A Place that Wows at Every Turn - United Hub

Iceland: A place that wows at every turn

By The Hub team

"It felt like a different planet. Everywhere you go is beautiful."

Iceland: A land of diverse and breathtaking Nordic landscapes – from glistening glaciers, incredible waterfalls, exploding geysers and more, you can find it all across this vast land of marvelousness.

For freelance photographer Tim Landis, a trip to Iceland was a dream come true – an island of immense beauty asking to be captured through a lens.

But Tim's dream was fulfilled both professionally and personally. Thanks to United's MileagePlus® program, Tim's wife Staci and their three children -- Makenzie (16), Madden (13) and Amara (11) – came along for the incredible experience.

"Soaking it all in was amazing but watching my family experience it as well was even better," said Tim.

World-famous Blue Lagoon

It was the ultimate family adventure – four days filled with the best of the best that Iceland has to offer. The trip kicked off with a stop at the world-famous Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa whose vivid turquoise water attracts tourists from all over the world. Each day that followed brought a new sense of curiosity and wonder.

Day 2

A drive along the Golden Circle, stopping to marvel at the gorgeous sights of Thingvellir National Park, playing the waiting game anticipating when the geysir will erupt and taking in the massiveness of the Gullfoss waterfall.

Dyrh\u00f3laey cliff

Day 3

Continuing on to Vik along the stunning southern coast of Iceland visiting various sites along the way, including two of Iceland's most famous waterfalls Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss. A bit of rain and fog didn't deter plans to check out Dyrhólaey, where the sea meets the dramatic cliff and where you can catch a glimpse of a puffin, Iceland's most famous bird.

Kayaking through the J\u00f6kuls\u00e1rl\u00f3n Glacier Lagoon

Day 4

The fourth day began with an early wake-up call to drive to Skaftafell National Park, home to some of the most precious natural pearls of the country. Here, you'll find breathtaking scenery, rugged mountains and beautiful glaciers, and a variety of plants and wildlife. The day continued with a boat excursion at Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon where you can cruise between the marvelous icebergs which regularly break off the glacier and make their way to the sea.

The Landis family will forever be able to look back on their Icelandic adventure through the awe-inspiring photography they captured. But beyond the unreal scenery, unforgettable memories and unbelievable experience, the family's #UnitedJourney trip strengthened the Landis' most precious treasure: their unbreakable bond.

"One of the biggest takeaways from the trip is that we all saw each other grow in a small way. As parents, we got to see our kids be creative while also allowing them the space to interpret the world in their own way," said Staci. "I didn't travel much as a kid so being able to be alongside them during this opportunity and watch them take it all in is truly special."

As for Tim, he says the chance to share this journey through Iceland with his family is almost indescribable.

"It was incredible to experience a multitude of 'firsts' together – new and different foods, a variety of new experiences, landscapes we're never seen before and experiencing the grandeur of so many amazing piece of natural history," he said. "This trip was one for the books and we're so thankful for the opportunity."

Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach

5 tips & tricks we learned during our Icelandic experience:

  • Layers, layers, layers! A famous saying in Iceland is: "If you don't like the weather, just wait 5 minutes." The expression reflects the notoriously changeable weather of the country, so pack for all four seasons because chances are, you'll experience them all in one day.
  • Rent a car. Most of Iceland's top attractions are remote and spread out around the island, and with no railway system, your options of getting around are limited. Rent a car and hit the road for the ultimate road trip! *Note: Car rental is quite pricey in Iceland but use your MileagePlus® miles to book via Hertz and earn miles for your next adventure.
  • Factor in time for extra stops. Driving around Iceland is far from boring and each turn reveals a breathtaking landscape after the next. Plan for extra stops along the way because trust us, you will want to stop and take in the beauty. Note: Fill up whenever you see a gas stations – you never know how long it'll be before you see another one.
  • Order fish and chips at least once. Surrounded by the North Atlantic, no wonder Iceland offers some of the freshest seafood around. Our favorite? The classic fish and chips, specifically from the small red shack at the entrance to Skógafoss. A must, if you ask us!
  • Prepare to throw off your sleeping habits. During the summer months, Iceland has daylight for up to 20+ hours per day while in the winter, the may only be a few hours of daylight. Either way, adjusting your body to a sleep schedule is tricky.

Inspired to take your Icelandic adventure? United offers seasonal, daily nonstop flights from Newark to Reykjavik – only a four hour and forty minute flight! Book at United.com.

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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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