The 'Queen's' Last Hurrah - United Hub
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The 'Queen's' last hurrah

By Matt Adams, November 08, 2017

Plaid polyester, platform go-go boots, sideburns and big hair all made a comeback on Tuesday as customers and employees said goodbye to the "Queen of the Skies" with a raucous celebration at San Francisco International Airport's Gate 86 before taking off for Honolulu on United's final Boeing 747 flight.

Many of the passengers came decked out in their best '70s garb and a complement of flight attendants from around the U.S. chosen by base leaders for recognition were there to sport the original uniforms worn on the first 747 "Friend Ship" routes; the flight was operated with a regular, Honolulu-based crew.

Flight attendants and a customer in retro 70's outfits

The gate area took on the feel of a family reunion, with generations of loyal United flyers swapping memories about their cherished 747. Managed Care Program Manager, Terry Werber's father was a United mechanic at CLE when she was growing up, and she took her first 747 flight on a family trip to Honolulu in 1971. On Tuesday, Terry wore the same floral print dress that her mother had worn on that flight 46 years earlier.

Terry and her husband Fred love the aircraft so much that when their son Zachary was born at 7:47 p.m., they gave him the middle name "Boeing."

"I know, it's crazy," Terry said, laughing. "Airplane people are crazy – just look around us!"

Retired flight attendant Peggy Daughtry, who flew on the 747 out of Honolulu during parts of her 35-year career, was there courtesy of her son Donovan, a 1K Premier customer who purchased a seat for her as a surprise.

"I started to cry," she said, describing how she felt when Donovan told her the news. "He knew how much this means to me. This is where [we flight attendants] grew up. We were the 'girls next door' and this plane was our home. And when you were on board, we welcomed you and said, 'Now let us make it special for you.'"

Flight attendant on the final 747 flight with Hawaiian themed 70's drinks

Peggy's favorite memories are of the lengths they went to in order to make the trips to and from Honolulu fun, such as decorating serving carts to look like homecoming floats, playing trivia games and taking time to get to know the passengers.

"My rule was, if you didn't know five people's stories by the time we landed, then you weren't doing your job," she said.

Customer Thomas Lee, who was on the first-ever commercial 747 flight – a Pan Am trip from New York to London – was there, too, saying the chance to fly it one last time was too good to pass up. So was Neyssan Rassesh, a customer with nearly 5 million miles flown on United. He began flying on the 747 years ago when his family lived in Senegal. "That was the only aircraft that flew to the U.S.," he said. "We'd fly from Senegal to New York six times a year."

With tattoos of his passport immigration stamps inked on his forearm, it was hard not to notice customer Nick Calle taking photos. "It's one of my favorite planes," he said, talking of his love for all things aviation-related.

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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