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 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.

"This new flight to Lagos has been highly anticipated by our customers and offers the first ever nonstop service between Washington, D.C. and Nigeria, as well as convenient, one-stop connections to over 80 destinations throughout the Americas including Houston and Chicago," said Patrick Quayle, United's vice president of international network and alliances. "On behalf of all of United we'd like to offer our sincere thanks to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and U.S. Department of Transportation for supporting our plans to provide this service."

"We are honored to work with our partners at United Airlines to welcome their second nonstop connection from Dulles International to the African continent," said Carl Schultz, acting vice president of airline business development at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. "Lagos joins nearly 50 other nonstop international destinations currently served by the National Capital Region's gateway to the world."

United will operate this route with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner featuring 28 United Polaris® business class lie-flat seats, 21 United Premium Plus® premium economy seats, 36 Economy Plus® seats and 158 standard economy seats. This flight is the only service between the U.S. and Nigeria to offer premium economy product. Flights will depart Washington, D.C. on Monday, Thursday and Saturday and return from Lagos on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday.

This new flight builds on United's expansion into Africa and solidifies United's leadership position to Africa from the D.C. metro area, with more flights to the continent than any other airline. Just this year, United launched new service between New York/Newark and Johannesburg, South Africa and between Washington, D.C. and Accra, Ghana. And this December and January, United will increase its service to Accra from three weekly flights to daily* as customers travel home for the winter holidays. United is also returning its popular service between New York/Newark and Cape Town, South Africa on December 1.

United's new flights comply with each country's COVID-19 protocols and customers should check destination requirements before traveling.

Making International Travel Easier

United is the only U.S. airline to offer its own one-stop-shop where customers can conveniently get "travel-ready" by finding a location to schedule a COVID-19 test as well as upload and store their test results and vaccination records directly through the airline's website and award-winning mobile app with the Travel-Ready Center. The airline's easy-to-use travel tool available on United's mobile app enables customers to reduce stress and save valuable time at the airport right from the palm of their hand. United also announced a collaboration with Abbott and became the first U.S. carrier to set up an easy way for international travelers to bring a CDC-approved test with them, self-administer while abroad, and return home.

United Next

United is more focused than ever on its commitment to customers and employees. In addition to today's announcement, United has recently:

  • Launched an ambitious plan to transform the United customer experience by adding and upgrading hundreds of aircraft as well as investing in features like larger overhead bins, seatback entertainment in every seat and the industry's fastest available Wi-Fi.
  • Announced a goal to create 25,000 unionized jobs by 2026 that includes careers as pilots, flight attendants, agents, technicians, and dispatchers.
  • Announced that United will train at least 5,000 pilots by 2030 through the United Aviate Academy, with the plan of at least half being women and people of color.
  • Required all U.S. employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Became the first airline to offer customers the ability to check their destination's travel requirements, schedule COVID-19 tests and more on its mobile app and website. 
  • Invested in emerging technologies that are designed to decarbonize air travel, like an agreement to work with urban air mobility company Archer, an investment in aircraft startup Heart Aerospace and a purchase agreement with Boom Supersonic.
  • Committed to going 100% green by 2050 by reducing 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions without relying on traditional carbon offsets, including a recent agreement to  purchase one and a half times the amount of all of the rest of the world's airlines' publicly announced Sustainable Aviation Fuel commitments combined.
  • Eliminated change fees for all economy and premium cabin tickets for travel within the U.S.

About United

United's shared purpose is "Connecting People. Uniting the World." In 2019, United and United Express® carriers operated more than 1.7 million flights carrying more than 162 million customers. United has the most comprehensive route network among North American carriers, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.  For more about how to join the United team, please visit united.com/careers and more information about the company is at united.com. United Airlines Holdings, Inc. is traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol "UAL".

*daily flights to Accra this winter are subject to government approval

 

SOURCE United Airlines

For further information: United Airlines Worldwide Media Relations, +1-872-825-8640, media.relations@united.com

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.

United Airlines to Present at the 14th Annual Cowen Global Transportation & Sustainable Mobility Conference

By United Newsroom, September 01, 2021

CHICAGO, Sept. 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- United (NASDAQ:UAL) will present at the 14th Annual Cowen Global Transportation & Sustainable Mobility Conference on Thursday, September 9. The presentation will begin at 10:30 a.m. CT / 11:30 a.m. ET.

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