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 Makes it Easier for Customers to Find and Use Travel Credits

The airline offers customers the most transparent and user-friendly options in the industry to encourage and simplify using travel credits
By United Newsroom, September 23, 2021

CHICAGO, Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United today announced it is giving customers even more flexibility when they need to rebook their travel by helping them to find and use their travel credits. United is the only airline to make it easy for customers to use their credits by automatically displaying them as a payment option during the checkout process. This functionality will be available for MileagePlus® members first and the airline is working to roll it out to all customers in the near future. Also, beginning next week, United will be the first to let customers use their travel credits for extra legroom seats and to pre-pay for checked baggage.

United Airlines Plans to Begin Flights Between Washington, D.C. and Lagos, Nigeria in November

United to operate the first ever nonstop flight between Washington, D.C. and Lagos and offer more flights between D.C. and Africa than any other carrier
By United Newsroom, September 17, 2021

CHICAGO, Sept. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United Airlines announced today that new service between Washington, D.C. and Lagos, Nigeria will begin November 29 (subject to government approval). The airline will operate three weekly flights connecting the U.S. capital to Nigeria's largest city, which is also the top Western African destination for U.S-based travelers. Tickets will be available for sale on united.com and the United app this weekend.

United, Honeywell Invest in New Clean Tech Venture from Alder Fuels, Powering Biggest Sustainable Fuel Agreement in Aviation History

United agrees to purchase 1.5 billion gallons of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) over 20 years - which is one and a half times the size of the rest of the world's airlines' publicly announced SAF commitments combined
By United Newsroom, September 09, 2021

CHICAGO and DES PLAINES, Ill., Sept. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United and Honeywell today announced a joint multimillion-dollar investment in Alder Fuels – a cleantech company that is pioneering first-of-its-kind technologies for producing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at scale by converting abundant biomass, such as forest and crop waste, into sustainable low-carbon, drop-in replacement crude oil that can be used to produce aviation fuel. When used together across the fuel lifecycle, the Alder technologies, coupled with Honeywell's Ecofining™ process, could have the ability to produce a carbon-negative fuel at spec with today's jet fuel. The goal of the technologies is to produce fuel that is a 100% drop-in replacement for petroleum jet fuel.

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