling that maybe, just maybe, his bag was still in the airport waiting to be found. Right before her shift ended at 1:30 a.m., she decided to have one last look around the gate area.

She had just about given up when, out of the corner of her eye, Nakar noticed something underneath a row of seats. She reached down and picked up the small, zippered bag and saw the name "Kenny Neal" written on the outside. When she opened it, her eyes widened at the stack of bills inside.

Nakar headed home for the night, her mind still racing. "When I got to my house, I couldn't sleep," she says. "It was around 2 a.m., and I went upstairs and woke up my son, Nicky. I told him, 'Go on the computer and look for this man, Kenny Neal.' We listened to some of his songs, but we couldn't find a telephone number to call him."

First thing the next morning, Nakar rushed to the airport and enlisted the help of United Airport Operations Supervisor Janet Burnett. It was Burnett who located a phone number for Neal and gave him a call, filling him in on the previous night's miracle. Relieved, Neal offered to take the next flight to Newark to retrieve his bag, but Burnett had a better idea: United Airport Operations Station Support Coordinator Jean Browne would personally deliver it to him in New Orleans.

"That really blew my mind," Neal says. "When Janet called me, I was like, man, this is pretty cool – I didn't believe it. Then when they said they'd put it on a plane and fly it down to me, I just thought, this keeps getting better and better."

Browne met Neal at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and made the handoff, then caught the next flight back home. "He was smiling ear to ear," Browne says. "We took a couple of pictures together, then Mr. Neal said Annabelle and I could come to any of his shows any time we want."

Neal does indeed hope to welcome the two of them as his guests next time he plays the East Coast as a show of gratitude. As he puts it, getting the money back was nice, but more importantly, the experience restored his faith in humanity.

"I can't thank them enough," he says. "It's great to know we still have good, honest people in the world."

United Cargo and logistics partners keep critical medical shipments moving

By The Hub team, July 02, 2020

By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.

United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.

Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.

A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.

United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Celebrating Juneteenth

By United Airlines, June 18, 2020

A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group

Fellow United team members –

Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.

Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.

Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.

Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."

Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.

To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.

Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.

Thank you,

UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)

Leadership Team

Making every step of the travel journey safer for you

By United Airlines, May 20, 2020
United Clean Plus | Clorox

We remain passionate about connecting the world safely

United CleanPlus SM is our commitment to putting health and safety at the forefront of your journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. We're teaming up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures, and over the coming months, we'll roll out Clorox products across our U.S. airports, starting in select locations, to help support a healthy and safe environment, and to provide transparency and choice throughout the travel journey.

At the airport

  • At check-in:

  • 1
    Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
  • 2
    Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
  • 3
    Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
  • 4
    Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
  • 5
    Rolling out touchless check-in for customers with bags
  • At the gate:

  • 6
    Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
  • 7
    Providing hand sanitizer and
    disinfectant wipes
  • 8
    Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
  • 9
    Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing
  • 10
    Rolling out Clorox Total 360 Electrostatic Sprayers to disinfect in the airport

On our aircraft

  • 1
    Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
  • 2
    Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
  • 3
    Providing onboard items like pillows and blankets upon request
  • 4
    Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
  • 5
    Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
  • 6
    Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
  • 7
    Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft
  • 8
    Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove 99.97% of airborne particles
    • The cabin recirculated air is exchanged every 2-3 minutes

Cleveland Clinic We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.

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