The Mystical and Magical Morocco - United Hub

The mystical and magical Morocco

By The Hub team

Each week we will profile one of our employee's adventures across the globe, featuring a new location for every employee's story. Follow along every week to learn more about their travel experiences.

By SFO Customer Service Representative Madhura Chitale

I've always wanted to see the Sahara Desert, explore old medinas and eat the delicious food of Morocco, a place I imagined to be very exotic and full of colorful palaces. Recently, I finally got to experience all that when I decided to take a trip there with some co-workers and friends.

Madhura Chitale and friends in Morocco

We decided to go to Marrakech first. Once we arrived we headed straight to our bed and breakfast we had booked in the historic district. After having mint tea and a good lunch, we visited the medina and explored some beautiful architecture. A medina quarter is a distinct city section found in many North African cities that is typically walled, with many narrow and maze-like streets.

After exploring the medina, we went to the famous Jemaa-el-Fnaa Square, where you can find hundreds of people at night eating and shopping. Later that night we decided to go to a travel agency to find transportation for our trip to the Sahara Desert. We decided on a tour guide who took us to the desert in a Land Cruiser the next morning and brought us back the following day. It was a very long trip, but worth the once-in-a-lifetime experience. Early the next morning, our travel began with a drive across the high Atlas Mountains. We passed many beautiful villages and made a stop in Ait Benhaddou -- a walled city along the former caravan route between the Sahara Desert and Marrakech, as well as the famous Kasbah, which has been used in various films as a backdrop.

We stopped in Ouarzazate to have lunch and then crossed a more than 120 mile long Draa Valley to arrive in Merzouga, the gateway to the dunes of the Moroccan Sahara Desert. We arrived at night and rode camels to our Berber camp. It was so dark that we could see the Milky Way very clearly. Once at the campsite, we had a wonderful homemade dinner, while watching Berber people playing music. As all the lights went off, we could fully appreciate the starry sky. There is nothing around you, and all you can hear are footsteps of camels on soft sand -- it was a dramatic experience.

camels in Morocco

The next morning we were ready to climb the dunes and take lovely pictures of the sunrise. Our bodies were a little sore from trekking for an hour the previous night, so we decided to take road transportation to the starting point of our camel safari. We have very fond memories of the entire journey, during which we experienced the most beautiful, spectacular and dramatic scenery in the world.

The next day we took a train to Fez, famous for its walled medina. We wandered through a maze-like city of minarets with Arabic and French influence. The medina of Fez was founded in the 9th century at around the same time that Islam arrived in Morocco and the imperial rule of the country began. Fez was the capital of Morocco until 1912. We also visited the Jewish quarter, The Mellah, where few Jewish people still live.

Exploring archaeological sites in Morocco

After leaving Fez, we explored the archaeological site of Volubilis. This was a Roman city dating back to the 3rd century BC and was a central administrative city of this part of Roman Africa. People lived there for more than 1,000 years until it was abandoned in 18th century and was demolished in order to build the palace of the Sultan in Meknes. We visited Bab el-Mansour, which is the main gate between the Meknes medina and Imperial City districts. The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is the tomb of Morocco's greatest ruler, who made Meknes his capital city in the 17th century.

After exploring imperial cities of Morocco, our last stop was Tangier. We took a four-hour drive by private van from Fez to Tangier, which is a Moroccan port on the Strait of Gibraltar. We took a ferry across to Tarifa, Spain, ending our fabulous trip to mystical and magical Morocco.

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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