Get to Know the Tarmac Teams at United - United Hub

Get to know the tarmac teams

By The Hub team, August 25, 2016

From ramp workers to move team tug drivers and everything in between, these folks are responsible for guiding planes in, fueling them up, restocking food, loading them with baggage and cargo, and then unloading them. They move planes in and out and keep the runway moving and flights taking off on time. Each team has a different responsibility, ensuring that tarmac operations run smoothly and safely.

Catering team

The catering team is in charge of removing any used food from returning aircraft and resupplying them with fresh food, made daily at United's Chelsea Food Services kitchen. You'll recognize the team by their clever van — it can rise up like a scissor lift and deliver food directly to the door of a waiting aircraft.

United's Ramp Team

Ramp team

The ramp team's job is to ensure that every aircraft is guided safely to its gate and that all baggage and cargo are successfully unloaded and passengers disembark. Once the plane has been emptied, the ramp team then loads all of the baggage and cargo for the next flight — and it's all done in less than 60 minutes.

Move team

United move teams are tasked with driving the incredible super tug: a vehicle that can move planes. The super tug allows the move team to transport an aircraft from hangars to gates without any input from the pilot or the plane's engines. It's also worth mentioning that the super tug helps to cut down on fuel consumption and engine wear, which is good for the environment and helps keep planes in the air longer.

United's Fuel Team

Fuel team

Perhaps the most self-explanatory of all of the teams, the fuel team's job is to load fuel into United planes while they wait at the gate. With incredibly powerful pumps, the fuel team can fill a jumbo jet with a full tank of fuel in less than an hour. Did you know that the fuel is pumped into the airplane's wing?

United's PetSafe Team


The United PetSafe team has one of the most important jobs on the tarmac: keeping man's best friend safe and happy. During the summer, pets are kept in air-conditioned vehicles on the tarmac and loaded last to ensure that they are well looked after. Same goes for the winter months to keep them warm. During connections, PetSafe team members will also tend to cages and refill water keeping your pets safe and comfortable on their journey.

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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