A Summer at United: 36,000 Miles in 12 Weeks - United Hub
Employee Travel Blog

A summer at United: 36,000 miles in 12 weeks

By The Hub team, August 25, 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 Contact Centers Intern Charlie Thesing

United Intern Charlie Thesing at the San Francisco Airport Maintenance Base.

I took my first trans-Atlantic flight when I was nine months old when my parents relocated to London. Growing up in Europe, I traveled to many different countries and always enjoyed meeting people and having the chance to engage in local traditions and customs. And when we visited the U.S., we would get the chance to visit family and friends all over the country.

As a result, I was very excited to have the opportunity to work in the travel industry. Air travel is the gateway to adventure and life experience. Working with a team at United offered in-depth learning and great training - and the travel benefits have been amazing.

Kayaking in Vancouver

For my first weekend on board at United, like almost every other intern, I had my sights set on a trip. I arrived at the airport with a few destinations in mind, and, fortunately, one of them worked out and I boarded a flight to Vancouver, Canada. I recognized another intern at the gate before boarding, and although I had no plans for what to do for the long Memorial Day weekend in Vancouver, we decided to share the journey. Thanks to the conversations we had with a few passengers familiar with Vancouver, by the time we landed, we each had a long list of places to explore. The extensive hiking trails of Lynn Canyon Park, exhilarating kayaks on Indian Arm and breathtaking views of Grouse Mountain whetted my appetite for further travel in the coming weeks.

A few weekend trips let me explore a number of U.S. cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New Orleans. Each was fun in its own way, but the two highlights of my summer travels were international destinations -- London and Dublin.

Buckingham Palace in London

Although 28 hours on the ground in London may not appeal to many, in light of the 16 hours of round-trip travel, for me, it was a bit of a homecoming. And, with family there as local tour guides, we made the most of our short stay. The rain showers all too familiar with Londoners held off for most of our day, making our walk along the Thames River quite enjoyable. But as the evening skies opened up and a drizzle rolled through, it served as a gentle reminder of my old hometown.

Two weekends later, I was back over The Pond, this time in Dublin. Walks through the city and tours of St. Patrick's Cathedral were almost overshadowed by the U2 concert that night in Croke Park. The festival atmosphere of the concert, with 80,000 of us participating in the largest sing-a-long I have ever been a part of, was magical. The full Irish breakfast at a cafe in Temple Bar was a fitting send off before I headed back to the airport and my plane ride home.

View from the plane approaching Dublin, Ireland

Reflecting on my summer at United, I am truly grateful for the adventures of travel but even more so for the invaluable training I had within my team. The spirit of collaboration and teamwork was amazing. And with nearly 36,000 accumulated miles in my 12 weeks, I developed a greater appreciation for everyone's contribution to the service and cannot wait for my next stop - my upcoming semester studying in Paris...

Making our app more accessible for people with disabilities

By The Hub team, October 28, 2020

We're proud to launch a redesigned version of our United app to make it easier for customers with visual disabilities to manage all aspects of day-of travel, including check-in, viewing reservation details and flight status, bag tracking and more.

This latest version of our app is now available to both Android and iOS users, and it offers increased color contrast and more space between graphics. Furthermore, we have reorganized how information is displayed and announced to better integrate with screen reader technologies like VoiceOver and TalkBack, which are built into most handheld devices. By restructuring the way the information is organized on the app, screen readers are better able to convert text to audio in the proper, logical sequence, allowing customers to better understand and navigate the app.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team, October 27, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Take your next video call from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude with United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

Newly added to our collection is a background encouraging our employees and customers to vote. Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process. No matter which party you support, we know our democracy will be stronger if you make your voice heard and vote.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started.

Looking back at a landmark year with Special Olympics

By Ryan Wilks, October 19, 2020

Earlier this summer, we shone a light on our flagship partnership with Special Olympics and our commitment to the Inclusion Revolution. In that same story, we introduced you to our four Special Olympics Service Ambassadors, Daniel, Kyle, Lauren and Zinyra (Z), who, this month, celebrate one year working at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as part of the United family.

This groundbreaking, inclusive employment program took off as a part of our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics, a community relationship that employees across the company hold close to heart. The original 'UA4' (as they call themselves) have become an integral part of the United team serving customers at O'Hare Airport. Even from behind their masks, their wide smiles and effervescent spirit exude and bring life to the service culture of excellence we strive towards every day.

"The UA4 are more than just customer service ambassadors. They are shining examples of how inclusion, accessibility and equity can have monumental impacts on the culture and service of a business and community," said Customer Service Managing Director Jonna McGrath. "They have forever changed who we are as a company. While they often talk about how United and this opportunity has changed their lives, they have changed ours in more ways than we can count."

In the two years of partnership with Special Olympics, United employees have volunteered over 10,500 hours of service at events around the world and donated over $1.2 million worth of travel to the organization.

"This inclusive employment program is what community partnerships, like ours with Special Olympics, are all about: collaborating to identify areas where the needs of the community intersect with the cultural and business opportunity, then creating the infrastructure and programming to bring the two together," said Global Community Engagement Managing Director Suzi Cabo. "Through this program, our goal is to show other companies that when you put a committed effort and focus towards inclusion and breaking down barriers, you transform lives. I challenge other business around the world to follow our lead in joining the Inclusion Revolution."

Check out the video below to hear from our Special Olympics Service Ambassadors firsthand.

youtu.be

Scroll to top