Family-friendly cities: San Francisco from bay to breakers - United Hub

Family friendly cities: San Francisco from bay to breakers

By Bob Cooper, January 25, 2018

Bordered on three sides by water, San Francisco is a city where most of the best places for families to visit are on the bay or the ocean—whether on a beach, in a boat or at a waterfront attraction.

Entrance view of AT&T Park

Play on the bay

The entire six-mile-long waterfront on San Francisco Bay is a succession of family-friendly attractions—from AT&T Park where Giants players smash “splash hits" (home runs) into the bay to historic Fort Point beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Thousands flock to Fisherman's Wharf and adjacent Pier 39, where the Aquarium of the Bay and the Maritime National Historical Park's floating ships are the highlights. A few piers to the south is the Exploratorium, a hands-on museum of science, art and human perception geared to curious kids. And just a bit longer walk to the north brings you to kite-flying fields, a windsurfing beach and the House of Air—an indoor “adrenaline park" with trampolines and climbing walls for ages as young as 3 to 6.

Aeiral view of the San Francisco Bay

Cruise in the bay

The waterfront is also where you can depart on any of several boat trips. These include leisurely bay cruises that take you out to the Golden Gate and past Alcatraz, plus one high-speed option (May to October) that kids adore: the RocketBoat, which literally finishes with a splash. The most popular boat ride, however, is the short trip to the notorious prison island, Alcatraz, where tour choices include a self-guided day trip, a guided behind-the-scenes tour, a guided night tour and a combo tour that also stops at Angel Island—where you can hike or take a tram around that large island's perimeter.

View of one end of the Golden Gate Bridge

Cross the Gate

The best way to cross the world's most photogenic bridge is not in a car. It's on the pedestrian sidewalk on a bike or on foot. Walking across the Golden Gate is easy. Start at the Welcome Center, take some selfies, then begin the walk. Biking the bridge on your own or with a guided group is nearly as popular, with most rental locations clustered around Fisherman's Wharf (Blazing Saddles alone has six). You start out with three miles of mostly easy pedaling along the bay, then climb to the iconic span, cross it, and continue on down to picturesque Sausalito where you can take a ferry back to the city. The views are constant.

View of the beach with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance

Hit the beach

Ocean Beach is 3.5 miles long and up to two football fields wide, so it's never crowded, and Baker Beach is blessed with a Golden Gate Bridge view. Both are superb for sandcastle building and big-wave watching, though rip currents make swimming perilous. Between these beaches lies the Coastal Trail, a magical three-mile roundtrip hike that follows a bluff high above crashing waves and the open sea below. Start hiking at the Lands End Lookout Visitors Center—and check out the Sutro Baths ruins just below. The 100-acre San Francisco Zoo is also an option.

Golden Gate Park over looking the water and the Golden Gate Bridge

Explore the park

Golden Gate Park stretches four miles from the two restored windmills at Ocean Beach to the middle of the city, but most of its family-friendly delights are walking distance apart. The most impressive of these is the California Academy of Sciences—an aquarium, planetarium and natural-history museum rolled into one. Tickets are $26-$36 per ticket (free for children under 4), but purchasing a CityPASS or GO Card that also includes admission to other top attractions will save you a bundle. Close by are rowboat rentals at Stow Lake, a 1914 carousel and America's oldest public playground.

If you go

United Airlines offers flights to San Francisco International Airport from numerous cities throughout the U.S. and abroad, and MileagePlus® Rewardscan 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.

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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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