Family friendly cities: Sun & sea in San Diego - United Hub

Family friendly cities: Sun and sea in San Diego

By Bob Cooper

Beaches, zoos, parks and festivals — San Diego is brimming with all of these classic summer activities and more. With a mild climate to boot, San Diego is the perfect destination for a family vacation.

Mission Beach in San Diego

Beach play

“Life is a beach" is more than a T-shirt slogan in San Diego — it's a state of mind. Visitors can join locals to indulge in delights of the sand and sea at any of San Diego's dozens of beaches, or the dozens more in beach towns north of the city. San Diego's Mission Beach has the liveliest scene, mostly at Belmont Park, an old-fashioned amusement park with 12 classic rides, including the 1925 Giant Dipper wooden roller coaster. There's also an arcade, zip line and bustling boardwalk. Most of San Diego County's beaches are quieter, but still offer the elements that beach worshipers adore: castle-worthy sand, bodyboarding, surfing and beach volleyball.

Animal attractions

San Diego Zoo is one of the best zoos in the world and ranks first on many lists. Whether it's the collection of 660 species (from pygmy hippos to giant pandas), the Skyfari Aerial Tram or the 4D theaters, this is a zoo for all ages. San Diego Zoo Safari Park — a lesser-known but much larger venue — is 35 miles away and has many of its 300 species roaming in herds throughout large enclosures. They can be viewed on foot or from a tram, zip line or tethered helium balloon. Both of the zoos are worth a half-day visit, but there's too much to see to do them both in the same day. Entertainment-focused SeaWorld San Diego and education-oriented Birch Aquarium are their world-class marine life counterparts.

Balboa Park, City of San Diego, California

Balboa Park

San Diego Zoo is the main attraction in Balboa Park, but the park is also home to many of San Diego's family-friendly museums. America's largest model railroad museum features a 142-foot-long miniaturized railroad display; the San Diego Natural History Museum and Fleet Science Center are both geared toward kids drawn to hands-on science; and the San Diego Air & Space Museum boasts 67 aircraft, from a 1901 Wright Glider reproduction to the Apollo 9 Command Module. You can also find an antique children's mini-train, a 1910 carousel, five playgrounds and countless picnic spots in Balboa Park.

Fab family festivals

San Diego's two big family-friendly festivals this summer are both near the beach and both are free. The 39th Annual OB Street Fair at Ocean Beach (June 23) includes a Wonderland Fun Zone with rides for kids and music for all ages on five stages. The Sun & Sea Festival at Imperial Beach (July 15) offers a full schedule of Kids' Zone entertainment and activities, plus a pirate parade, kids' rides and separate sandcastle contests for kids (ages 5 to 12) and adults.

LEGOLAND in California

LEGOLAND California

Legos are small plastic pieces that kids love to snap together, but there's nothing small about the LEGOLAND California theme park or its popularity, with attendance topping two million per year. Dozens of Lego-themed, kid-friendly rides and shows — many of them interactive — are the main attraction, but you can also add to the fun by upgrading your ticket to access the Lego-themed aquarium and water park next door where kids can assemble their own Lego rafts. Admission prices are steep, but Lego-loving kids of a certain age will want to stay all day, and the memories will be priceless.

If you go

United Airlines offers numerous daily flights to San Diego International Airport from many cities. MileagePlus Rewards can help cover your hotel room and rental car once you arrive. Go to united.com or use the United app to plan your San Diego family getaway.

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10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

2. Check out the Travel-Ready Center

Our Travel-Ready Center makes it easy to get a personalized overview of everything you need to do in preparation for your flight. Just enter your confirmation number or MileagePlus® number and you'll find detailed information on all the documents, tests and more that you'll need for your trip.

3. Read and sign the Ready-to-Fly checklist

Before completing check-in, all United travelers will need to read our Ready-to-Fly checklist and confirm that they understand and agree to our policies. These include:

Acknowledging that you haven't had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days

Agreeing that you will not fly if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 21 days

Confirming that you will follow all policies regarding face masks, social distancing and other health and safety measures we've adopted

4. Arrive early; avoid the stress

Airports can be busy, especially during peak travel periods like spring break season. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel in anticipation of long security lines. This can help ease the stress when navigating busy check-in areas, security lines and crowded boarding gates.

5. Get familiar with CleanPlus

United CleanPlus℠ is our commitment to delivering industry-leading cleanliness as we put health and safety at the forefront of your experience. We've teamed up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures and Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols, like:

Disinfecting high-touch areas on board and in the terminal

Using electrostatic spraying, Ultraviolet C lighting wands and more advanced measures to clean aircraft cabins before boarding

Redesigning our mobile app to allow for touchless check-in and contactless payment, along with enhanced travel assistance features

Implementing high-efficiency (HEPA) filters on our aircraft that completely recirculate cabin air every 2-3 minutes and remove 99.97% of airborne particles, including viruses and bacteria

Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use, so you can rest assured that the steps we've taken to keep you safe truly make a difference.

6. Wear your mask

Federal law requires all travelers to wear a face mask in the airport, including customer service counters, airport lounges, gates and baggage claim, and on board during their entire flight. Make sure you review the requirements for face masks, including what an acceptable face mask looks like.

7. Get ready for a safer boarding process

To make boarding even safer, we now have travelers board their aircraft from back to front. At the gate, just listen for your row number to be called – we'll ask a few rows at a time to board, starting with the last row of the plane. This helps everyone maintain a safe distance from each other during boarding without slowing things down. As you step onto the plane, flight attendants will hand each passenger a sanitizing towelette, which you can use to wipe down your seat to ensure it's extra clean.

8. Pack smart

Before packing your bags, check to see what exactly you can carry on and what you should plan to check. You can also copy your confirmation number into our Baggage Calculator tool to learn about the bag allowance included with your reservation, as well as the cost of checking any additional bags.

9. Check your flight status, important notices and weather

Check the United app regularly for the latest updates on weather conditions, flight status, gate numbers and seat assignments. You can also visit our Important Notices page to find essential information and updates about travel waivers, international travel, TSA and security, airports and United Club locations.

10. Relax and enjoy your flight

Once you're on board, it's time to sit back and enjoy your flight. Our flight attendants will be happy to help you with anything else you need.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

United cargo-only flights transport critical goods

By The Hub team

When the pandemic began, United Cargo knew it would be critical to utilize its fleet, network and industry-leading pharmaceutical handling processes to transport a COVID-19 vaccine when the time came.

Connecting vaccines to the world: United responds to mass distribution effort

December 22, 2020

On November 27, United Airlines became the first commercial airline to safely deliver the first batch of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine into the U.S. thanks to a coordinated effort between United's cargo, safety, technical operations, flight operations, regulatory and legal teams.

Now as the entire shipping and logistics industry bands together to widely distribute vaccines, United is leveraging all of its flights, including cargo-only and those carrying passengers, to transport millions of vaccines to destinations throughout our network, including Honolulu, Guam and Saipan – the first of any carrier to do so.

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