San Antonio's Fantasy Flight fairy - United Hub

San Antonio's Fantasy Flight fairy

By The Hub team, December 08, 2017

Thirty years ago, San Antonio-based Lead Customer Service Representative Beth Reininger was asked by a colleague to help with San Antonio Airport's Fantasy Flight. Thirty years later, Beth has 30 Fantasy Flights under her belt, and a whole lot of love for all the kids she's met throughout the years.

"I come back every year for the kids. It's always been about the kiddos and making sure we give them memories that they will cherish forever," said Beth.

During her first few years as a volunteer, Beth couldn't make it through the event without getting sad, but with time, she learned to remember there's something to celebrate. "Their being here means they got another day, and that calls for a celebration of their lives."

All the kids hold a special place in Beth's heart, but there's one in particular whom she looks forward to seeing every year.

Sixteen-year-old Samantha has been attending San Antonio's Fantasy Flight for the past 12 years. After being diagnosed with stage IV brain cancer at the age of three, Samantha's family didn't imagine they'd be coming back to the event over the next 12 years.

"It's truly a miracle. I don't know what God's plan is for Samantha but he would never have let me keep her this long if he didn't have a plan," said Samantha's mom, Dulce Muckleroy. "I want United to understand what an amazing gift they're providing these kids, some of whom will never get a chance to leave their hometowns, let alone get on a plane, by putting on such a wonderful event for them."

Although, remarkably, now in remission, Samantha has never been able to grow hair. Despite what some would find embarrassing, she proudly embraces her bare scalp.

"She refuses to wear a wig because she says her bald head is a sign of courage," said Beth. "She's such an incredible young girl and an inspiration to me. Every single year, I look through the list to see if she's coming, because she gives us all hope that you can be a fighter and a survivor."

Beth Reininger with an employee dressed up as a clown.

Although Beth has taken the role of coordinating the event each year, it takes many helping hands to create this unique and memorable experience for the kids – between decorating, purchasing presents, arranging food, gathering volunteers and much more, it's quite the team effort.

Thankfully for Beth, she has rock star volunteers in Houston-based Flight Attendants Janet Sweeney and Heather Graham and Houston-based 737 Captain Vern Robinson, who each volunteer to be part of the crew on San Antonio's Fantasy Flight, in addition to putting in time well before the event as preparations unfold.

"It really does take a village to pull this off, and there's no way I could do any of this without the help of all of the volunteers who put so much time and effort into this. Everyone's dedication is admirable," said Beth.

Despite the countless hours of hard work, the day of the Fantasy Flight is always Beth's favorite day of the year.

"For just a few hours, the kids, along with their parents and siblings, get to experience the magic of our winter wonderland," said Beth. "We give them an escape, and if their pain and worries go away for just those few precious hours, it makes it all worthwhile."

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.

Scroll to top