Dream Destinations Around the Globe - United Hub
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Safety is Global III: Dream destinations around the globe

By Bob Cooper, September 20, 2017

Rio de Janeiro's Carnival and Munich's Oktoberfest are obvious picks, while others are more obscure, like India's Holi Festival and a hot-air balloon festival in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. But all seven of these events are memorable, iconic and dream-worthy events that shouldn't be missed.


Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Major Carnival celebrations span the globe, from Venice to Sydney and even New Orleans, but Rio de Janeiro's Carnival is king. Just as you don't have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, you don't have to be Catholic to enjoy Carnival, which began as, and remains a bacchanalian blowout leading up to Lent. You just need to know it's a colorful, citywide swirl of dancing, parades, costumes, masks and bracing beverages—and you need to be in Rio on February 9-14.

Aurora Borealis, Northern Lights in Alaska

Northern Lights in Alaska

The far-northern latitude of Fairbanks, Alaska, makes it the best easy-to-reach destination in the U.S. for viewing the Northern Lights, the multicolored swirls of light that periodically take over the polar night sky, also known as the Aurora Borealis. Their appearance is unpredictable, but they're most frequent and most visible during the long, dark nights between mid-autumn and mid-spring in Fairbanks. While waiting for this cosmic light show, you can check out Fairbanks' Aurora Ice Museum and Running Reindeer Ranch, both open year-round.

People throwing colorful powder at Holi Festival in India

Holi Festival in Delhi

The Holi Festival in Delhi (March 1-2) may be the biggest and most exuberant among many throughout India—and exuberance is what the Hinduism-based festival is all about. It's also called the Festival of Colors because spraying or getting sprayed or smeared with colored water or powder happens all over the city. Don't pack your best clothes! The Holi MOO! Festival adds a music component, with dozens of Indian and international musicians performing.

Hundreds of sky lanterns with fireworks in the background.

Lantern Festival in Chengdu

The March 2 Lantern Festival marks the end of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) celebrations throughout China—and has shined as the highlight of the year in the western Chinese city of Chengdu since 711 A.D. The festival is named for the decorative paper lanterns carried by children and displayed citywide, especially in Culture Park, site of the Lantern Fair. Festivities throughout the week before and afterward include fireworks and folk dancing.

Central Park in New York City

NYC Half Marathon in Manhattan

Never mind that dream of running the New York City Marathon. Besides needing to run 26.2 miles, you need to beat the odds, as only one in six who enter the race-number drawing succeed. Targeting the United Airlines NYC Half instead makes more sense. It's half as far and you have twice the odds (one in three) of getting in. Also, this "half" lets you gallop through the heart of Times Square—which the marathon doesn't—after passing other Manhattan landmarks and touring Central Park.

Hot Air Balloon Festival in Colorado

Hot Air Balloon Festival in Northern Colorado

Steamboat Springs is the closest Colorado ski town to the Wyoming border, so it's logical that its longtime hot air balloon festival (July 14-15) is called a "balloon rodeo." Besides an actual professional rodeo on Saturday night, visitors watch balloon pilots compete in balloon-rodeo contests that include a beanbag toss from the sky and precision landings. A large art fair and live music are also featured—and the trails surrounding this outdoors town are superb for hiking, biking or skiing.

Oktoberfest in Munich

Oktoberfest in Munich

Fall celebrations are found all over the world that call themselves Oktoberfest, but there is only one true Oktoberfest—the annual, beer-soaked, citywide party in Munich. Plan on parades, carnival rides, open-air concerts, Bavarian folk dancing, German food, and enough good beer to serve the six million people who annually take over the city for the three-weekend-long festival (Sept. 16-Oct. 3, 2017 and Sept. 22-Oct. 7, 2018).

Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your dream trip.

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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