United Customers Can Help Clean the World - United Hub

United customers can help us clean the world

By The Hub team

Updated October 23, 2018

Through our Clean the World program, we are honored to be receiving an "Airports Going Green" award on November 6. So far in 2018, we have assembled 49,000 new hygiene kits with items from unused amenity kits. Throughout the year, we have teamed up with Clean the World multiple times to host hygiene kit-building events.

Our hubs in Newark, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles came together earlier this year to assemble 15,000 hygiene kits with items from unused amenity kits. We held a kit building event at the Outside Lands concert in San Francisco, concert-goers helped assemble 2,000 kits. Additionally, we held an event this month at our Washington DC hub creating more than 1,500 kits, which will be donated to help those who were impacted by recent hurricanes in the southeastern United States. Not only kits, but we've also donated 800 blankets to Clean the World to help those affected by Hurricane Michael. Learn more about how we're making a difference in our community and around the globe in partnership with Clean the World.

Uniting for a healthier world

Hand sanitizer, facial cleanser, toothpaste — while our customers love these items we provide in our premium cabin amenity kits, sometimes they leave them behind without using them. Now, we'll be able to donate the discarded items to those in need around the globe through our partnership with Clean the World.

Once the discarded hygiene products are collected, the innovative non-profit organization refurbishes and distributes them to those in need, leading to the prevention of millions of hygiene-related deaths each year, and a reduced morbidity rate for hygiene-related illnesses, while also reducing environmental waste.

Clean the World works with thousands of hotels around the globe, but United is the first airline to partner with the organization. "We are excited to partner with United and eager to include the airline's amenity kit items among the gifts of good health our hygiene kits provide to children and their families around the world," said Shawn Seipler, Clean the World founder and executive director.

Hygiene Kits Almost Ready to Go

We began collecting unused amenity kit items from our hub airports for distribution to Clean the World facilities in June 2016, but began collecting and tracking through a pilot program in late 2015, and since we have collected more than 137,386 pounds of material that otherwise would go to landfills. Through the program we expect to collect 50,000 pounds of material annually and we have collected 45,000 pounds of material through September thus far. By working with Clean the World, we are putting items from our unused amenity kits into the hands of the people in our local communities, and around the globe, who need them most. We're uniting for a healthier and cleaner world.

"Being a responsible and sustainable airline means more than investing in products and services that reduce our impact on the environment," said Maria Walter, United's managing director of product development and brand management. "It means working directly with our employees and partners to improve the lifecycle of those products and the communities we serve."

Visit United Eco-Skies for more information on our commitment to the environment.

Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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