Family Friendly Cities: More to explore in Houston - United Hub

Family friendly cities: More to explore in Houston

By Bob Cooper

Houston may not seem like an obvious choice for a family vacation, but the city is an underrated destination with fun activities all year round. Even though this city experienced historic flooding last summer, all of the city's attractions are currently open and waiting to be explored. America's fourth-largest city is becoming an increasingly popular, budget-friendly family destination.

Houston Space Center

Space City

Houston earned its nickname, Space City, by putting men on the moon only eight years after the space program was launched there in 1961. Today it's equally well known for Space Center Houston, which hosts one million annual visitors. The Smithsonian-affiliate museum displays artifacts that include past and present Mission Control center replicas; the Apollo 17 module; space shuttles; space station and Mars Rover exhibits; the tallest rocket ever flown (363 feet); and the world's largest collection of space suits. Astronauts themselves make appearances on Fridays and Saturdays, as the NASA Johnson Space Center is right next door, where astronauts are trained and tram tours are given to museum visitors.

Kid-friendly museums

Space is not the only topic kids can learn about in Houston. The city is home to three other family-friendly museums—all walking distance apart in the Museum District—that are among the best of their kind in the U.S. A floor-to-ceiling ribcage and a 12-foot-tall beating heart are part of the Amazing Body experience at The Health Museum, where kids get to know how the human body works. Also appealing to inquiring young minds is the Houston Museum of Natural Science nearby, which includes a planetarium and three-story butterfly zoo, and the Children's Museum of Houston, where tots to teens can learn, create, invent and play.

Kemath Boardwalk in Houston

Waterside attractions

Houston may not be a coastal city, but numerous beaches on Galveston Bay and Galveston Island are within an hour's drive. One big family attraction on the bay is Kemah Boardwalk, which offers classic thrill rides (including a wooden rollercoaster), a Ferris wheel and a double-decker carousel. A bit farther south on the Gulf is Galveston Island's Moody Gardens, where attractions include an aquarium, water park, zip line, ropes course, paddlewheel boat rides, rainforest zoo and 4D Special FX Theater.

Hermann Park in Houston

Houston outdoors

Families who prefer “doing" to spectating also have ample choices in Houston. Average highs from the sixties to eighties through spring make outdoor fun pleasant. This may mean a stop at the Houston Zoo, where the African Forest is the newest major addition, or taking the Hermann Park Railroad two-mile ride and pedal boating at McGovern Lake. All are located near the Museum District in Hermann Park. Families can also rent a bike from a bike shop or at any of the 51 Houston BCycle bike-sharing stations for a spin on the river-hugging Buffalo Bayou Trail near downtown Houston.

Fun festivals

Family-friendly festivals can be enjoyed all year in Houston. Families can take part in a traditional Chinese New Year festival (Feb. 24-25), where seven lion dance troupes will perform, or the American tradition of watching a big rodeo (Feb. 27-March 18), where a parade and horse show are also featured. In April, they can attend America's largest children's festival (April 7-8), with 300 activities and four entertainment stages, or see the world's wackiest-decorated vehicles at the 250,000-spectator Art Car Parade (April 14). Kids of all ages should enjoy Comicpalooza on Memorial Day weekend. Or, looking further ahead, they can visit Houston for the big July 4 weekend festival or Thanksgiving weekend parade.

If you go

United Airlines offers flights to Houston from numerous cities throughout the U.S. and abroad, and MileagePlus® Rewards can help pay for your car rental and hotel room once you arrive. Go to united.com or use the United app to plan your family getaway to Texas.

Beach or mountains? Take your pick with our newly announced routes to the West Coast, the Rocky Mountains and the Caribbean

By Matt Adams , November 21, 2019

We will continue building out our already expansive route network next year, adding flights to some attractive leisure destinations in the United States and the Caribbean.

Our hometown hub, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, will be the beneficiary of three of those new routes, which include Santa Barbara, California; Pasco, Washington; and Vail, Colorado. Rounding it out, United will add service from Denver to Nassau, Bahamas, and from Houston to Spokane, Washington. Tickets for all of these destinations are on sale now.

Colorful houses in Nassau

The Denver-Nassau route will begin on March 7, 2020, followed by Chicago-Santa Barbara, Chicago-Pasco, Chicago-Vail and Houston-Spokane on June 4. When that time comes, United will be the only airline offering nonstop service between Denver and Nassau and Chicago and Pasco.

All of these routes will open up a world of connection possibilities for customers living in each market. They'll also be scheduled to give flyers optimal arrival and departure time options. For instance, a passenger going from Chicago to Santa Barbara will have a flight option that departs O'Hare at 7:45 p.m. local time, arriving at Santa Barbara Airport at 10:30 p.m. That's ideal for business travelers.

"We want to offer customers the very best schedule, the best network and the most flight options in the industry," said Ankit Gupta, United's vice president of Domestic Network Planning.

The Boeing 737-800 aircraft will serve the Denver-Nassau route. Passengers going from Chicago to Santa Barbara and from Chicago to Vail will fly on the 737-700. United's 76-seat Embraer 175 aircraft, equipped with United First, Economy Plus and United Economy class seats, will operate on the Chicago-Pasco and Houston-Spokane routes.

You'll find flight times and additional details in the grid below. For more information and to book your tickets, visit united.com or download the United mobile app.

Depart

Arrive

Frequency

Duration

Chicago (ORD)

7:45 p.m.

Santa Barbara (SBA)

10:30 p.m.

Daily

Year-round

SBA

11:20 p.m.

ORD

5:20 a.m.

Daily

Year-round

ORD

8:00 p.m.

Pasco (PSC)

10:24 p.m.

Daily

Year-round

PSC

11:38 p.m.

ORD

5:20 a.m.

Daily

Year-round

ORD

4:00 p.m.

Vail/Eagle (EGE)

5:54 p.m.

Daily

Summer seasonal

(June 4 through September 6, 2020)

EGE

9:00 a.m.


ORD

12:45 p.m.

Daily

Summer seasonal

(June 4 through September 7, 2020)

Denver (DEN)

9:56 a.m.

Nassau (NAS)

4:00 p.m.

Once a week on Saturdays

Year-round

(with a break from mid-August through late-October)

NAS

11:37 a.m.

DEN

2:43 p.m.

Once a week on Saturdays

Year-round

(with a break from mid-August through late-October)

Houston (IAH)

9:32 p.m.

Spokane (GEG)

11:32 p.m.

Daily

Summer seasonal

(June 4 through August 17, 2020)

GEG

11:55 p.m.

IAH

6:17 a.m.

Daily

Summer seasonal

(June 4 through August 17, 2020)

Reflecting on Veterans Day: a message from our CEO Oscar Munoz

By Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines , November 11, 2019

Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.

When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.

They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.

I want them to look no further than United Airlines.

That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.

They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.

That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.

We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.

We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.

We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.

As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.

Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.

They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.

Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.

Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.

Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.

But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.

We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.

It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.

On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.

Humbly,

Oscar

United named a top workplace for veterans

By The Hub team , November 10, 2019

Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.

"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.

"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."

Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.

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