An Escape to Tahiti and Hikueru - United Hub
Employee Travel Blog

An escape to Tahiti and Hikueru

By The Hub team, March 10, 2017

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 SLC Customer Service Representative Thiefaine Magre

This past winter holiday, my family and I went to visit the island of my wife's grandfather, Hikueru. Hikueru is an island that inhabits about 70 people in the Tuamotu Archipelago in French Polynesia. We were fortunate to spend a full week there, as well as a few days in Tahiti before and after the trip.

To get to Hikueru we first had to travel to Tahiti, the main island of French Polynesia. The airport code is PPT (Papeete). There are a few ways to get there – the Hawaiian Airlines (HA) flight from HNL (Honolulu) every Saturday and the Air France (AF) flight several times a week from LAX. We took the HA flights.

In Papeete we were able to enjoy much of the local culture. We ate local cuisine from Tahitian food trucks called "roulette." The most common dishes in Tahiti are raw fish, sashimi, steak frites (steak and fries with several sauces to choose from) and many fresh fruit dishes.

United Customer Service Representative Thiefaine Magre

We flew to Hikueru on our second day in Tahiti. There are two ways to get to the island: by cargo ship, which takes about 10 days from the port of PPT, or by taking the once-a-week flight on Air Tahiti. The flight is about two hours, during which you see many little islands scattered across the ocean below. Because the island is so remote and has such a small population, we needed to arrange with my in-laws to have food and supplies shipped by cargo ship two weeks prior to our arrival. It was a lot of planning, but it was worth all of the effort.

While in Tupapati, the capital and only city of Hikueru, we enjoyed various activities, like swimming at the pier, fishing, walks around the island and boat tours of neighboring motus (motu is the word for a small sand island forming a ring around a lagoon). We enjoyed evening walks, stargazing and basking in the colors of the sunsets and sunrises.

Sunset in Tahiti

After our week in Hikueru, we returned to Tahiti for two more days. We did a short trip around the island and saw the famous "Trois Cascades," three waterfalls, and jumped off bridges into large rivers.

Tahiti is truly an amazing place. With over 100 islands to visit and discover, there is plenty for everyone to do – not to mention the beautiful scenery of such stunning waters.

Mauruuru ("thank you" in Tahitian) for reading about my travel journey.

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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