Making Mom Proud - United Hub

Making mom proud

By Matt Adams, May 09, 2018

It was a rainy late March morning, and one of our Ramp Service Employee Karen Perreira and her crew were making final preparations for an inbound aircraft at Chicago-O'Hare's gate F14. In the last moments before arrival, their team lead for the day, Chris Kaczmarek, made sure everyone was clear on his or her positioning, then he looked at Karen.

"You OK working the pit on this one?" he asked with some hesitation, partly because of Karen's 20-plus years of seniority on him, but partly for reasons a little more, well, delicate.

"Sure, I'll swap with you," she answered, concealing a grin.

"Thanks, Mom."

Geoff, Karen and Chris on the ramp

For the past two years, Karen has had the rare pleasure of working with not just one, but two of her three sons. Chris, her oldest, came to the airline first, followed a few months later by her middle son, Geoff Kaczmarek. Karen's youngest, Nick Kaczmarek, is still in school at Southern Illinois University, but she has a gut feeling he might join her and his big brothers in the family business one day, too.

"Any time we all get together, Chris, Geoff and I talk airport, and Nick always gets jealous," Karen joked.

Since the time they were in diapers, Karen's boys have grown up around the roar of jet engines, so she's not altogether surprised that two of them have followed in her footsteps. Chris was fresh back from a U.S. Army deployment to Afghanistan in 2016 when Karen first mentioned to him that United was hiring at O'Hare. He said he was interested, but he had one question.

"He asked me if I'd put in a good word for him," she recalled, laughing at the memory. "I said, 'Of course!'"

More often than not, Chris and Geoff work a different shift than Karen, but like any good mom, she still keeps tabs on them. Her proudest moments are when mutual colleagues come up and tell her how well her sons are doing.

"It's very rewarding," Karen said. "You try to guide your children their whole lives, and then to see them turn out the way you envisioned them being, I can't explain how great that feels."

When they were younger, Karen worked nights so she could be at home to see them off to school in the mornings and welcome them back each afternoon. As they got older, she was a fixture at her boys' Friday night football and Saturday morning baseball games and bonded with them on family trips every summer. But of all the special memories motherhood has given Karen, seeing her children next to her in United uniform rivals any of them.

"It's been a great experience," she said. "Of everything I've done at the airline, working the ramp is my favorite, especially now that I get to do it with my sons. I always taught them to be good, kind and mindful of others, and I get to watch them exhibit that every day. They're hard-working, loving and caring men."

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

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.

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.

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