Historic Torah Returns to Europe - United Hub
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Historic Torah returns to Europe

By The Hub team, October 18, 2017

We connected the past and the future, and two Jewish congregations 6,000 miles apart, by helping a rabbi and a cantor from the San Francisco Bay Area transport a 200-year-old Torah scroll, a refugee from the Holocaust, back to its home temple in the Czech Republic on October 17.

The Torah has been at the Peninsula Sinai Congregation in Foster City, just south of San Francisco International Airport, since 1970. It came from a synagogue from a village called Olomouc in the Czech Republic. Before and during World War II, Torahs and other artifacts were routinely confiscated or destroyed by the occupying Nazis, but this Torah and hundreds of others were hidden or taken out of Nazi territory for safekeeping.

The rabbi with the Torah scroll in the gate area of the airport.

The Olomouc Torah arrived in Foster City in 1970s, and as the Jewish community in Olomouc grew again, they reached out to the California congregation.

"They asked us if we could help restore this scroll to kosher status and bring it back to its home," said Rabbi Corey Helfand of the Peninsula Sinai Congregation. Corey was accompanied on his flight to Frankfurt, Germany on Tuesday by Cantor Doron Shapira, who has a personal connection with the scrolls. His in-laws were among the Jews who escaped Olomouc, and they previously worshipped at the Olomouc synagogue.

The Peninsula Sinai Congregation has nearly completed restoring the Torah over the past several years – the final work will be done in Olomouc, and the scroll returned to its home synagogue during ceremonies planned for later this month.

Michael Hayat, an IT Senior Manager based in San Francisco, is a member of the Foster City congregation and worked with San Francisco Airport and United representatives to make sure the Torah would receive special handling on the United leg of the journey to Frankfurt, before heading to its final destination in Prague.

The Torah scroll with United staff, the rabbi and the cantor on the flight to Frankfurt

Our Customer Service staff provided early boarding and a secure spot for the special carry-on, as well as arranged for the rabbi and cantor to have an empty seat between them, which was assigned to the Torah. It even got its own boarding pass. During the flight, the pilots and flight attendants checked on them regularly to make sure they had a comfortable flight. We worked with the TSA to make sure the scroll could get through security with no issues, and with Lufthansa, to ensure a smooth connection in Frankfurt.

"I am overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude for how everyone came together to make this a special flight for them," Michael said. "The United family came together and exceeded all our expectations."

The ABC-TV affiliate in San Francisco covered the event; watch their coverage here.

United's regional presidents join respective Governor's COVID-19 task force

By Ryan Wilks, May 21, 2020

As a member in the tourism, travel and transportation industries, United offers a unique perspective into the economic and operational effects rippling across the U.S. To advocate United's efforts, and in anticipation of a bright future, New York/New Jersey President Jill Kaplan and California President Janet Lamkin have both been named to their states' respective governor's COVID-19 response task force committees.

A message from Scott Kirby, United’s new CEO

By The Hub team, May 20, 2020


Hello. I'm Scott Kirby, the new CEO of United Airlines. I'm a proud Air Force Academy graduate and have spent my entire career in and around aviation, including the last four years as President of United.

While I had planned for my first communication with you to be about the meaningful investments we were making to the travel experience and our continued growth across the U.S. and expansion to exciting new destinations around the world, today, the situation rendered to us by the COVID-19 pandemic leads me to a different type of message.

First, I graciously and humbly thank you for your business. Now, more than ever, our customers' loyalty is so deeply appreciated by every member of the United family.

As essential workers, the men and women of our airline have been hard at work over the past two months to transport vital medical supplies and critical goods to places that need them most, to provide free travel to healthcare professionals and to help thousands of individuals repatriate to their home countries.

Safety has always been our top priority, and right now in the midst of an unprecedented crisis, it's our singular customer focus. We recognize that COVID-19 has brought cleanliness and hygiene standards to the front of your mind when making travel decisions. We're not leaving a single stone unturned in our pursuit to protect our customers and employees.

We are installing plexiglass in lobby and gate areas, we're using the same equipment used to clean hospitals to disinfect the interiors of our aircraft, all crew and customers on board are required to wear face mask coverings and we're taking the temperature of our employees before they start work.

But at United, we're not stopping there. We're teaming up with experts from Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic to set a new standard for cleanliness and healthy flying that we are calling United CleanPlus℠.

Clorox is working closely with us to improve how we disinfect common surfaces and provide our customers with amenities that support a healthy and safe environment.

Physicians and scientists at the Cleveland Clinic, will advise us on new technologies and approaches, assist in training development and create a rigorous quality assurance program. And, as scientists learn more about how to fight COVID-19, Cleveland Clinic experts will help us use those discoveries to quickly implement new ways to keep our customers safe.

While we may not know when this pandemic will subside, what we do know is that travel is so deeply woven into the fabric of our global culture. We all desire to visit family, dance at a friend's wedding, hug parents…and see the wonders of this beautiful world. No matter how sharp the picture quality – or how strong the WiFi signal – there's simply no substitute for being there – in person – to collaborate, celebrate, explore. We are confident that travel will return. And when it does, United Airlines will be ready to serve you again in the friendly skies.

Thank you. Be well. And I look forward to seeing you on board.

Making every step of the travel journey safer for you

By United Airlines, April 22, 2020
United Clean Plus | Clorox

We remain passionate about connecting the world safely

United CleanPlus SM is our commitment to putting health and safety at the forefront of your journey, with the goal of delivering an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. We're teaming up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures, and over the coming months, we'll roll out Clorox products across our U.S. airports, starting in select locations, to help support a healthy and safe environment throughout your travel experience.

At the airport

  • At check-in:

  • 1
    Implementing temperature checks for employees and flight attendants working at hub airports
  • 2
    Installing sneeze guards at check-in and gate podiums
  • 3
    Encouraging use of the United app for contactless travel assistance and more
  • 4
    Promoting social distancing with floor decals to help customers stand 6 feet apart
  • 5
    Introducing touchless check-in for customers with bags
  • At the gate:

  • 6
    Disinfecting high-touch areas such as door handles, handrails, elevator buttons, telephones and computers
  • 7
    Providing hand sanitizer and
    disinfectant wipes
  • 8
    Allowing customers to self-scan boarding passes
  • 9
    Boarding fewer customers at a time and, after pre-boarding, boarding from the back of the plane to the front to promote social distancing

On our aircraft

  • 1
    Providing individual hand sanitizer wipes for customers
  • 2
    Requiring all customers and employees to wear a face covering and providing disposable face coverings for customers who need them
  • 3
    Temporarily removing onboard items like pillows, blankets and inflight magazines
  • 4
    Disinfecting high-touch areas, like tray tables and armrests, before boarding
  • 5
    Reducing contact between flight attendants and customers during snack and beverage service
  • 6
    Ensuring aircraft cleaning standards meet or exceed CDC guidelines
  • 7
    Applying social distancing to seating procedures when possible, including:
    • Limiting middle seat selection
    • Moving customers seated closely together
    • De-planing in groups of five rows at a time to reduce crowding
  • 8
    Using electrostatic spraying to disinfect aircraft, to be completed on all flights by mid-June
  • 9
    Using state-of-the-art, hospital-grade, high-efficiency (HEPA) filters to circulate air and remove up to 99.7% of airborne particles

Cleveland Clinic We're working closely with the experts at Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols for the safety of our employees and customers. Visit Cleveland Clinic's website to learn more about COVID-19.

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