Employees Make a Difference in AIDS/Lifecycle - United Hub

Employees make a difference in AIDS/LifeCycle ride

By The Hub team, June 11, 2018

Two of our employees stand out among the many thousands of participants in this year's AIDS/LifeCycle, a 545-mile, San Francisco to Los Angeles bicycle ride that raises money for AIDS/HIV services in California. More than 2,800 people participated in this year's ride, and fundraising totals are expected to exceed the $15.1 million raised last year for the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Los Angeles-based flight attendant Ken Thomason has ridden the AIDS/LifeCycle ride every year since 1995 as part of a team that has helped him fundraise for this critical issue. Known as the "Chicken Lady" for the toy chicken that rides on his helmet, Ken has lifted riders' spirits with his humorous costumes and for his long-standing practice of putting a chocolate egg and inspirational quote in each of the 2,800 riders' bicycle baskets on the last day of the ride. Ken says he rides to honor the friends he's lost to the disease, and each of their names is inscribed on his helmet.

Ancillary Pricing Director James Sumers has participated in the ride for the last seven years. This year, James raised $50,000, bringing his lifetime total fundraising to more than $200,000.

When I started riding in AIDS/LifeCycle in 2012, I mainly did it as a personal physical challenge, but after that first year I saw how the ride not only raised a ton of money for HIV/AIDS services, but also how it fought the stigma of the disease and memorialized those who have died, James said. At the end of Day 1, back in 2012, when I started to question what I had gotten myself into, I rode into Santa Cruz past a woman holding a sign with a photo, the years 1950-1996, and a simple 'Thank You,'" he added. I now ride not only for her brother, but also for the countless other people whose stories have touched me over the years.

United's shared purpose is to connect people and unite the world. The AIDS/LifeCycle ride connects our two West Coast hubs, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and more importantly, connects people through an incredible cause to raise money for HIV/AIDS testing, medical care and prevention, and to raise awareness to end the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and honor those who have passed from AIDS-related causes.

We could not be more proud of the contributions of our employees who participated as riders and fundraisers as well as those who volunteered their time on the 545-mile course, said California President Janet Lamkin.

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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