Treat Yourself to Tahiti: A Polynesian Paradise - United Hub
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Treat yourself to Tahiti: A Polynesian paradise

By Bob Cooper, April 10, 2018

Travelers eager to expand their island horizons should give the exotic Tahitian islands a try. The South Pacific island of Tahiti and the neighboring French Polynesian islands of Moorea, Bora Bora and Huahine are more accessible than ever, with United nonstop flights from San Francisco to Tahiti launching October 30. The snorkeling, diving, hiking and beaches are memorable, whether it's on a romantic getaway or a trip with family or friends.

Aeriel shot of overwater bungalows in French Polynesia

Tahiti

There's plenty for visitors to do on the island of Tahiti from the moment they arrive at Faa'a International Airport near the capital of Papeete. The biggest island in French Polynesia, Tahiti is split into two sections — the bigger northwestern side of Tahiti Nui and Tahiti Iti, the southeastern side. Tahiti is the cultural, economic and political capital of the French Polynesian islands with nearly 69 percent of the islands' inhabitants living there.

Waterfalls of all sizes, created by the combination of steep slopes and bounteous rainfall in the high volcanic mountains, can be seen on hiking trails in fern-filled “waterfall valleys." Head to Teahupo'o Beach, where monster waves have made the beach legendary among big-wave surfers. In fact, the beach is the site of the annual Billabong surf competition where some of the world's best surfers compete, making it a great place to watch the action from the sand. Like all Polynesian islands, the snorkeling and diving — with about two-dozen lagoons, ocean reefs, caves and shipwrecks accessible from land or on boat excursions — are amazing.

Depending on your budget, stay at one of the more luxurious resorts with overwater bungalows or opt for a lower cost and more traditional experience by staying at guesthouses and pensions (homestays).

Luxury thatched roof bungalows on Moorea

Moorea

A ferry ride lasting about 45 minutes brings you from the island of Tahiti to Moorea, 15 miles across the Sea of the Moon. Similar to Tahiti, saw-toothed volcanic mountains overlook white-sand beaches. Endless activity options include mountain hiking, snorkeling and diving. Moorea is a little quieter than its bigger neighbor, with smaller lodgings mixed in with big beach resorts. Surrounding the San Francisco-sized island are deep coral reefs visitors can explore in snorkeling or diving gear and ocean surf filled with dolphins. On the land are trails you can follow on horseback or a rented bike; surfing and kitesurfing beaches where relaxation rules; and restaurants that incorporate coconut in seemingly every dish.

Palm trees overlooking tropical resort, Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Bora Bora

It's hard to argue the claim by Tales of the South Pacific author James Michener that Bora Bora is the world's most beautiful island. A ring of islets almost completely surrounds Bora Bora, protecting it from the big waves of the Pacific Ocean. This results in a huge, donut-shaped, sandy-bottomed playground of calm aquamarine waters in which to snorkel, dive, kayak and paddleboard all day. There's only one beach, but it's a beauty with powdery white sand. You can also hike up 2,159-foot Mt. Pahia. Dining ranges from elegant Polynesian restaurants to food trucks serving grilled fish. Most accommodations are on the pricier side — the island is famous for its overwater bungalows — but this favorite island of honeymooners is worth it. It's only a 50-minute plane hop from neighboring Tahiti.

Huahine

Nicknamed the Garden of Eden, Huahine is even more low-key than its neighbors. There are no colossal beach resorts, but an ample number of boutique resorts, inns and bungalows. There are also abundant activity choices, including hiking, visiting the ancient village of Maeva (where a number of centuries-old royal temples have been restored by archaeologists), snorkeling through coral gardens and diving at unique dive sites. More than its famous neighbors, it's a place to tune out the world on some of the South Pacific's finest beaches. A 40-minute plane ride delivers you from Tahiti to this serene refuge.

View of overwater bungalows in Tahiti

What to know before you go

When to go The climate of the Tahitian islands is tropical as the temperature gauge seldom leaves the 70s and 80s day or night. That's also the water temperature range, which peaks in November through April (Tahiti's “summer") in the low 80s — perfect for snorkeling without a wetsuit.

Getting there United Airlines flights to Tahiti begin October 30, with three weekly nonstop flights between San Francisco and Papeete, departing each city on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Visas aren't required for North Americans or Europeans.

Culture While French is the official language, Tahitian is widely spoken by the natives. However, most Tahitians in the tourism sector speak English. The currency is the CFP Franc, which you may want to use to purchase pearl jewelry — pearl farms are widespread on the islands. Tattoo art is also well-known on the islands as the form has been perfected for centuries in the South Seas.

Visit united.com or use the United app to plan your Tahitian adventure.

Jessica Kimbrough named Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By The Hub team, July 10, 2020

Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.

Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.

In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.

"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."

As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.

Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.

Jessica's new role is effective immediately.

United Cargo and logistics partners keep critical medical shipments moving

By The Hub team, July 02, 2020

By working together and strengthening partnerships during these unprecedented times, our global community has overcome challenges and created solutions to keep the global supply chain moving. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the shipping landscape, United and our industry partners have increasingly demonstrated our commitment to the mission of delivering critical medical supplies across the world.

United Cargo has partnered with DSV Air and Sea, a leading global logistics company, to transport important pharmaceutical materials to places all over the world. One of the items most critical during the current crisis is blood plasma.

Plasma is a fragile product that requires very careful handling. Frozen blood plasma must be kept at a very low, stable temperature of negative 20 degrees Celsius or less – no easy task considering it must be transported between trucks, warehouses and airplanes, all while moving through the climates of different countries. Fortunately, along with our well-developed operational procedures and oversight, temperature-controlled shipping containers from partners like va-Q-tec can help protect these sensitive blood plasma shipments from temperature changes.

A single TWINx shipping container from va-Q-tec can accommodate over 1,750 pounds of temperature-sensitive cargo. Every week, DSV delivers 20 TWINx containers, each one filled to capacity with human blood plasma, for loading onto a Boeing 787-9 for transport. The joint effort to move thousands of pounds of blood plasma demonstrates that despite the distance, challenges in moving temperature-sensitive cargo and COVID-19 obstacles, we continue to find creative solutions with the help of our strong partnerships.

United Cargo is proud to keep the commercial air bridges open between the U.S. and the rest of the world. Since March 19, we have operated over 3,200 cargo-only flights between six U.S. hubs and over 20 cities in Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, India, the Caribbean and the Middle East.

Celebrating Juneteenth

By United Airlines, June 18, 2020

A message from UNITE, United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group

Fellow United team members –

Hello from the UNITE leadership team. While we communicate frequently with our 3,500 UNITE members, our platform doesn't typically extend to the entire United family, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share some of our thoughts with all of you.

Tomorrow is June 19. On this day in 1865, shortened long ago to "Juneteenth," Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce that the Civil War had ended and all enslaved individuals were free. For many in the African-American community, particularly in the South, it is recognized as the official date slavery ended in the United States.

Still, despite the end of slavery, the Constitutional promise that "All men are created equal" would overlook the nation's Black citizens for decades to come. It wasn't until nearly a century later that the Civil Rights Act (1964) ended legal segregation and the Voting Rights Act (1965) protected voting rights for Black Americans. But while the nation has made progress, the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have made it undeniably clear that we still have a lot of work to do to achieve racial parity and inclusion.

Two weeks ago, Scott and Brett hosted a virtual town hall and set an important example by taking a minute, as Brett said, "to lower my guard, take off my armor, and just talk to you. And talk to you straight from the heart."

Difficult conversations about race and equity are easy to avoid. But everyone needs to have these conversations – speaking honestly, listening patiently and understanding that others' experiences may be different from your own while still a valid reflection of some part of the American experience.

To support you as you consider these conversations, we wanted to share some resources from one of United's partners, The National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum will host an all-day Virtual Juneteenth Celebration to recognize Juneteenth through presentations, stories, photographs and recipes. The museum also has a portal that United employees can access called Talking About Race, which provides tools and guidance for everyone to navigate conversations about race.

Our mission at UNITE is to foster an inclusive working environment for all of our employees. While we are hopeful and even encouraged by the widespread and diverse show of support for African Americans around the country – and at United - we encourage everyone to spend some time on Juneteenth reflecting on racial disparities that remain in our society and dedicating ourselves to the work that still must be done to fight systemic racism. By honoring how far we've come and honestly acknowledging how far we still must go, we believe United – and the incredible people who are the heart and soul of this airline - can play an important role in building a more fair and just world.

Thank you,

UNITE (United Airlines Multicultural Business Resource Group)

Leadership Team

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