Three Perfect Days: Bogotá - United Hub
Hemispheres

Three Perfect Days: Bogotá

By The Hub team

Story by Justin Goldman | Photography by Chris Sorenson | Hemispheres, January 2019

Five hundred years ago, when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the gold-rich, mountainous area that's now Bogotá, they thought they'd found El Dorado. Today, Colombia is still defined by its natural bounty—albeit neither the kind that lured the Spaniards nor the kind that attracted American law enforcement in the 1980s. Instead, what strikes visitors is the kaleidoscopic population of nearly 50 million people, all united by a welcoming spirit. What's more, the landscape is among the world's most biodiverse—diving from the roof of the Andes through grassland, swamp, and jungle to the Pacific and Caribbean coasts—yielding perhaps the best cuisine in Latin America. The locus of all this is the 8,660-foot-high capital, whose 10 million residents infuse modern energy and inventiveness into a centuries-old colonial setting. El Dorado? Maybe not, but after a few days here you'll surely agree Bogotá has entered its golden age.

A harpist performs at the Teatro Nacional Cristóbal Colón

Day 1:

Sampling Bogotá's culinary and architectural delights

The courtyard at Casa Legado

It's gray and damp on my first morning in Bogotá. As a former longtime San Francisco resident, I'm accustomed to these conditions, but even if I were to get gloomy, I'd know exactly where to find a cure: among the flower vendors at the Mercado de Paloquemao. All shades of carnation, orchid, and rose—Colombia grows the second-most roses in the world—burst from the makeshift tables set up in the market's parking lot. It's impossible not to feel cheery in the face of all the bright blooms, but I don't have time to stop and smell the, well, you know. I'm here for the food.

I cross the lot to meet Juliana Salazar, a local restaurant consultant and guide for the tour company Foodies who's showing me around. “We're gonna start by eating," she says, “because you never want to go to the market on an empty stomach." Conveniently, a stall at the entrance sells breads called amasijos. I try three: pan de queso, pan de yuca, and a fried, corn-based buñuelo.

Now that I've eaten, it's time to start eating. We begin with the fruits. “The Paloquemao is the only market in Bogotá where you're going to see the variety from the entire country," Salazar says, and she's not kidding: I taste tart, aromatic fruits such as kiwi-like lulo (which is used in a popular juice), gulupa (a variety of passion fruit), and granadilla (“the first fruit we give to a baby," Salazar notes). I'm dazzled, even more so when my guide tells me, “This is not the specialized fruit section—this is just common fruits."

Flowers at the Mercado de Paloquemao

"All shades of carnation, orchid, and rose burst from the makeshift tables set up in the parking lot of the Mercado de Paloquemao."

We continue on, past vendors selling herbs, chocolate, chilies, meat, and the more exotic fruits (cherimoya, mangosteen), to the back of the market, where a counter makes rice-and-pork-filled tamales and lechona, roast pig stuffed with rice. “For a hangover situation, I think it's perfect," Salazar says. I file this away for later, although I'm probably never going to eat again.

After thanking Salazar for helping me stuff my face, I head from Bogotá's culinary center to its political one. A quick drive through downtown delivers me to the Plaza de Bolívar. I walk past a Hells Angels–looking guy who's pulling the strings of a skeleton marionette to the tune of Guns N' Roses's “Patience" and then around a family being swarmed by pigeons (the kids seem entirely too happy about this) to the center of the plaza. The square is fronted by the French Renaissance Palacio Liévano (now city hall) and the Neo-classical Capitol and Palace of Justice, as well as the 200-year-old Catedral Primada. Between the cathedral's towers I can see another church, a distant white ornament at the peak of the towering 10,341-foot Cerro de Monserrate.

"It looks as though Dr. Seuss and Antoni Gaudí combined forces on a cathedral and then dropped it into Yosemite Valley."

I continue around the Capitol building, skirting the Colegio Mayor de San Bartolomé, an imposing Jesuit school that dates to 1604, and then the grounds of the Casa de Nariño, the president's palace. A soldier shoos me off the sidewalk in front of the building—apparently I don't appear very presidential—and as I turn to go I glance up an alley and catch a glimpse of the Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen rising before the misty cordillera. It looks as though Dr. Seuss and Antoni Gaudí combined forces on a candy-striped Gothic cathedral and then dropped it into Yosemite Valley.

The interior of the Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen

I begin to hike up the hill and into the heart of La Candelaria, Bogotá's old town, passing below the dormers and enclosed balconies of the multicolored colonial houses. A light rain begins to fall just as I reach one of the city's most exciting new restaurants, Prudencia. The space, designed by renowned Colombian architect Simón Vélez, is a stunner, boasting a vaulted glass ceiling and walls adorned with line drawings of flowers and fruits and vegetables. The food is tasty too. I dig into house-baked levain bread, followed by lomo de res (beef tenderloin) with roasted sweet potatoes and an oyster-mushroom aioli, and then finish with a slice of fig cheesecake.

Refueled, I proceed to spend a couple of hours ping-ponging up and down the hills of La Candelaria. The neighborhood—its name comes from a Catholic festival that honors Mary and Joseph's presentation of the baby Jesus to God—overflows with historic sites. Here's a golden-balconied house where Simón Bolívar worked during the fight for independence from Spain. There's the house where Bolívar's mistress, Manuela Sáenz, helped El Libertador escape assassination. Farther down the hill is the 19th-century Neoclassical Teatro Nacional Cristóbal Colón opera house. Then there are the lively crowds: people dancing to the rhythms of busking rumba bands, leading alpacas down the street, and selling jewelry and grilled corn and hormigas culonas (“big-a** ants").

Lomo de res at Prudencia

I'm not quite ready to tackle the ants, but it is about time for dinner, so I call a cab to take me north, to the nightlife district of Zona T. I'm unlucky enough to have caught Bogotá's brutal rush hour—it takes nearly an hour of crawling along the hillside on Carrera 1 to travel six miles—but the instant I reach Segundo, any complaints I have melt away. The dining room, around the corner from Segundo's renowned sister restaurant Central Cevichería, is hung with colorful abstract art and looks down through a two-story glass wall onto bustling Calle 85, and the food somehow manages to outshine the space: crudo de res (beef carpaccio) stuffed with mango and chimichurri, squid-ink asparagus tempura, trout in leche de tigre pepper sauce, and a couple of Santísma Trinidads—coffee syrup–spiked Manhattans served in tobacco-smoked glasses. ¡Dios mío!

Getting a little too close to the pigeons in Plaza de Bolívar

I'm feeling a bit woozy after my meal—surely it's from the altitude and has nothing to do with those Latin Manhattans—so I take a car to Casa Legado, a stylish seven-room boutique hotel in a 1950s house on a quiet street in the upscale neighborhood of Quinta Camacho. I cross the Alice in Wonderland black-and-white-tiled floor of the foyer, brushing aside the vines hanging from the ceiling, to find the only rabbit hole I need: the space between my sheets.

Street art in La Candelaria

Day 2:

Running with the dogs and stopping for contemporary art

You haven't had a hangover until you've been un poco crudo at 8,660 feet. My tropically wallpapered room at Casa Legado is charming, but I still wake up feeling compressed, like I spent the night in a coffin with Andre the Giant. To snap out of it, I strap on my sneakers and jog north on Carrera 9, past the chichi Zona Rosa, until I hit Parque El Virrey, where I follow a trail along a canal, dodging scores of dog walkers and their enthusiastic hounds.

The only place that might be more dog-friendly than El Virrey is the parkside Canasto Picnic Bistró. The sunlit patio is hung with wicker picnic baskets, and the tables are taken up by neighborhood residents with, yes, their pups lying underneath. I'm a little sweaty but also in need of food, pronto, so I take a seat, sans four-legged friend, and order an arepa with roast beef, fried egg, and hogao (Colombian creole sauce). As I'm cutting into the arepa, the restaurant's owner, Alejandro Cuéllar, a brash raconteur-chef in the mold of Anthony Bourdain (RIP), stops by. When I tell him I'm enjoying my meal, he offers to take me on a tour of a few of the city's culinary standouts. “Is everyone in Colombia this welcoming?" I ask.

"I ask for a recommendation of something '...not by García Márquez,' the clerk finished my sentence."

“We're very good hosts," Cuéllar replies. “Very serviciales. When people get here, we're really excited to show them that this is an amazing city and an amazing country."

We make a date for tomorrow, because I've got a different kind of hot spot on the menu for the rest of this morning. A few blocks north, in the posh Parque 93 neighborhood, I visit Galería La Cometa (The Kite Gallery), where I see a show of midcentury Colombian photography, including the busted camera Carlos Caicedo used in 1965 to snap a shot of then-President Guillermo León Valencia when the politician got drunk and fell down in a restaurant. (You can probably guess how the camera got broken.) I then continue the art hop with a quick car ride to the charming Chapinero neighborhood and Casas Riegner, perhaps Bogotá's best-known gallery. Here, I catch a show of 27 textile artists, including five Colombians. My favorite works are Olga de Amaral's gold-leaf wall hangings and Conversation Piece, an ongoing knitwork by María Angélica Medina.

Lifelike street art in La Macarena

The artistic stimulation has me starting to feel peckish, so I take a 10-minute walk through Zona G (for Gourmet) to El Chato, where Alvaro Clavijo, an alum of Noma and Per Se, serves refined cuisine focusing on Colombian ingredients. I take a mini tour of the menu, scarfing down grilled chicken hearts, delicate ceviche, and arracacha bread with bone marrow, all of it exquisite.

Looking for a little more local color, I take a 10-minute car ride to the up-and-coming neighborhood of La Macarena, where I stroll up and down hilly streets, past graffitied walls and coffee shops, and stop at Luvina, a bookshop and salon space. The friendly clerk who greets me explains that the store is named after a town in a short story by Juan Rulfo, the Mexican author who pioneered magical realism, the style favored by Colombia's greatest writer, Gabriel García Márquez. I ask for a recommendation of something “... not by García Márquez," the clerk finishes my sentence. He clearly gets that question a lot, and he's ready with a book of travel narratives by Santiago Gamboa, Ciudades al final de la noche. My Spanish is gonna have to get better in a hurry.

The Wall of Diversity at the Museo Nacional

From the bookshop, I wander downhill, along brick-paved Calle 30, lined on either side with brightly colored houses and restaurants, to the Museo Nacional. The museum's highlights include a replica of an excavated 13th-century tomb; the “Wall of Diversity," with works by artists such as Guillermo Wiedemann and Enrique Grau that portray Colombia's ethnic and cultural heterogeneity; and a room that documents the 1948 assassination of presidential candidate Jorge Eliécer Gaitán, which plunged the country into years of chaos.

Pouring a shot of chicha at Chichería Demente

From a dark moment in the nation's past, I go to one of the bright stars of its present. All it takes is a knock on an almost entirely unmarked door (and, OK, a reservation made well in advance) for me to enter Leo, which is run by Leonor Espinosa, who was named Best Female Chef on the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants list in 2017. Though the space feels a bit like a restaurant in New York—jazz music, a sculpture of what looks like the Empire State Building—the ciclo-bioma menu is fully engaged with Colombia and its many biomes: Pacific tuna crusted with Santander ants; flan made from tucupí (wild manioc sauce); the giant Amazonian fish pirarucú, served with fermented yuca; local duck on an arepa-flour tortilla. This is where I start to lose track of the courses—did I mention that each one comes with a drink pairing?

To follow up such an insane meal, I need a lunatic nightcap, so I take a car to a quiet street on the edge of Chapinero, where I find Chichería Demente, a cavernous bar and restaurant that specializes in the traditional fermented-corn drink chicha. I've had chicha once before, poured chunkily out of a gasoline jug on a dirt farm in the hills of Panama. This stuff is much better—smooth, funkily sweet, and, most important, served in a clean clay jar. A large mural on the wall depicts a politician crying out “¡Que viva la chicha!" and I raise my drink to him in solidarity.

Day 3:

Going from a golden gallery to a blood-red bar

The stunning gold room at the Museo del Oro

With all the running around on day one, I missed the city's two most famous museums, both right near the Plaza de Bolívar. I start at the Museo del Oro—or, more accurately, the café in the museum's basement, where I knock back a cup of Chemex-brewed black coffee from San Alberto, one of Colombia's best-known growers. It's very strong and bitter—a bit potent for a guy who usually likes a little coffee with my cream, but also exactly what I need to combat the aftereffects of the chicha.

Fully caffeinated, I proceed upstairs and into the galleries. The 55,000-plus-piece collection focuses largely on works the country's pre-Hispanic peoples made with gold and copper alloys. Most impressive is the pitch-black “gold room," where, as a ritual chant of the Muisca people plays, the lights slowly come up to reveal, in wall and floor displays, 3,000 brilliant gold artifacts. El Dorado indeed.

"As a ritual chant plays, the lights slowly come up to reveal 3,000 brilliant gold artifacts."

It's just a five-block walk to another cultural landmark, the Museo Botero. Medellín-born artist Fernando Botero is famous for depicting rounded, voluminous subjects, using their exaggerated bulkiness to question our sense of proportion (and sometimes to poke fun at historical works or political figures). I love them all, but especially the painting of a bloated Mona Lisa and the bulbous bronze sculpture of Leda and the Swan.

The courtyard at the Museo Botero

That powerful cup of coffee is the only thing I've put in my body so far today, and there's a reason: I've been saving space for the lunchtime odyssey Alejandro Cuéllar promised me. I meet him back in Quinta Camacho, at El Pantera, a hole-in-the-wall that he and a couple of partners just opened that makes Mexico City–style street tacos using Colombian ingredients. As we chow down on chicharrón and cochinita pibil tacos, he explains the effect Colombia's incredible biodiversity has on its cuisine.

A patron viewing Fernando Botero's Una Familia

“When I travel, people ask, 'What do you cook in Colombia?'" he tells me. “We do everything. We have all the climates in the world. You can drive an hour and go from cold to completely tropical, so you can have all the ingredients there are, within an hour."

We finish our tacos, and Cuéllar smiles conspiratorially. “What do you say we go and eat a proper meal?" Ten minutes later, we pull up to Mesa Franca, a restaurant that chef Iván Cadena—the former sous chef at Lima's legendary Central—opened two years ago in a 1930s house. We sit in the lovely, sunlit, garden-style dining room and have calamari and veal sweetbreads, red snapper ceviche, yuca fritters with smoked trout, and pork belly in peanut sauce.

I don't think I can eat any more, but Cuéllar insists on one more stop. We walk three blocks uphill and through the blue-tiled entrance of Salvo Patria, where we order a decadent milhoja (mille-feuille) with buffalo-milk ice cream and dulce de leche and another cup of bold Colombian joe. “This is a typical dessert, but it's not usually made this detailed," Cuéllar says. I tell him that I wouldn't use the word typical to describe anything I've consumed today.

"Peering over the railing, I cast my eyes across the glass skyscrapers of the city center and the orange roofs of La Candelaria."

After rolling me out of the restaurant, Cuéllar offers me a ride to my new hotel, the Four Seasons Casa Medina, back in Zona G. Skirting the open-air brick courtyard makes me feel as if I'm walking the passageways of a Spanish castle—but the only royalty I'm interested in right now is my king-size bed. Hasta luego.

The funicular railway and the city below, seen from Cerro de Monserrate

Rejuvenated by the nap, I dial up an Uber. Fifteen minutes later, I'm at the foot of Cerro de Monserrate, the mountain that stands sentinel over the 600-plus-square-mile Bogotá metro area. I take the teleférico up, the cable car climbing through evergreen forest and into the clouds. At the top, it takes only a few steps for me to feel short of breath, but that doesn't stop me from trudging up the stone walkway to the white stucco church at the peak. Peering over the railing, I cast my eyes across the glass skyscrapers of the city center, the orange roofs of La Candelaria, and the shantytowns that sprawl across the hillsides to the east. Right below me, a couple of pilgrims are climbing the footpath from the base of the mountain. I wish I believed in anything enough to do that.

The Red Room's namesake cocktail

Sufficiently humbled, I descend on the teleférico and get a car back to Chapinero. By the time we've fought through the traffic, I'm due for dinner at Villanos en Bermudas. Here, chefs Sergio Meza and Nicolás López work an open kitchen in a room that has the vibe of an expensively catered party at Banksy's house. I recognize Meza, a Mexican with a red afro who looks a bit like a buff, tattooed Sideshow Bob; it turns out he was lunching at El Chato at the same time I was yesterday. “The man can cook," he says of Alvaro Clavijo. “We just f*** around."

The stylish interior at Mesa Franca

Their, um, messing around earned Villanos en Bermudas a No. 40 ranking on the most recent Latin America's 50 Best list. My “salad" is a breakfasty goat's milk yogurt with black beans, strawberries, and savory granola. The house-baked sourdough comes with butter that's been whipped with black garlic. Kimchi and Iberian ham accompany a butternut squash soup. Even my funky pinot noir, from New Zealand's Valli Vineyards, sticks to the elegant-yet-offbeat theme. “That guy's weird," Meza says of the winemaker. “Sometimes he'll just trade the wine for stuff, not even sell it."

I thank the chef and head for a nightcap at another quirkily snazzy spot nearby. The decor at the Red Room adheres to the bar's name aggressively: The carpets and walls and stairs and seat cushions are all the same titular color. I order the eponymous house cocktail, a Scotch and bourbon concoction brought to the table in a red box full of smoke. The whole experience makes me feel like I'm in a jazz bar in a David Lynch movie (Red Velvet?). More than that, though, I feel as if I've stumbled onto a mysterious treasure. It's a sentiment that has suffused my entire journey. I've found gold in these hills—cultural gold—and I'll soon be back for more.

Search flights

United cargo connects products to people all over the world this holiday season

By The Hub team, November 23, 2020

Critical medical shipments – Check.

High-tech electronics – Check.

2.7 million pounds of lobster? Check.


While this year's holiday gatherings will look a little different, millions of people around the world will still carry on the tradition of celebrating the holidays with a meal.

As the appetite for different types of food from all over the world increases, so does the need for safe and reliable transport. Fish caught in the United Kingdom can depart at breakfast and arrive in Washington D.C. in time for dinner. Thanks to United Cargo's expansive network, we are longer constrained by global distance or the seasonality of a product,

United Cargo plays a big role in transporting shipments with a limited shelf life around the world. Packed in between the latest electronics from Asia and the hottest fashion items from Europe, our aircraft carry a variety of perishable shipments like flowers, fruit, meat and vegetables, where speed and careful handling keeps them fresh. Whether it's cherries from Washington State or vegetables from Peru, our temperature-controlled shipping processes and vast global network helps move these commodities all over the world.

While the holidays are an exceptionally busy time of year for shipping perishable items, United Cargo transports these critical goods for people all over the world year-round. Earlier this year, United Cargo moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to support communities impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, with the holiday season here, we anticipate the cargo holds of our aircraft to be full of grocery store replenishments, including staples like turkey and ham, hitting shelves across the globe.

We take pride in our role to make sure perishables and produce arrive on time and at the peak of freshness. These products sustain, feed and nurture the world, and consumers around the globe depend on them every single day.

Since March 19, United has operated nearly 8,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 272 million pounds of cargo on those flights alone. United Cargo is proud of the role we play maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access commodities from all over the globe.

Bon appetit!

Happy Veterans Day

By The Hub team, November 11, 2020

With thousands of veteran and reservist employees at United, we are incredibly grateful for their dedication, courage and bravery. Not only do they serve our country, they also bring a standard of excellence and professionalism to work on a daily basis.

We are thrilled to celebrate and thank our veteran and reservist employees this Veterans Day. We asked a few of them to share stories from their experiences while enlisted. Read a few of them below!

Larry Ferrarini, ORD Lead Ramp Service

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Tiffini Wilson, ORD Customer Service Representative

Tiffini served in the U.S. Navy Reserves from 1999 to 2013. She came from a military family and always knew she wanted to serve. In her experience, the Navy has a real sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. She feels proud that she is able to serve her country and other people get to stay home and feel safe.

Tiffini has worked at United for 24 years and feels grateful that her supervisors have always been supportive of her military service and flexible when she was deployed. She even received care packages from colleagues when she was serving in the Middle East. She has learned that being a leader is about listening, in the military and at United. She applies that mentality to when she is working with customers, as well. She says, "sometimes people are having a bad day and need to vent and be acknowledged."

Thank you for your service, Tiffini!

Terry Blake, DCA First Officer B767/B757

Terry joined the U.S. Air Force in 2014 and is currently serving. He says, "The military is a great career and I am proud that I have been given the opportunity to serve my country and the State of West Virginia." During his time in the service, he has been working aeromedical evacuation missions where he moves the critically wounded warriors from combat zones to hospitals in Europe and the U.S. He feels lucky to fly for United and work with many great people. He is proud to work alongside ALPA professional pilots and all the other employees at the company.

Thank you for your service, Terry!

Katherine McDonald, HR Partner Senior Manager

Katherine served six years in the Michigan Air National Guard and says, "For me, serving is a calling. It means serving this great nation and being ready when needed." She joined the military to belong and contribute to something bigger than herself. When she was applying for her job at United, she found information about the United4Veterans business resource group on the company website. This increased her desire to work for a company that she could bring her military experience to and be celebrated. "The inclusivity I feel at United makes me feel so valued, both as an employee and as a veteran. I am so grateful to work for a company that is committed to our military employees and customers."

Thank you for your service, Katherine!

Troy A. Engholm, DEN Ramp Service

Troy served in the U.S. Air Force from 1983 to 2013. He says, "I loved serving 30+ years in our United States Air Force because it gave me a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and pride to know that I was serving in the best Air Force, with the best professionals, the world has ever seen."

After serving, Troy joined United in 2015 and has loved it ever since. He believes this profession allows us to connect families together and provide a multitude of experiences for our customers. They get to see the world. The most rewarding part of his job is when he sees joy on a customer's face.

Thank you for your service, Troy!

Fred "Motown" Crowell, ORD Lead Ramp Service

Motown served in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1970. Motown grew up in Detroit and aspired to follow in his brother's footsteps by applying to a job at United. Just after he was hired, he was drafted to the Army and was on active duty in Vietnam. His unit was the first to invade Cambodia. His unit that served together still meet up every year in Washington D.C. at the Vietnam Memorial.

When he returned home, he returned to United and has been here for 53 years. Over the years, he's been able to travel with his family around the world and even take his wife back to Vietnam and show her where he was stationed.

Thank you for your service, Motown!

Garrett West, Regional Director Aircraft Maintenance ORD

Garrett served in the U.S. Marines for 7 years and 1 year in active reserves. From childhood, he had always dreamed of becoming a United States Marine. He has been grateful to serve with many different people from all types of backgrounds. And, he has many fond memories and experiences of cruising the Mediterranean when he was part of the Marine Amphibious Ready Group. He says, "Having the honor to wear the EGA (the Marine emblem that includes an Eagle, Globe and Anchor) and to represent and serve our great nation is beyond words."

Garret began his career at United as a frontline technician and has worked to a Hub leader. He says, "As we all press on and continue to work through challenges, the tenacity of our employees across the board and working alongside so many dedicated people has done nothing but instill confidence in our future."

Thank you for your service, Garrett!

Pete DeLeon, ORD Lead Customer Service Representative

Pete served in the U.S. Marines from 1977 to 1984. He grew up in a military family and had a desire to join early on. During his time in the Marines, he traveled all over the world, including to the American Embassy in Cyprus; Lima, Peru and Okinawa, Japan. He has a great sense of pride for his time in the service and feels grateful that he could give back to his country.

After the Marines, Pete joined United 33 years ago. He has held many roles in various places across the system. First, he was a load planner in Miami, then moved to New Orleans where he was the chief coordinator during Hurricane Katrina. Pete says, "I thoroughly enjoy what I do on a daily basis, working with and assisting customers. I enjoy the people I work with I look forward to coming to work on a daily basis as every day is different at the airport."

He says the Marines taught him how to be professional, treat people with respect and to make quick decisions when necessary. He always goes the extra mile for customers and colleagues.

Thank you for your service, Pete!

Steve Driver, ORD Customer Service Representative

Steve served in the U.S. Army for 20 years from 1976 to 1996. He says, "It was my honor to serve my country. I was very proud to be a part of the U.S. Army and protecting my country. The camaraderie was amazing. The way my unit worked together to complete missions was not like anything I've ever been a part of before. Wearing the uniform gave all of use a sense of pride." He has worked with United for over 23 years and he describes his time as very rewarding. He enjoys working with his coworkers and learning about the industry every day.

Thank you for your service, Steve!

Jim Herrera, ORD Lead Customer Service Representative

Jim Herrera served in the U.S. Marines Reserve from 1976 to 1985. Though he served after the Vietnam war, he saw the impact of that on his fellow veterans. Over time, he has seen a great shift in positive support for veterans and he is very grateful for that. He has been with Untied for over 42 years. He is grateful for the stability his career at United provides for him to do what he loves and raise his family.

Thank you for your service, Jim!

Session Martin, ORD Lead Customer Service Representative

Session served in the U.S. Army for 3 years and 9 months. He says that his time in the service means everything to him. He is proud to have been part of the team and did his duty to preserve our lifestyle in America. "I feel like I owned that to my country. If I had to do it again, I absolutely would," says Session. Even after 51 years at United, Session still says he is having a good time, he enjoys coming to work every day. His favorite part is connecting with the customers and networking with people.

Thank you for your service, Session!

Troy VanderWeyden, DCA First Officer B777

Troy has been flying the Air National Guard for the past 10 years. His missions include aeromedical evacuations, strategic delivery of troops and cargo across the globe, as well as humanitarian aid flights. Five years ago, his lifelong dream was fulfilled when he was hired by United. A special family connection is that his father is also a United pilot, Captain Alan VanderWeyden.

Troy shares, "United is extremely accommodating and appreciative of my and everyone's military obligations and offers endless support. The DCA Flight Operations has a strong relationship with the West Virginia Air National Guard and reflects highly on the Flight Operations folks and our personnel in the unit."

Thank you for your service, Troy!

Scott Kirby, CEO

'No excuses.' Fellow U.S. Air Force Academy grads are familiar with a lesson in leadership that I still apply in my work today.

This simple saying teaches freshmen cadets to take responsibility in solving problems, no matter whose fault it is. At @United I see this mantra in action every single day. Not one United team member caused this current crisis, but we are all 100% focused on solving the impact it has had on our company. Veterans Day is the perfect reminder that the thousands of veterans at our company — including the colleagues in these photos — are part of that charge. It's an honor to have so many veterans in our ranks.

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.

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