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.

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.

2. Check out the Travel-Ready Center

Our Travel-Ready Center makes it easy to get a personalized overview of everything you need to do in preparation for your flight. Just enter your confirmation number or MileagePlus® number and you'll find detailed information on all the documents, tests and more that you'll need for your trip.

3. Read and sign the Ready-to-Fly checklist

Before completing check-in, all United travelers will need to read our Ready-to-Fly checklist and confirm that they understand and agree to our policies. These include:

Acknowledging that you haven't had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days

Agreeing that you will not fly if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 21 days

Confirming that you will follow all policies regarding face masks, social distancing and other health and safety measures we've adopted

4. Arrive early; avoid the stress

Airports can be busy, especially during peak travel periods like spring break season. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel in anticipation of long security lines. This can help ease the stress when navigating busy check-in areas, security lines and crowded boarding gates.

5. Get familiar with CleanPlus

United CleanPlus℠ is our commitment to delivering industry-leading cleanliness as we put health and safety at the forefront of your experience. We've teamed up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures and Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols, like:

Disinfecting high-touch areas on board and in the terminal

Using electrostatic spraying, Ultraviolet C lighting wands and more advanced measures to clean aircraft cabins before boarding

Redesigning our mobile app to allow for touchless check-in and contactless payment, along with enhanced travel assistance features

Implementing high-efficiency (HEPA) filters on our aircraft that completely recirculate cabin air every 2-3 minutes and remove 99.97% of airborne particles, including viruses and bacteria

Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use, so you can rest assured that the steps we've taken to keep you safe truly make a difference.

6. Wear your mask

Federal law requires all travelers to wear a face mask in the airport, including customer service counters, airport lounges, gates and baggage claim, and on board during their entire flight. Make sure you review the requirements for face masks, including what an acceptable face mask looks like.

7. Get ready for a safer boarding process

To make boarding even safer, we now have travelers board their aircraft from back to front. At the gate, just listen for your row number to be called – we'll ask a few rows at a time to board, starting with the last row of the plane. This helps everyone maintain a safe distance from each other during boarding without slowing things down. As you step onto the plane, flight attendants will hand each passenger a sanitizing towelette, which you can use to wipe down your seat to ensure it's extra clean.

8. Pack smart

Before packing your bags, check to see what exactly you can carry on and what you should plan to check. You can also copy your confirmation number into our Baggage Calculator tool to learn about the bag allowance included with your reservation, as well as the cost of checking any additional bags.

9. Check your flight status, important notices and weather

Check the United app regularly for the latest updates on weather conditions, flight status, gate numbers and seat assignments. You can also visit our Important Notices page to find essential information and updates about travel waivers, international travel, TSA and security, airports and United Club locations.

10. Relax and enjoy your flight

Once you're on board, it's time to sit back and enjoy your flight. Our flight attendants will be happy to help you with anything else you need.

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.

United cargo-only flights transport critical goods

By The Hub team

When the pandemic began, United Cargo knew it would be critical to utilize its fleet, network and industry-leading pharmaceutical handling processes to transport a COVID-19 vaccine when the time came.

Connecting vaccines to the world: United responds to mass distribution effort

December 22, 2020

On November 27, United Airlines became the first commercial airline to safely deliver the first batch of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine into the U.S. thanks to a coordinated effort between United's cargo, safety, technical operations, flight operations, regulatory and legal teams.

Now as the entire shipping and logistics industry bands together to widely distribute vaccines, United is leveraging all of its flights, including cargo-only and those carrying passengers, to transport millions of vaccines to destinations throughout our network, including Honolulu, Guam and Saipan – the first of any carrier to do so.

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