A Last Chance to Say Goodbye - United Hub

A last chance to say goodbye

By Gladys Roman

Customer Kelly Hoover was living her worst nightmare. She was traveling from Las Vegas, Nevada to Cleveland, Ohio to see her dying father on January 28.

"The night before, I was talking on the phone with him for about 15 minutes, and then my mom told me something was wrong with him, that he wasn't responding," remembered Mrs. Hoover. "So I told my mom to call 911, and she got him to the hospital really quick. The next morning I got a call from one of my brothers telling me that my dad had had a heart attack, and doctors were saying he wasn't going to make it."

Mrs. Hoover immediately booked a flight from Las Vegas, connecting in Chicago before arriving in Cleveland, but she was traveling at the same time the polar vortex was impacting the Midwest, disrupting many of our flights, including hers. Her flight was diverted to Indianapolis, and there was a big possibility she wasn't going to make it in time to see her father and say goodbye.

Customer Kelly Hoover and her father

Desperate to get to her destination, Mrs. Hoover shared her story with one of the flight attendants, who in response connected her with Cleveland-based Airport Communications Technician Gregg Wirth, who she knew was traveling with his wife Debbie after visiting their son and grandchildren in Las Vegas. The Wirths were contemplating driving to Cleveland, and once they learned about Mrs. Hoover's situation, they didn't hesitate to offer her a ride and take her straight to the hospital.

"I hadn't slept for 24 hours and was very stressed and in no condition to drive," said Mrs. Hoover. "Gregg and Debbie were like angels that God placed for me, because He knew I needed to get to my dad to get that final closure with him."

For Gregg and Debbie, helping Mrs. Hoover, even though they didn't know her, was simply the right thing to do. "It was just humane," said Gregg. "My wife is a nurse, and she was comforting her the entire way. We took her right up to the hospital where we arrived right after 2 a.m."

"Because of Gregg and Debbie, I was able to spend seven hours with my dad by myself," said Mrs. Hoover. "I was able to hold his hand until my brothers came and we decided to take him off life support after the doctors told us we didn't have a lot of options."

Although, Mrs. Hoover is still grieving her loss, she finds comfort in knowing that she found two great friends during what she will always remember as one of the saddest days of her life.

"I'll always treasure that time that I got with my dad thanks to Gregg and Debbie," Mrs. Hoover added. "Today, I'm happy to call them my friends, and, coincidentally, their son lives a few blocks from my house, which is one of the reasons why I think they're angels God sent me."

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

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