The Bottom of the World...Almost. - United Hub
Employee Travel Blog

The bottom of the world...almost

By The Hub team, March 03, 2017

By Compliance Senior Staff Representative John Kirchberg

I travel a lot for work, so I'm always looking to complete or add to my travel bucket list. In 2013, I had a chance to go to Cape Town, South Africa, with friends for the World Airline Road Race, which is an annual race held in a different city each year for airline industry professionals from all over the world.

Cape Town has never been on my bucket list. But I can honestly say after 10 days in Cape Town, it's now one of the top three places I've ever visited.

I was there in October, and it still was in the 90s almost every day. The path of travel was ORD to FRA (Frankfurt, Germany), and FRA to Cape Town on South African Airways. The people are friendly, the city is clean and safe, the food is good and the wine is cheap.

Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa

Now, let me tell you why you should make the journey. As with every vacation, the weather can be a game changer. We got a home run, and that was huge. If you're an active type, you'll never be bored here. Table Mountain sits right in the middle of the city, so you can easily get to it from anywhere. There are several ways to get to the top, which include a good challenging hike or a less stressful cable car ride. We decided to hike it in the morning, which took about an hour. The trails are marked by signs at the start, but once you get on your way you become Lewis and Clark making your way up 3,500 feet. The views are constantly changing as you go from heavy brush to rocky cliffs. It is a nature hike, so the paths are worn but you shouldn't get lost. From the very top, the views are breathtaking -- 360 degrees of Cape Town, the Atlantic and the bottom of the world (almost). There are more trails on top (all flat), so you can walk for another 1-2 hours and take great pictures. Definitely bring water if you hike; it gets very hot very quickly. Before we headed back down we stopped to hydrate with a cold local brew at a little café. It was a definite "life is good" moment and I would put Table Mountain as No. 1 on my "to do" list in Cape Town.

The city is small so it's not too crowded and easy to get around. Part of the history of the city is the number of countries that have laid claim to it over the years. There is a strong European influence everywhere. One of the first things I noticed was the cleanliness of the city, as well as the friendly and helpful people. Our first hotel was blocks from the city center and right across from the park and beach. Although we had a car, we spent most of our time on foot. We were near the Victoria Wharf, which is a tourist spot with shops and restaurants and is the launching point for most of the ferries and sightseeing boats. I highly recommend the German and Irish pubs at the entrance to the Wharf. From here you can catch a boat to Robben Island and tour the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 years. Wherever we went, the food was delicious and the prices were extremely inexpensive.

Victoria Wharf in Cape Town, South Africa

Another adventure is the Cape of Hope Reserve. It's about 60-90 minutes from downtown, but the drive is very scenic. Once in the park, you will see animals everywhere. We saw animals ranging from zebras and ostriches to tortoises and baboons. The baboons are curious about cars and will literally sit in the road to stop them. Signs all over the park warn visitors about how dangerous baboons can be and to not open car windows or feed the animals. Imagine a mini safari from your car. When you reach the Cape, there are trails to walk around the cliffs and out to the lighthouse. On one side is the calm peacefulness of False Bay and on the other is the violent Atlantic crashing on the rocky shore. Looking out over the ocean, I noticed that the next landfall would be Antarctica. I was looking out at the bottom of the world (almost)! I decided right there that Antarctica was on my bucket list as my seventh and final continent. My pictures just do not do the view justice.

On the way back to the city, you can take the inner road which will take you by Boulder Beach where you can swim with penguins. There are also places to dive with sharks. I kept thinking I was in a great big zoo without cages or boundaries.

For the second half of the week, we moved to Stellenbosch in wine country. It is about 30-40 minutes outside of Cape Town. There are vineyards everywhere. Our hotel, The Spier, conveniently had a winery connected to it. I will admit to not being the biggest wine fan, but what I heard from the group was that the wine was good and so cheap that they were sending it back home by the case. It's the Napa of South Africa.

The World Airline Road Race was just outside Stellenbosch, on the grounds of another prison where Nelson Mandela was finally set free.

It was an amazing trip to a place that was never on my radar, but I could not have been more surprised and pleased. Although I came directly home, some of the people in my group decided to take a safari in the area. Their pictures were priceless, and everyone said it was a fantastic experience. My friends and I are active people, so we enjoyed all the options that were available, but I still think there is plenty to do if you like a slower, more relaxing vacation. I know 20 hours on a plane never seems fun, but it is worth it. It's not a weekend trip, but a week-long vacation would be great there. I will definitely go back.

Wouldn't you like to see the bottom of the world… almost?

United Cargo moving more medical supplies and PPE

By Matt Adams, April 08, 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis has evolved, United's cargo operation has emerged as a critical conduit for getting life-saving goods where they're needed most.

Last week, we helped Flexport.org, the social impact arm of a freight forwarder based in San Francisco, import two shipments of medical and personal protective equipment (PPE) destined for New York and California. The first of those loads arrived in San Francisco from Shanghai aboard a chartered United Boeing 787-9 on Wednesday. It contained 1,000 ventilators, 70,000 goggles and 300,000 masks, all of which were donated by Alibaba cofounder and Brooklyn Nets owner Joe Tsai and his wife, Clara Wu Tsai. Those items were then put on a United 777 and flown to EWR, where they were distributed to 14 hospitals, medical centers and nursing homes in the New York City region.

The second shipment came into San Francisco the following day containing surgical gowns, hazmat suits and several million more masks for first responders in California. United employees unloaded that aircraft upon arrival and helped get the PPE onto trucks for delivery to Bay Area hospitals.

We are operating, on average, 20 cargo-only flights each day between six U.S. hubs and cities in Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East. In the process of doing so, we are moving thousands of pounds of medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and PPE, in addition to those mentioned above, to help stem the spread of COVID-19 and treat those afflicted.

Domestic and international schedule reductions

By The Hub team, April 07, 2020

While travel demand and government restrictions continue to impact our schedule, we know some people around the globe are displaced and still need to get home. We continue to operate dozens of repatriation flights in an effort to get customers where they need to be. This remains a fluid situation, but United continues to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world, especially in these challenging times. Learn more about what we're doing to keep customers and employees safe.

Flights continuing from now into May:

Atlantic

Operating:

  • New York/Newark – Frankfurt (Flights 960/961)
  • New York/Newark – London (Flights 16/17)
  • New York/Newark – Tel Aviv (Flights 90/91)

Pacific

Operating:

  • San Francisco – Tokyo-Narita (Flights 837/838)
  • San Francisco – Sydney (Flights 863/870
  • Select Guam routes, including daily Guam – Honolulu (Flights 200/201)

Latin America/South America

Operating:
  • Houston – Sao Paulo (1x daily)
  • Houston – Cancun (3x daily)
  • Houston – Mexico City and Monterrey (2x daily)
  • Houston – Guanajuato, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos (1x daily)
Suspended:
  • All other hub flying to Mexico is canceled.

Caribbean

We are suspending all remaining Caribbean service: NAS (Nassau, Bahamas) through May 3, SJU (San Juan) and STT (St. Thomas) April 7 – May 3 (at the earliest).

Canada

  • All flying to Canada is suspended.

To help with the uncertainty around future travel — be it summer vacations, conferences, events and more — customers now have until April 30 to make changes to, or cancel, any travel they have booked through the end of the year without fees. This is in addition to existing waivers already in place which allow customers to change or cancel plans for travel through May 31.

Please visit united.com for more information, or reference our step-by-step guide on how to change your flight, cancel and rebook later.

Domestic schedule

We have taken every opportunity to continue offering service to as many airports as possible through other United hubs as we have reduced our domestic flying. Effective April 8, we will suspend service between the mainland and Hilo, Maui, Kona and Lihue - and we will maintain our daily service between our San Francisco hub and Honolulu, which has been reduced to one flight daily. We will continue to operate daily service between Honolulu and Guam. These suspensions will run through April 22.

We are closely monitoring demand as well as changes in state and local curfews and government restrictions across the U.S. and will adjust our schedule accordingly.

Hub city Route suspensions Remaining service
Chicago Albuquerque, NM
Asheville, NC
Bismarck/Mandan, ND
Bozeman, MT
Eugene, OR
Fresno, CA
Hilton Head, SC
Honolulu, HI
Jackson, MS
Kahului, HI
Kearney, NE
Palm Springs, CA
Panama City, FL
Reno, NV
San Jose, CA
Spokane, WA
Valparaiso, FL
Wilmington, NC
DEN, IAH
IAD
DEN
DEN
DEN, SFO
DEN, SFO
IAD
SFO
IAH
Market Suspension
DEN
DEN, SFO
IAH
DEN, SFO
DEN
DEN
IAH
IAD
New York/Newark Appleton, WI
Arcata/Eureka, CA
Charleston, SC
Grand Rapids, MI
Hartford, CT
Hobbs, NM
Honolulu, HI
Jacksonville, FL
Kahului, HI
Kona, HI
Lihue, HI
New York, NY (LaGuardia)
Santa Rosa, CA
Shreveport, LA
Syracuse, NY
ORD
SFO
IAD, IAH, ORD
ORD
IAD, ORD
IAH
SFO
IAD, IAH, ORD
Market Suspension
Market Suspension
Market Suspension
ORD
SFO
IAH
IAD, ORD
Houston Akron/Canton, OH
Boise, ID
Grand Rapids, MI
Hartford, CT
Honolulu, HI
Lexington, KY
New York, NY (LaGuardia)
Norfolk, VA
Ontario, CA
Palm Springs, CA
Reno, NV
Richmond, VA
San Jose, CA
St Louis, MO
ORD
DEN, ORD, SFO
ORD
IAD, ORD
SFO
IAD, ORD
ORD
DEN, IAD, ORD
DEN, SFO
DEN, SFO
DEN, SFO
DEN, IAD, ORD
DEN
DEN, IAD, ORD
Los Angeles Arcata/Eureka, CA
Austin, TX
Baltimore, DC
Bend/Redmond, OR
Boise, ID
Boston, MA
Bozeman, MT
Cleveland, OH
Colorado Springs, CO
Eugene, OR
Fresno, CA
Hilo, HI
Honolulu, HI
Kahului, HI
Kona, HI
Las Vegas, NV
Lihue, HI
Madison, WI
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Medford, OR
Monterey, CA
Orlando, FL
Palm Springs, CA
Phoenix, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Redding, CA
Reno, NV
Sacramento, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
San Luis Obispo, CA
Santa Barbara, CA
Seattle, WA
St George, UT
Stockton, CA
SFO
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, SFO
DEN, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, SFO
DEN, SFO
Market Suspension
SFO
Market Suspension
Market Suspension
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO
Market Suspension
DEN, ORD
Market Suspension
DEN, SFO
DEN, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN
SFO
DEN, SFO
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, SFO
DEN, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN
Market Suspension
New York/Newark Akron/Canton, OH
Albany, NY
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Bangor, ME
Boston, MA
Buffalo, NY
Burlington, VT
Charleston, SC
Charlotte, NC
Cincinnati, OH
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
Detroit, MI
Fayetteville, AR
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Myers, FL
Grand Rapids, MI
Greensboro, NC
Greenville, SC
Hilton Head, SC
Honolulu, HI
Indianapolis, IN
Jacksonville, FL
Kansas City, MO
Key West, FL
Knoxville, TN
Las Vegas, NV
Louisville, KY
Madison, WI
Memphis, TN
Miami, FL
Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis, MN
Myrtle Beach, SC
Nashville, TN
New Orleans, LA
Norfolk, VA
Omaha, NE
Orange County, CA
Orlando, FL
Phoenix, AZ
Pittsburgh, PA
Portland, ME
Portland, OR
Presque Isle, ME
Providence, RI
Raleigh/Durham, NC
Richmond, VA
Rochester, NY
Sacramento, CA
Salt Lake City, UT
San Antonio, TX
San Diego, CA
Sarasota, FL
Savannah, GA
Seattle, WA
St Louis, MO
Syracuse, NY
Tampa, FL
Washington, DC (Reagan National)
West Palm Beach, FL
ORD
IAD, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
IAD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
IAD, ORD
IAD, ORD
IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
ORD
IAD, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
IAD
SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
IAD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
IAD, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO
IAD
IAD, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, ORD
IAD, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO
IAD, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAD, ORD
IAD, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO
IAD, IAH, ORD
San Francisco Albuquerque, NM
Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Baltimore, DC
Boston, MA
Bozeman, MT
Cleveland, OH
Columbus, OH
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
Detroit, MI
Fayetteville, AR
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Indianapolis, IN
Kahului, HI
Kansas City, MO
Kona, HI
Lihue, HI
Madison, WI
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Minneapolis, MN
Nashville, TN
New Orleans, LA
Oklahoma City, OK
Omaha, NE
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Raleigh/Durham, NC
San Antonio, TX
Spokane, WA
St Louis, MO
Tampa, FL
DEN, IAH
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
Market Suspension
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
Market Suspension
Market Suspension
DEN, ORD
Market Suspension
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
DEN
DEN, IAD, ORD
DEN, IAD, IAH, ORD
Washington-Dulles Austin, TX
Grand Rapids, MI
Honolulu, HI
New York, NY (LaGuardia)
Portland, OR
Sacramento, CA
DEN, IAH, ORD
ORD
SFO
ORD
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO
DEN, IAH, ORD, SFO

Working to bring people home – repatriation flights underway

By The Hub team, April 07, 2020

When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.

We have operated more than 85 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 12,000 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.

Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.

Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Managua, Nicaragua
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Munich
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo-Haneda
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Melbourne, Australia

We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.

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