Family Friendly Cities: Showtime in Los Angeles - United Hub

Family friendly cities: Showtime in Los Angeles

By Bob Cooper

Los Angeles has been at the heart of the entertainment industry for a century, but it's also an entertaining place for families to visit. Once you and the family tire of Hollywood-themed museums and rides, you can head to the beach or to Griffith Park for some hiking or a visit to the zoo.

The studio experience

Universal Studios Hollywood leads studio tram tours that go past sets including the old mansion in "Psycho" and Wisteria Lane in "Desperate Housewives"—but also offers much more. Like three newer Universal Studios theme parks that have opened in Orlando, Osaka and Singapore, the original Hollywood location is packed with 3-D, 4-D (motion-simulation) and old-school rides based on movies and TV shows such as "Despicable Me," "Harry Potter" and "Fast & Furious." Live shows, carnival games and shops also keep families entertained.

Hollywood sign in California

Hollywood history

There are several ways to get a taste of the place where movies and television began. One is to admire the world's largest collection of showbiz memorabilia at the Hollywood Museum. Another is to take a guided tour at one of the major studios—Universal, Paramount, Warner Bros. or Sony Pictures—to see the lots and sets where countless films and shows are made. Yet another is to join a live audience (free) for the taping of a show such as “The Voice" or “Wheel of Fortune." One more is to visit Madame Tussauds Hollywood to stare down more than 100 lifelike wax figures of celebrities from Charlie Chaplin to Jennifer Lawrence—and on the same block, walk on the footprints and handprints that many stars have imprinted on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Lifeguard stand on Santa Monica Beach in California

Beach lounging

Los Angeles-area beaches are almost all wide, sandy and inviting, especially between Santa Monica and Redondo Beach. Those two beach towns, in fact, are arguably the best for families. Each has a large pier geared to family fun: 12 amusement-park rides on Santa Monica Pier and mini-submarine rides and a huge games arcade on the Redondo Pier. At each pier area, you can also rent skates or bikes—including tandems, kids' bikes and child trailers—to cruise the paved multiuse path alongside the beach. That flat path hugs the sand almost the entire way—20 miles altogether—including one segment where you're right underneath planes taking off from Los Angeles International Airport.

Castle at Disneyland

Disneyland

It's a tribute to Walt Disney's vision that iconic rides that delighted kids in 1955 when he opened Disneyland are more popular than ever. You can still scream alongside your kids on the Matterhorn Bobsled rollercoaster in Fantasyland, still rumble through tunnels on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontiertown and still snap photos of your kids' startled expressions when Disney characters offer handshakes. Once families get their fill of 20th-century thrills, they can go next door to Disneyland's 21st-century neighbor, Disney California Adventure Park, where updated attractions await, like the loud, dark, scary ride, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout. Both Disney parks are 40 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport.

Aerial view of the Griffith Park Observatory at sunset

The View at Griffith

On a wooded road high above the lights of L.A., Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone showed off their dancing moves in “La La Land." That road is in Griffith Park, and so is the Griffith Park Observatory, the site of another dance scene in the movie. The park was a romantic spot for the fictitious Sebastian and Mia, but it's a fun spot for families. The observatory offers planetarium shows ($3-$7), plus free space talks, exhibits and public telescope use until 10 p.m. Also in the park are the Los Angeles Zoo, the Autry Museum of the American West, a train museum, a mini-train, an equestrian center, pony rides, the HOLLYWOOD sign and 53 miles of hiking trails.

If you go

United Airlines offers flights to Los Angeles 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 L.A. family getaway.

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.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

Jessica Kimbrough named Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By The Hub team, July 10, 2020

Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.

Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.

In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.

"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."

As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.

Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.

Jessica's new role is effective immediately.

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