The transformative power of inclusion
As a parent of a child with disabilities, life demands a bit more patience, understanding and caregiving out of Rachel Tanaka. Rachel's 27-year-old daughter, Rell, was born with an intellectual disability, limiting her mental functioning and ability of learning life skills such as communicating, taking care of herself and socializing with peers.
Fortunately, at the age of 12, Rell discovered Special Olympics and has never looked back. The organization quickly gave Rell an outlet where she could experience friendship, teamwork and build self-confidence.
As life changing as the involvement was for Rell, it was just as transformative for Rachel, who credits the organization for helping her continuously learn and grow in her parenting role.
Rell has learned life skills that are crucial to her path toward becoming independent, and that is my biggest dream for her, said Rachel. "Our involvement with Special Olympics has helped her tremendously, but it has also helped me. I need to be Rell's advocate, and Special Olympics has taught me how to speak up and get involved."
Rachel regularly volunteers at many of Rell's sporting events throughout the year and has even raised her hand to be head of delegation for Rell's softball team. Rachel will also be supporting Rell during the Special Olympics USA Games happening in Seattle July 1-6, in which Rell's soccer team will participate in for the first time representing Special Olympics Hawaii. One of the most joyful experiences of Rachel's involvement has been seeing her daughter grow into a confident young woman.
It's amazing what such programs can do for these athletes, said Rachel. "They are taught respect, sportsmanship, leadership, independence and many other capabilities that completely transform the lives of families."
Rachel, who is a coordinator for United Airlines' maintenance business operations in Honolulu, was one of the first employees to learn about the airline's expanded relationship with Special Olympics International. United made the announcement in March and has joined Special Olympics in its global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities, and together, they aim to achieve a shared vision of inclusion for all.
With this partnership, United is helping to support major Special Olympics events in 2018, including the Special Olympics USA Games in Seattle July 1-6, and the 50th anniversary celebrations July 17-21 in Chicago, the site of the very first International Special Olympics Summer Games in 1968.
As an employee, I'm proud to work for a company that supports organizations making a true impact on this world, and as a parent of a child with disabilities, I am grateful, said Rachel. "Above all, I hope we all work toward eliminating the stigma facing people with intellectual disabilities. If we allow our walls to come down and let people in, we can touch the hearts of many."
We know people are taking a second look at their travel plans right now. If you're scheduled to travel March 10 – May 31, 2020 and would like to change your plans, there is no fee to do so, regardless of when you purchased your ticket or where you're traveling. This is in addition to our previous waiver, which waives all change fees – domestic and international – for tickets purchased March 3 – April 30, 2020. This is available for any of United's published nonrefundable fares. If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee. These electronic travel certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. You might not see this policy change reflected everywhere right away – we appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.
Eligible travelers on domestic flights and international tickets can request a refund on united.com or may call our contact centers if their flights have been severely adjusted or service to their destination suspended either due to government mandates or United schedule reductions related to COVID-19.
Certain tickets cannot be changed on united.com or the mobile app, including tickets booked through another airline (if the ticket receipt does not begin with 016). Please contact the original ticketing airline for changes.
Follow the steps below to stay up to date, change or cancel your flight.
Change your current flight:
- On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your flight information to retrieve your flight.
- Select "Change flight" and then "Edit" to make the following changes:
- Date of travel or destination
- Add a flight
- Remove a flight
- Select "Continue" and choose a new flight option
- Continue through booking to confirm your new flight
Note: The change fee will display as waived, but any difference in fare may apply.
Cancel your flight and rebook later:
- On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your reservation information to retrieve your flight
- Select "Cancel flight"
- Confirm flight cancellation
- If you have future flight credit, when you return to the reservation, select "Use Future Flight Credit" to shop for new flights and apply the credit towards a new flight.
Canceling or changing an award flight:
When you select "Cancel flight," you will have the option to cancel your award reservation and redeposit the miles or to cancel your award reservation and use those miles for another trip in the future.
*We're currently experiencing heavy traffic to united.com. If you experience an error while trying to change or cancel your flight, please try again later.
Click through the slideshow below for more detailed instructions:
Start on the United homepage:
User can select 'My Trips' on the homepage widget to find and retrieve their reservation.
When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.
We have operated more than 68 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 9,200 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.
Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.
Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:
- Quito, Ecuador
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Roatan, Honduras
- San Pedro Sula, Honduras
- Seoul, South Korea
- Melbourne, Australia
We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.
Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.
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. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).
- Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
- Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
- From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.
Together, we are facing an unprecedented challenge. United Together, we rise to meet that challenge.