Hamburg: Germany's Hidden Gem - United Hub

Hamburg: Germany's hidden gem

By Bob Cooper, March 30, 2018

Hamburg may be Germany's second most populous city, but that's no longer the main reason to visit. In recent years, this city of 2,500 bridges has become a hot destination for travelers from around the world, and here's why.

Popular Water Castle in the warehouse district in Hamburg

Old Hamburg

Most of the places worth visiting in Hamburg lie on or near the broad Elbe River at the city's southern edge. Among them is the massive, century-old harbor complex of brick port buildings in the Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus districts, designated in 2015 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its central role in making Hamburg one of the world's leading centers of trade for generations. These buildings in the city center can be toured, along with other nearby historic buildings such as the Rathaus, the opulent 647-room city hall, and St. Nikolai Memorial, the world's fifth-tallest church tower. Among major museums within walking distance is Miniatur Wunderland, the world's largest model railway exhibition, where 42 circling miniature planes and 260,000 miniature figures add to the delight, including a miniature model of our Boeing 757-200.

Beaches and bikes

The city's location, 50 miles from the Baltic and North Seas, make it a prime destination for summer travelers wishing to visit Germany's northern beaches. On the Baltic coast are prime seaside destinations such as Warnemünde where you can climb the 121-foot-tall lighthouse, Travemünde, which is next to Germany's largest ferry port and Ahrenshoop, on a dunes peninsula. St. Peter-Ording on the North Sea features beaches in a national park and sulphur-springs spas. If you prefer to stay only in the heart of Hamburg, some great outdoor options include strolling through Stadtpark (which has a planetarium), piloting a paddle boat at Alster Lake and riding a rented bike on the Elbe River.

Elbe Philharmonic Concert Hall, Hamburg, Germany

New music palace

The biggest event to put Hamburg on the tourism map was the opening of its tallest building, the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, in 2017. The gleaming, $1billion glass edifice, constructed atop an old warehouse, hosts numerous concerts in addition to guided tours. For a completely different music experience, fans of electronic and indie music fill some of Europe's hottest live-music clubs, especially in the St. Pauli district. Older music fans know of Hamburg as the city where the Beatles got their start, playing its clubs for four months in 1960 and 1961. A Beatles tour of these clubs is led four evenings a week.

Hamburgers to haute cuisine

Though hamburgers were believed to have originated in Hamburg in the early 1800s, today you'll find a much larger variety of food as the city has embraced modern food trends. Restaurants here are more likely to serve regional fish specialties from the North Sea, such as dishes made with eel or herring, and tasty soups, stews and breads. Beer has a long history too — Hamburg boasted 600 breweries in the 1500s — and the suds still flow freely at the city's plentiful bars and clubs today. So does coffee, with the city's first coffeehouse opening in 1677 and coffeehouse culture still going strong, with about 90 shops that roast beans.

Boat parade to celebrate Hamburg Port Anniversary

When to visit

There are reasons in all four seasons to visit Hamburg, depending on your interests. Spring brings blooming gardens and nightly “water-light shows" in a spacious botanical garden park, Panten un Blomen. It's also when the Hamburg Port Anniversary festival draws more than a million celebrants to the harbor for an array of events on May 10-13. Summer brings the warmest weather, with an average high of 70 degrees, and the big Alstervergnugen Festival on the city's Alster Lake (August 30-September 2). Fall is when prices go down and the crowds thin out. And winter arrives with seven festive Christmas markets popping up in the city center.

If you go

United Airlines flies daily nonstop flights to Hamburg from New York/Newark from April 25 through October 4. 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 trip to Hamburg.

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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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