Warm & sunny escapes all year round
You don't need to be a meteorologist to know that summer is almost through. Look out the window and note the leaves changing colors and people beginning to dress in sweaters and jackets. Summer and its sun have all but gone, and with autumn and winter on their way, the chances of keeping your tan for the next nine months are looking slim.
This may feel like bad news for those of us who understand that, in moderation, sunshine and its vitamin D can make us feel both happier and healthier, but it's no reason to feel down.
Instead, pack your bags, grab your ID or passport, and book yourself a flight to a place where it stays hot all through the year or at the very least warm and sunny. Escape to a place where summer never really ends. To get you started, consider five of our favorite sun-kissed escapes.
Santa Barbara, California
If you're looking for year-round sunshine, look west to the American Riviera. While it can't lay claim to being the sunniest place in the lower 48 (that title goes to Imperial County, California), Santa Barbara benefits from having some 300 days of glorious sunshine a year. It's not-too-hot, never-too-cold year-round climate makes it the perfect place to experience the great outdoors — be that hiking, golfing, lying on a beach or dining al fresco in your short sleeves. However, to suggest that Santa Barbara has a monopoly on winter sunshine would be wrong. Head down the California coast to San Diego, and you'll discover another city bathed in glorious year-round sun, where the exceptional beaches are never empty.
United Airlines flies to Santa Barbara (SBA) and San Diego (SAN)
America's paradise islands benefit from a tropical climate and temperatures that stay pleasingly high throughout the year. Hawaii averages a consistently beautiful 80-85°F, and while tropical showers are frequent visitors, choose the right part of the right island, and you'll be sure to feel the sunshine on your face. Kona and Waikoloa on the Big Island and Wailea and Kapalua on Maui can be considered sun traps, but head to the island of Oahu, specifically the southern and southwestern end of the island, and you'll find the closest thing to precise sunlight. With more than 300 days of sunshine beating down each year, it soon becomes apparent why they call it “the gathering place."
United Airlines flies to all of Hawaii's airports, including to Honolulu (HNL) on Oahu
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Why do the citizens of Rio refer to their home as “Cidade Maravilhosa"—the “marvelous city"? Undoubtedly, it has much to do with the city's stunning setting, nestled between an azure sea and the forest-clad mountains, and watched over from high above by Christ the Redeemer. It also owes something to the architecture, museums, galleries, world-class restaurants and nightlife, and it's impossible to overlook the world-famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.
But it probably owes as much to the fact that “Cidade Maravilhosa" is blessed with a tropical climate and that Rio lies in the southern hemisphere, so its summer falls between December and January. While much of the U.S. shivers through October, November, December and January, Rio is heating up. By December temperatures can reach over 90°F, so you can forget about packing a sweater.
United Airlines flies to Rio de Janeiro (GIG–Galeao)
Boasting mile upon mile of white-sand beaches surrounded by crystal-clear waters full of sea life and shipwrecks, the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba is the island of your imagination. Mainly because, as the sun-chasers who flock there already know, the island benefits from a climate that ranges from hot in the summer to slightly less hot through its winters. The average annual temperature hits a heavenly 82°F,so expect it to be even a little bit warmer in the summer months, and only a degree or two beneath the average for what passes as winter.
Of course, this being the Caribbean, you may think that tropical storms will dampen your visit, but think again. Lying far outside of Hurricane Alley, Aruba escapes the downpours that rain down on the islands further north. All things considered, if it isn't heaven on earth, it does a pretty good impression.
United Airlines flies to Aruba (AUA)
It's an exaggeration to say that Sydney enjoys year-round sunshine, but not much of one. On average the Australian city enjoys 340 days of sunshine every year — even the mathematically challenged can work out that that doesn't leave many dreary days. Picture an archetypal Aussie in your mind's eye, and chances are, they're standing on the beach, looking bronzed and beautiful with a smile on their face. That's effectively Sydney, a place that mixes the cultural buzz of a big (but walkable) city with more golden beaches and sunny days than seems fair to everyone who doesn't live there. And as with Rio, the fact that Sydney's summer falls from December to February makes it even more appealing.
United Airlines flies to multiple locations across Australia, including Sydney (SYD)
If you go
For details on how United Airlines can fly you somewhere sunny and warm all year round, visit United.com or use the United app.
Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.
When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.
They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.
I want them to look no further than United Airlines.
That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.
They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.
That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.
We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.
We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.
We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.
As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.
Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.
They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.
Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.
Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.
Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.
But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.
We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.
It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.
On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.
Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.
"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.
"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."
Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.
The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.
Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.
Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.
Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.
"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."
When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.
For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.
Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.
That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.
"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."
The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.
About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.
"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."
When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.
"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."
On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.
"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."
For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.