Rising With the Sun - United Hub
Employee Travel Blog

Rising with the sun

By The Hub team, October 13, 2017

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-based Flight Attendant Joyie Lam

United employee and her mom watching the hot air balloons at sun rise

As if spending time in Turkey is not magical enough, try rising with the sun in a hot air balloon above a stunning landscape of the region of Cappadocia. Located about 500 miles southeast of Istanbul, this historical region is famous for its quaint cave hotels, pottery kebab and, of course, the hundreds of hot air balloons that fill the sky at sunrise almost every day of the year. Cappadocia's Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985 for the spectacular landscape, entirely sculpted by erosion, networks of ancient underground settlements and outstanding examples of Byzantine art.

That's why for my mom's first time in Europe, I was excited to make Turkey our first stop. If one were to forfeit sleep anywhere in the world, Cappadocia is the place to do it. From San Francisco International Airport, we hopped on a direct flight to Istanbul and then connected onto Kayseri, which is about an hour car ride from Cappadocia. Many hotels provide shuttles to transport you but if you do not reserve a shuttle, there are also taxis and buses available.

United employee exploring Cappadocia

We arrived at our cave hotel around 3:30 a.m. and decided to power through and stay awake for sunrise at 5:30 a.m. We watched the hot air balloons fill the sky, excitedly anticipating the moment when we would be in the balloons ourselves. The rest of our day was full of exploring. We took a day tour, visiting Derinkuyu, the largest underground city in the area. It was built in the 7th and 8th centuries BCE, with tunnels connected to each home, for quick escape paths during attacks. During the tour, we also got to see the iconic "fairy chimneys," which actually appeared in a scene of the first, original "Star Wars" movie.

United employee, her mom and tour guide in hot air balloon

On our last day, we got up at 4 a.m. to finally ride the hot air balloon. We got to the launch site as the sun began to peek out. Our expert pilot brought our balloon up to almost 3,000 feet. Everything about the ride was so dreamy -- we didn't know whether to look down or up because the views from all directions were breathtaking. We snapped hundreds of photos and videos before reminding ourselves to put the phones and GoPros down to fully enjoy the moment.

Words, truly, can't describe this experience.

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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