Flocking Together - United Hub

Flocking together

By The Hub team

If you look up at the sky often enough in and around the cities that United® serves, you're likely to spot them: graceful bodies with wings extended, soaring as silhouettes against the clouds.

But we're not talking about our planes. Raptors — birds of prey such as hawks, owls and kestrels — also call these places home, and many times their migration puts them dangerously close to our airports, increasing the potential for bird strikes to aircraft.

"We've found that most of these birds are young and may not realize that the airport can be a dangerous place for them," said Jeff Kolodzinski, senior wildlife biologist for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Together with the Port Authority and Audubon International, we launched the Raptor Relocation Program at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), which aims to move these birds to safer habitats where they are likely to flourish. It's an innovative way to protect the environment and offer sanctuary for birds of prey.

"The Raptor Relocation Program has successfully relocated multiple American Kestrels — a threatened species — amongst other raptors and has helped minimize risk to wildlife, reduce damage to aircraft and enable us to operate more efficiently within some of the world's busiest airspace," said Aaron Stash, environmental strategy and sustainability manager at United.

The raptors are taken in when they're found near runways or taxiways and relocated shortly thereafter.

"Relocation sites are chosen that mimic the natural habitats where the birds would normally be found," Kolodzinski said. "In this case, we're looking for open grassland-type habitats that have food sources, like insects, small birds, and small mammals, and cover for the birds."

In this case, those safer habitats are golf courses — located as far as 75 to 100 miles from EWR — that Audubon International has certified within their Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program. Going forward, the program will also help the Port Authority establish raptor relocation at other airports in the area.

So far, 77 birds have been moved to safer homes as a result of the program. This includes several American kestrels — a threatened species in New Jersey. While it's hard to track how the birds are doing, each one wears a lightweight aluminum band for identification.

"We occasionally get sightings of our birds and all indications are that the birds are doing well," Kolodzinski said.

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

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.

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.

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