Fairbanks: Sled Dogs, Denali and 24/7 Daylight - United Hub

Fairbanks: Sled dogs, Denali and 24/7 daylight

By Bob Cooper

The Alaskan interior just became more accessible with nonstop summer service from San Francisco to Fairbanks, giving visitors easy access to North America's highest peak (Denali) and ample opportunities to see reindeer prance and sled dogs dash. There's plenty of daylight to see it all, too, as daylight remains from May 17 to July 27. Summer temperatures routinely reach the 80s. Oh, and if you don't spot a moose, you weren't paying attention.

Passengers aboard the Riverboat Discovery watch a dog sled demonstration at Chena Indian Village in Fairbanks, Alaska Passengers aboard the Riverboat Discovery watch a dog sled demonstration at Chena Indian Village in Fairbanks, Alaska | Photo courtesy of Riverboat Discovery

Down by the river

After enjoying the daylight flight — a treat in itself, as the route follows the Pacific coast and Inside Passage — get some sleep and then get oriented on the Chena River, which snakes through Fairbanks. First, board the Riverboat Discovery, which stops at a sled dog ranch, where the dogs run at top speeds and you can visit a replica Inuit fish camp. Then, head to century-old downtown Fairbanks, which you can also access on the river, to visit the Morris Thompson cultural and visitors center, two sled dog racing museums, shops, restaurants, bars and Antler Arch — made of dozens of antlers from Alaskan villages.

Pioneer Park narrow gauge train in Fairbanks, Alaska Pioneer Park narrow gauge train in Fairbanks, Alaska| Photo courtesy of Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks and Recreation

Pioneer Park

The shops, restaurants, ice cream parlors and museums that fill admission-free Pioneer Park are housed mostly in historic log cabins relocated there from downtown Fairbanks. Also found in the park — train rides, a carousel, nightly salmon feeds, musical theatre performances and riverside bike, mountain bike, canoe, kayak and paddleboard rentals at Canoe Alaska.

University of Alaska Museum of the North University of Alaska Museum of the North | Photo courtesy of Patricia Fisher

Moose-eums

Pioneer Park's air museum and railroad museum aren't the only two "moose-eums" in town. The sprawling Museum of the North is packed with indigenous artifacts, landscape paintings and exhibits about Alaskan history, mining, dinosaurs and wildlife. The Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum is also a delight, featuring a 1903 electric car and mini racecars among 70 automotive gems.

Reindeer at Running Reindeer Ranch Reindeer at Running Reindeer Ranch | Photo courtesy of Bob Cooper

Beyond Fairbanks

Denali National Park is only a one-hour flightseeing tour, two-hour drive or four-hour train ride from Fairbanks. At 20,310 feet, Denali is North America's tallest mountain. Closer to Fairbanks, you can walk with reindeer at a home where 11 of the friendly domesticated animals prance alongside you in a birch forest. Or you can pet the puppies, hear a dog-mushing racer's stories and take a sled dog cart ride at Paws for Adventure,

The 2013 World Eskimo-Indian Olympics The 2013 World Eskimo-Indian Olympics | Photo courtesy of Sherman Hogue/Explore Fairbanks

The Fourth of July and more

Fairbanks hosts a number of festivals including the Midnight Sun Festival (June 23) which brings 30,000 people downtown for 40 live performances. Fourth of July festivities include a parade and live music, Golden Days (July 13-21) features Alaska's biggest parade and a street fair and the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (July 17-20) presents dozens of unique sporting events. Or enjoy concerts, rides and exhibits at the Tanana Valley State Fair (August 2-11).

Pump House restaurant — Alaskan seafood sampler | Photo courtesy of Bob Cooper

Where to eat, drink and stay

Alaskan king crab, cod, salmon and scallops — and reindeer sausage — are served at many Fairbanks restaurants, including riverside spots like the historic Pump House and Pike's Landing. Fairbanks also has many excellent Thai cafes (try Lemongrass's Pad Thai Alaskan Salmon) and ice cream spots like Hot Licks where you should try the Aurora Borealis — vanilla swirled with Alaska blueberries and cranberries.

Places to stay are also plentiful, from hotels to log cabins to the Chena Hot Springs Resort, where guests and non-guests alike can float in the sand-bottom hot-springs pool, tour the ice house (the world's largest manmade ice environment) and take a dog-cart, ATV, fat-tire bike or horseback ride on the resort's trails.

If you go

You can purchase tickets now at united.com or on the United app for any of three weekly nonstop flights between San Francisco and Fairbanks from June 6 to August 18. We also fly nonstop seasonal service from Denver to Fairbanks. Many cities connect through San Francisco. Redeem MileagePlus® Rewards points to cover your hotel and rental car.

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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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Spotlighting our own during Hispanic Heritage Month

By The Hub team, October 13, 2020

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 th through October 15th and take the time to recognize the important contributions of our colleagues of Hispanic descent in the United family.

This year, we hosted virtual events organized by our multicultural business resource group UNITE to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, covering topics ranging from immigration reform to Hispanic leadership. We're also taking a moment to highlight Latinx employees nominated by their peers for their contributions both at and outside of work.

These nominees have demonstrated leadership in their position and through their character. Take a moment to read their own words about how their background and heritage plays a role in the way they interact with customers, in how they support their colleagues and why it brings valuable perspective to their work.

Vania Wit – VP & Deputy Counsel

Photo of Vania Wit, VP & Deputy Counsel for United Airlines

"I am the Vice President and Deputy General Counsel in the legal department. I am an attorney and have worked in the legal department for over 21 years and am currently responsible for a number of different legal areas – such as litigation, international, commercial and government contracts, labor, employment and benefits, antitrust. I have the privilege of working with a tremendous team of attorneys who are directly leading and managing these areas. One of the things I like most about my job is simply getting to know the backgrounds and personal stories that everyone has about their paths to United or their passion for the industry. Being the daughter of immigrants from South America and growing up in a family who relies heavily on air travel to connect us to our close family and friends is an integral part of my story and what drew me to this industry and this company."

Kayra Martinez – International Flight Attendant, FRA

Photo of Kayra Martinez on board an aircraft

"I love that my work as a flight attendant brings me all over the world and allows me to connect with diverse people across the globe. Because of my Spanish heritage, I've been able to use my language as a way to connect with passengers, crew members and people from every nationality. In addition, my heritage gives me a very close connection to family, creating community and using inclusion as a way to bring people together. After transferring to Europe, I was able to study German, more Spanish, Italian and Arabic. Outside of work, I'm the director and founder of a nonprofit organization that empowers refugees through art. Hundreds of children and adults fleeing war-torn countries have found healing through my art workshops. These refugees are currently displaced in Greece. Their stunning paintings are then sold in art galleries and communities around the world, raising awareness and putting income directly into the hands of refugee artists."

Adriana Carmona – Program Manager, AO Regulatory Compliance

Photo of Adriana standing in front of a plane engine

"I've been incredibly lucky to have amazing leaders during my time at United who have challenged me from day one to think outside the box, step out of my comfort zone and trusted me to own and deliver on the tasks assigned. I think this sense of ownership is largely shaped by my Latino background, which values responsibility, respect and accountability and taking full charge of what's in your control to be able to deliver accordingly."

Harry Cabrera – Assistant Manager, AO Customer Service, IAH

Photo of Harry Cabrera

"My desire to help people is what drove me to start my career in Customer Service over two decades ago. Currently I provide support to our coworkers and customers at IAH , the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean. As a Colombian native celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, I'm proud to see the strength that my fellow Latinos forge every day at United Airlines. Family values are a cornerstone of the Latin community; I consider my coworkers to be part of my extended family. Mentor support throughout the years gave me the opportunity to grow professionally. The desire to do better and help others succeed is part of that heritage. I collaborate with our Latin American operations and create ways to improve performance. No matter what language you speak, the passion for what you do and being approachable makes the difference in any interaction."

Juciaria Meadows – Assistant Regional Manager, Cargo Sales

Photo of Juciaria Meadows in a Cargo hold

"During my 28-year career, I've worked across the system in various frontline and leadership roles in Reservations, Customer Service and Passenger Sales in Brazil. I moved to the U.S. in 2012 to work as an Account Executive for Cargo. It did not take too long for me to learn that boxes and containers have as much a voice as a passenger sitting in our aircraft. My job is to foster relationships with shippers, freight forwarders, cosignees, etc. and build strong partnerships in fair, trustworthy and caring ways where United Cargo will be their carrier of choice. That's where my background growing up in a Latino family plays an important role in my day-to-day interactions. I've done many wonderful sales trainings provided by United and my academic background , but none of them taught me more than watching my parents running their wholesale food warehouse. Developing exceptional relationships with their customers, they always treated them with trust and respect. They were successful business people with a big heart, creative, always adding a personal touch to their business relationships and I find myself doing the same. It's a lesson that is deep in my heart."

Shanell Arevalo – Customer Service Representative, DEN

Photo of Shanell Arevalo at work

"I am Belizean and Salvadoran. At a young age my family moved to California from Belize. Although I grew up in the United States , one thing my parents taught me was to never forget the culture, values and principles I was raised on. This includes showing love, compassion, and respect to all people. We learned to put our best foot forward for any situation and always put our heart and mind into everything we do. In my position as a customer service agent, it's the difference of showing the love, compassion and respect to our passengers to show that this is not just a job but rather a passion of genuinely caring for our people. Being Latina, we are raised to always take care of our family, and the way I take care of passengers is the way I would take care of my family. If there's one way I know I can make a difference with our Spanish speaking passengers, it's being able to speak the language. The glow that comes over a passenger's face when they realize there's someone who can speak Spanish is absolutely an indescribable feeling. With that glow comes comfort and joy. The small comfort they get from knowing someone can connect with them makes all the difference in their experience."

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United Cargo responds to COVID-19 challenges, prepares for what's next

By The Hub team, September 30, 2020

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, United Cargo has supported a variety of customers within the healthcare industry for over 10 years. Three key solutions – TempControl, LifeGuard and QuickPak – protect the integrity of vital shipments such as precision medicine, pharmaceuticals, biologics, medical equipment and vaccines. By utilizing processes like temperature monitoring, thermodynamic management, and priority boarding and handling, United Cargo gives customers the peace of mind that their shipments will be protected throughout their journey.

With the global demand for tailored pharmaceutical solutions at an all-time high, we've made investments to help ensure we provide the most reliable air cargo options for cold chain shipping. In April this year, we became the first U.S. carrier to lease temperature-controlled shipping containers manufactured by DoKaSch Temperature Solutions. We continue to partner with state-of-the-art container providers to ensure we have options that meet our customers' ever-changing needs.

"Providing safe air cargo transport for essential shipments has been a top priority since the pandemic began. While the entire air cargo industry has had its challenges, I'm proud of how United Cargo has adapted and thrived despite a significant reduction in network capacity and supply," said United Cargo President Jan Krems. "We remain committed to helping our customers make it through the pandemic, as well as to doing everything we can to be prepared for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution when the time comes."

Our entire team continues to prioritize moving critical shipments as part of our commitment to supporting the global supply chain. We've assembled a COVID readiness task team to ensure we have the right people in place and are preparing our airports as we get ready for the industry-wide effort that comes next.

In cooperation with our partners all over the world, United Cargo has helped transport nearly 145 million pounds of medical supplies to aid in the fight against COVID-19, using a combination of cargo-only flights and passenger flig­hts. To date, United Cargo has operated more than 6,300 cargo-only flights and has transported more than 213 million pounds of cargo worldwide.

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