Places to go on your next #AvGeek vacation
The world is full of aviation enthusiasts, affectionately known as #avgeeks, who love to visit any spots aviation related as part of their vacation plans. But you don't need to be a hard-core aviation enthusiast to include these places on your next vacation. With National Aviation Day coming up on August 19, below are seven aviation-related places that are fun for everyone.
Where else in the world can you see a Boeing 727 -- in the United Airlines livery -- hanging over your head? Only at the Museum of Science & Industries' Transportation Gallery, where the tri-engine jet hangs in the East Court Hall. Visitors can climb inside the 727, which features hands-on activities and interactive displays. Volunteer United pilots are on hand to help explain how the jet works, share their experiences on the job and offer advice on aviation careers. The museum's displays also feature an iconic 1917 Curtiss JN-4D, known as the Jenny, a 1928 Boeing 40B used as a mail transport plane and a 1930 Texaco TravelAir Model R Racer. Don't forget to check out the museum's Flight and Ride simulators.
Los Angeles, California
Have you ever wanted to experience what it was like to fly during the golden age of travel? Now you can find out, thanks to Air Hollywood, a company that creates realistic aircraft interiors and props for the film industry. The company offers the Pan Am Dining Experience, where guests board a replica of the airline's Boeing 747. Each customer receives a 1970s-style boarding pass, ticket jacket and first class carry-on tags and can tour the Clipper Club, featuring vintage Pan Am memorabilia. Passengers board the Clipper Juan T. Trippe, where they are greeted by stewardesses wearing original Pan Am uniforms serving cocktails. A stewardess then prepares the cabin for a gourmet five-course dinner. After dinner, guests can take a tour of Air Hollywood's production sets.
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina
Fly into Virginia's Norfolk International Airport and drive for two hours to this city in North Carolina's Outer Banks to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial. The site, managed by the National Park Service, is where the Wright Brothers flew the first successful powered heavier-than-air aircraft flight on Dec. 17, 1903. Among the many things to do at the memorial are visiting the site where the Wright Brothers first took off and landed, the reconstructed camp where they lived during flight testing, the large marble memorial that offers stunning views of the site, a bookstore for souvenirs and the Visitors Center, where Park Service rangers offer tours and information. If you want to get in some beach time, there is one nearby the memorial and Cape Hatteras National Seashore is only 10 miles away.
The Pima Air & Space Museum, number seven on CNN Travel's list, is located on 80 acres and serves as home to more than 300 aircraft, ranging from a replica of the Wright Flyer to a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It's also home to an impressive 2,600-acre boneyard, where U.S. military and government planes sit after being retired. The main hangar features exhibits on topics such as Seaplanes and Amphibians, Aircraft Carriers and Aerial Reconnaissance. There is also the Joyce M. Corrigan Women in Flight Gallery, which puts the spotlight on female aerial achievements from the 1700s to the present.
Palm Springs, California
The Palm Springs Air Museum, number 14 on CNN Travel's list of the 14 Best Aviation Museums, focuses on military aviation during World War II, the Korean and the Vietnam wars with stellar exhibits of static and flyable aircraft. The Major Gen. Ken Miles Hangar houses aircraft from the Korean and Vietnam wars including a Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and a Northrop Grumman EA-6B Prowler. Visitors can also see the museum's maintenance and restoration facility and participate in educational programs. You can't leave without taking a ride in the museum's C-47 Skytrain or a P-51 Mustang flown by the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.
It is no surprise to #avgeeks that both Smithsonian Air & Space Museums -- the downtown location and the The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center next to Washington Dulles International Airport -- were number one on the CNN Travel List. Both museums feature IMAX theaters and flight simulators.
The downtown museum, made up of 22 galleries, features the Glamorous Glennis, the Bell X-1 rocket engine-powered used by Gen. Chuck Yeager to break the sound barrier, the Mercury Friendship 7 capsule, the Lockheed Vega flown by Amelia Earhart in 1932 in the first solo trans-Atlantic flight by a woman and the Spirit of St. Louis flown by Charles Lindberg. The Dulles museum has an Air France Concorde, the Space Shuttle Discovery, the Enola Gay, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress used to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima Japan and the Boeing Dash 80, which would become the 707, the plane that launched the jet age. Both museums are large, so plan to spend at least a day at each.
The Emerald City is not only the home of Boeing, but also to the Museum of Flight, the largest independent, non-profit air and space museum in the world and number four on CNN Travel's list. Try your hand at flying a drone, catch an aviation- or space-themed flick at the 3D Movie Theater or see if you have the skills to become a pilot during a one-hour course that ends with a simulator ride. The Aviation Pavilion is home to 19 commercial and military aircraft including the first Boeing 727, 737 and 747 jets and the first Air Force One jet.
If you go
When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 85 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 12,000 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
Throughout these unprecedented times, we remain committed to doing what is right and fair for all of our MileagePlus® members and are pleased to share the steps we are taking to reciprocate the trust and loyalty that you have placed in United. These steps include not only Premier status updates, but also an extension of current memberships and subscriptions. The updates will happen automatically over the next few weeks — there's nothing you need to do.
The big news: If you have current 2020 Premier status, it will be extended to January 31, 2022. At a minimum, you will enjoy the same published status next year that you have today, up to and including Premier 1K®.
For the 2021 status year, United is reducing thresholds for Premier qualification by 50% for each status level, to make reaching an even higher tier easier. You'll still need a minimum of four flight segments on United or United Express®.
Earn Premier qualifying flights
… or meet a higher PQP goal
We're also doubling PQP for United Explorer cards and quadrupling PQP for the United Club cards.
At the same time that we're decreasing the published program's PQP requirements, via a promotion from May 1 – December 31, 2020, we're doubling (for United Explorer cards) or quadrupling (for United Club cards) the maximum number of PQP that Cardmembers can earn from card spending during 2020 to help achieve a higher level of status than you already have. More details to come later.
1K® and Platinum members, we're increasing your ability to upgrade by extending PlusPoints expiration dates by six months and expanding Skip Waitlist.
- This means a six-month extension of any PlusPoints set to expire on or before January 31, 2021.
- Last year we introduced Skip Waitlist on select flights as a benefit to 1K members, giving you more opportunities to confirm an upgrade request at the time of booking. This benefit will now be available for the rest of 2020 in a significantly expanded selection of long-haul international regions and will have expanded availability in 2021 as well.
We're extending all annual membership and subscription benefits by six months.
- We want to make sure your benefits are still there when you're ready to start flying again. That's why we're extending purchased United Club℠ memberships purchased directly from United and purchased subscriptions for Economy Plus®, United Wi-Fi℠ and checked bags by six months. You should see this reflected in your MileagePlus account soon.
All electronic travel certificates now have 24 months to be used.
- If your travel plans have been disrupted, and you have an electronic travel certificate from us for the value of your ticket, you now have two years from the date it was issued to book a new flight, as well as up to an additional 11 months to travel. This includes all currently valid and all new electronic travel certificates issued on or after April 1, 2020.
We have removed some redeposit fees for the rest of the year.
- We are currently waiving all award redeposit fees for travel through end of May 2020.
- We are now also waiving all redeposit fees for award ticket cancellations made more than 30 days before departure for the remainder of 2020.
Finally, we'll be making it easier to earn status in 2021 for the 2022 program year. We recognize that getting back to travel will occur at a different pace for different members. Keep an eye out for changes we will make to help you earn status in 2021 for 2022, as we'll share details later this year.
Over the years, you have placed your trust and loyalty in United, and we are honored to do the same for you. We are all in this together.
Status extension to January 31, 2022, applies to all members that met the published criteria of the MileagePlus program in 2019, status match associated with the United/Marriott Bonvoy partnership and status offered as part of a Sales nomination. Status granted from other programs and policies may not apply.
To help with the uncertainty around future travel — be it summer vacations, conferences, events and more — customers now have until April 30 to make changes to, or cancel, any travel they have booked through the end of the year without fees. This is in addition to existing waivers already in place which allow customers to change or cancel plans for travel through May 31.If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee. These electronic travel certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. You might not see this policy change reflected everywhere right away – we appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.
Eligible travelers on domestic flights and international tickets can request a refund on united.com or may call our contact centers if their flights have been severely adjusted or service to their destination suspended either due to government mandates or United schedule reductions related to COVID-19.
Certain tickets cannot be changed on united.com or the mobile app, including tickets booked through another airline (if the ticket receipt does not begin with 016). Please contact the original ticketing airline for changes.
Follow the steps below to stay up to date, change or cancel your flight.
Change your current flight:
- On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your flight information to retrieve your flight.
- Select "Change flight" and then "Edit" to make the following changes:
- Date of travel or destination
- Add a flight
- Remove a flight
- Select "Continue" and choose a new flight option
- Continue through booking to confirm your new flight
Note: The change fee will display as waived, but any difference in fare may apply.
Cancel your flight and rebook later:
- On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your reservation information to retrieve your flight
- Select "Cancel flight"
- Confirm flight cancellation
- If you have future flight credit, when you return to the reservation, select "Use Future Flight Credit" to shop for new flights and apply the credit towards a new flight.
Canceling or changing an award flight:
When you select "Cancel flight," you will have the option to cancel your award reservation and redeposit the miles or to cancel your award reservation and use those miles for another trip in the future.
*We're currently experiencing heavy traffic to united.com. If you experience an error while trying to change or cancel your flight, please try again later.
Click through the slideshow below for more detailed instructions:
Start on the United homepage:
User can select 'My Trips' on the homepage widget to find and retrieve their reservation.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.
Check out our newest destinations
Watch our most popular videos
This is the story of Jason and Shantel. You see, Jason and Shantel love each other very much. They also love traveling and they love the classic Adam Sandler film, The Wedding Singer.
It all began when Jason reached out to United's social media team, hoping for assistance with his upcoming plan to propose. Some phone calls and one borrowed guitar later, the stage was set for Jason. Put all that together, mix in some helpful United employees and, voila, you have a truly memorable marriage proposal. Congratulations to this fun-loving and happy couple, and here's to many more years of making beautiful music together.
A big thank you to Chicago-based flight attendants Donna W., Marie M., Karen J. and Mark K. for making this proposal come to life.