London's must-see hidden gems - United Hub
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London's must-see hidden gems

By The Hub team, September 27, 2017

This autumn, wander off the beaten track and explore London's tucked-away treasures, including under-the-radar attractions and hip art galleries.

Hidden away a few streets behind the Tower of London, the atmospheric Wilton's Music Hall is an Instagrammer's dream with its air of faded grandeur. This traditional Victorian music hall has been fully restored to its former glory in recent years. Showing at the intimate venue November 3-14 is Peter Brook's radical reworking of Georges Bizet's opera La Tragedie de Carmen. You can also take a tour of the historic venue or enjoy a drink in its shabby-chic Mahogany Bar.

Union Chapel in Islington is one of London's architectural marvels that's home to an award-winning live entertainment venue, a church and a unique organ. On October 14, the venue will host the three-day festival, Organ Reframed, featuring solo sets and improvisations based on its 1877 organ.

Another under-the-radar delight is Sir John Soane's Museum near Holborn's Covent Garden, crammed full of more than 20,000 architectural drawings and antiquities collected by Soane, the architect for the Bank of England. This autumn, visitors can see new sculptures by a leading contemporary artist with Marc Quinn: Drawn from Life, a major exhibition in the spirit of Soane through September 23.

Many festivals taking place in London this autumn will give you the chance to get under the skin of the capital's famous and lesser-known venues. At Open House London — for one weekend only — you can snoop around some of the city's quirkiest and grandest buildings, many of which are normally closed to the public.

You can also soak up some culture after dark at Museums at Night, a three-day festival encompassing late-night exhibitions, candlelit tours and sleepovers from October 25-27. Got a passion for film? Then check out the 12-day Raindance Film Festival, presenting a packed program of screenings, parties, seminars and workshops.

If you really want to experience London like a local, escape the hustle and bustle of central London and make a beeline for gems in the city's friendly neighborhoods. Head over to Southwest London to soak up the dazzling autumn colors at Kew Gardens' Shades of Nature Autumn Festival, until October 29 where you can see 16 sculptures showcasing the beauty of the season. A highlight is British artist Rebecca Louise Law's giant hanging installation of flower garlands on display at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery.

Anyone with a passion for art should go to the Whitechapel Gallery in east London. Championing contemporary art, the gallery has premiered artists such as Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollock. The gallery's temporary Thomas Ruff photography exhibition, featuring cosmology and utopianism, is a must-see and is open until January, 21 of next year.

Other intriguing exhibitions that merit exploration this season include Poster Girls at the London Transport Museum, highlighting female artists who have designed posters for London Transport, and Ayurvedic Man: Encounters with Indian Medicine at the fascinating Wellcome Collection, which offers a glimpse into ancient practices of sustaining health in India.

Autumn in London is open. Book your London hidden gems adventure by visiting united.com or through the United app. And while you're there, share your experience on social media with the hashtag #LondonIsOpen and #AutumnSeason.

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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