Reveling in the Blue-Green Waters of Havasu - United Hub

Reveling in the blue-green waters of Havasu

By The Hub team

Each week we will profile one of our employee's adventures across the globe, featuring a new location for every employee's story. Follow along every week to learn more about their travel experiences.

By SFO Recruiting Coordinator Jodie Marcaida

Jodie Marcaida surrounded by friends in Havasu FallsRaphy Cruz

I'm not an avid hiker, but being in nature, traveling and spontaneous outdoor adventures fuel my energies above anything else. I have always been fond of waterfalls, so after seeing posts on Instagram of a sublime blue-green waterfall, known as Havasu Falls within the Grand Canyon, I was continuously intrigued in going there.

My friends and I decided on planning a trip there for Memorial Day weekend. However, it's been a struggle to reach the campsite hotline all year round - especially if you're trying to go on holidays. They only have one contact number, and you could find yourself waiting countless hours or days glued to the phone, hearing the same beep and voicemail sound. As I was thinking of a perfect birthday getaway, I thought of Havasu again and decided to try my luck. Imagine my joy when, after a couple of rings, someone actually answered. I didn't think I would be able to go there so soon, but I'm so happy I was able to celebrate another year of my existence there and cross it off my travel bucket list.

The blue-green waters in Havasu Falls.Raphy Cruz

We flew to LAS (Las Vegas) then drove for four hours to Supai, Arizona. The trailhead starts at the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot and leads to the Supai village for a good eight-mile trek, and then two more miles to the Havasu Falls itself. Havasu Falls lies within the Havasupai Reservation and is administered by the people of blue-green waters, more commonly known as the Havasupai Tribe. This place attracts thousands of visitors each year, which is a main reason why it's hard to book a room or campsite. In order to hike the trails you will need a permit and can only, but also easily, obtain one by calling the lodge or camping office.

I suggest spending two to three days in the area, so you can visit the other waterfalls, such as Little Navajo, Beaver Falls and Mooney Falls; find the "secret falls" and even go as far as the Colorado River. The water there is a pure aqua blue, which we were informed is attributed to the bicarbonate and minerals found in the water. Not only is the color beautiful, but the water is also completely fresh to drink. The 20-mile hike roundtrip was not an easy feat, but seeing four of the waterfalls nestled within the Grand Canyon in a span of two days was totally worth it.

If you don't want to hike the entire time, you can also rent saddleback mules or book a helicopter ride. But, of course, we opted for a full-on hiking experience by completing the whole trail on foot. If you ever plan to go, make sure to bring a lot of layers, water, food and a positive attitude to survive the hike.

A friend of Jodie's resting near the edge of a waterfall.Raphy Cruz

Campsite reservations for this year began on February 1, while the hotel lodge booking for next year starts on June 1. Unfortunately, all the rooms for 2017 have been fully booked. But whether you choose to camp out or stay in the lodge, this trip will definitely be one of the most memorable experiences you'll ever have.

I'm very grateful that working for United has allowed me to go to places I once thought would only be remotely possible to visit in my lifetime. This trip was my favorite hiking trip to date and most memorable birthday yet.

Adjusting to Customer Demand, United Adds New Nonstop Service to Florida

By United Newsroom, August 12, 2020

CHICAGO, Aug. 12, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines today announced plans to add up to 28 daily nonstop flights this winter connecting customers in Boston, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, New York/LaGuardia, Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio to four popular Florida destinations. The new, nonstop flights reflect United's continuing strategy to aggressively, and opportunistically manage the impact of COVID-19 by increasing service to destinations where customers most want to fly.

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.

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