These Eyes have Paws - United Hub

These eyes have paws

By Matt Adams, June 08, 2017

On an otherwise normal morning in April, the hum of bustling travelers at Newark Liberty International Airport was joined by the jingle of leashes and the patter of paws as 90 puppies from counties in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania converged on the airport for a very important day of learning.

For two consecutive Saturdays each spring, groups of puppies – most of them between the ages of five and 18 months – travel to Newark Liberty International Airport with their foster families as part of their development as service dogs for the blind. The airport trip has been an annual event for 25 years and continues thanks to the support of United Airlines, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and The Seeing Eye, Inc., a Morristown, New Jersey, nonprofit that breeds and trains puppies to become certified Seeing Eye® dogs.

Since the 1980s, Seeing Eye volunteers Janet Keeler and Carmella Passaro have organized field trips such as this to help familiarize the dogs with the kinds of real-world situations that they will encounter once their training is complete and they are adopted by blind owners. Over the past 10 years, they have worked with NewarkAirport Station Operations Manager Maureen Briody to coordinate their visit to our terminal, which even includes a mock flight designed to give the puppies the experience of boarding a plane.

"This type of training is very important to the customers who will rely on these guide animals," Maureen said. "Not only do we expose the dogs to the sights, sounds and smells of the airport, we also teach the foster families and their support organizations what the puppies' future owners will need to know about traveling with service animals."

The puppies' day began at the Port Authority administration building, where they paraded past a fire rescue vehicle to get better acquainted with the noise and learn to avoid the spray of the water cannon. Next, they boarded buses to United's Terminal C and practiced navigating the concourse, baggage claim areas, the intra-airport monorail and the departure gates.

United Airport Operations Coordinator Jean Browne made gate announcements from the podium before the puppies boarded a United aircraft, giving them a realistic sense of the sounds associated with flying. The group then filed down the jetbridge and took their places on board, with the puppies sitting obediently underneath the seats in front of them. Once situated, Jean and retired United 787 Captain Peter Hernandez, who volunteered to serve as the day's honorary pilot, made "inflight announcements" over the public address system and talked with the foster families about things they should keep in mind while training the dogs for flying.

While it's true that this was a critical experience for the dogs, there was also a secondary benefit to hosting them at the airport: lots and lots of smiles. "The customers love it," Maureen said with a wide grin, "the kids especially; it just makes everyone happy when that long line of puppies goes past them. It's always fun to see people's reaction." Some of our employees, like Newark Airport Customer Service Representative Nanette Marques-Freitas, have themselves been moved to foster puppies for The Seeing Eye after witnessing the event.

"We fostered our first one, Dancer, last year, and we're waiting on a second puppy to begin fostering this year," Nanette said. "I'm hoping to give it a name in honor of United, maybe something like 'Polaris' or 'Ursa.' What do you think?"

United cargo-only flights transport critical goods

By The Hub team

When the pandemic began, United Cargo knew it would be critical to utilize its fleet, network and industry-leading pharmaceutical handling processes to transport a COVID-19 vaccine when the time came.

Connecting vaccines to the world: United responds to mass distribution effort

December 22, 2020

On November 27, United Airlines became the first commercial airline to safely deliver the first batch of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine into the U.S. thanks to a coordinated effort between United's cargo, safety, technical operations, flight operations, regulatory and legal teams.

Now as the entire shipping and logistics industry bands together to widely distribute vaccines, United is leveraging all of its flights, including cargo-only and those carrying passengers, to transport millions of vaccines to destinations throughout our network, including Honolulu, Guam and Saipan – the first of any carrier to do so.

United Raises Miles for Dozens of Non-Profits that Rely on Travel

Airline and its customers use crowdsourcing platform - Miles on a Mission - to donate more than 11 million miles for charities like the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, College to Congress and Compass to Care
By United Newsroom, December 01, 2020

CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- United is inviting MileagePlus members to give back on Giving Tuesday and throughout the holiday season by donating miles to nearly 40 non-profits through United Airlines' crowdsourcing platform, Miles on a Mission. Non-profits like Thurgood Marshall College Fund, College to Congress and Compass to Care are attempting to raise a total of more than 11 million miles to be used for travel for life-saving health care, continued education, humanitarian aid and more. United will match the first 125,000 miles raised for each of these organizations to help ensure they meet their goals.

United Raises Miles for Dozens of Non-Profits that Rely on Travel

Why we fly

By The Hub team, November 27, 2020

In October 2019, we launched a first-of-its-kind airline miles donation platform, Miles on a Mission. In the inaugural year, MileagePlus members donated over 70 million miles, with United matching over 20 million miles, to 51 organizations. These miles have allowed for these organizations to do important, life-changing, life-saving work in the communities we serve around the globe.

Scroll to top