A Weekend in San Francisco - United Hub
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A weekend in San Francisco

By The Hub team

Passion Passport is a community-based website that tells meaningful travel stories and facilitates global connections. Our team hails from across the United States and Canada and is always up for an adventure. To learn more about where we're going and what we're doing, visit our website: PassionPassport.com

Enchanted by the beauty of San Francisco? This summer, we traveled to the west coast to explore all that this city by the bay has to offer. Here are a few of our favorite locations.

Chinatown in San Francisco

Explore the city

Mission District — The Mission District is known for its multicultural enclaves and host of delicious restaurants, including Taquería Cancún, a popular place to grab a burrito (or three), and Foreign Cinema, a restaurant that features both foreign and independent films in its gorgeous outdoor courtyard. That said, the district is most well known for housing Mission Dolores, the oldest building in San Francisco. Many travelers visit the gardens and cemeteries of the site and stand in awe of the centuries-old structure. For gorgeous views of the downtown area, head down the street to Dolores Park.

Union Square — As the main commercial area of San Francisco, Union Square offers a variety of shopping opportunities, as well as plenty of theaters, hotels, galleries, and restaurants. To support local artistic ventures, venture to the American Conservatory Theater, a non-profit theater company. Union Square is also known for the iconic Cable Car Turnaround at Market and Powell streets. Taking a cable car is a great — and popular — way to experience San Francisco and to catch some incredible views of the city as well — plus, seeing the cable car turnaround is an experience in itself.

Chinatown — San Francisco is home to North America's oldest Chinatown enclave, which has welcomed generations of Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans over the decades. Wander through the neighborhood, and you'll stumble across a host of markets, traditional restaurants, and intriguing shops. You'll likely traverse the main thoroughfares of Stockton Street and Grant Avenue, but if you duck into side streets and alleyways along your route, you'll discover hidden treasures, such as Tin How Temple, one of the oldest Chinese temples in the United States. If you get hungry from all of the walking, take a break and enjoy egg tarts and other traditional sweets at Golden Gate Bakery on Grant Avenue. To learn more about the Chinese immigrant experience in the U.S., visit the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum. If you're lucky enough to visit during Chinese New Year or the Autumn Moon Festival, you'll have the chance to experience lively celebrations with plenty of parades, dances, food, and entertainment.

California Street in San Francisco

Admire stunning views

California Street — California Street is a beloved locale that doubles as a photographer's playground. As one of the longest streets in San Francisco, this famous thoroughfare encourages visitors to traverse the Financial District, Lincoln Park, Chinatown, and even Nob Hill. To fully experience the street, take the California cable car route.

Lombard Street — You've undoubtedly seen photos of this famous street before, because it's known as one of the steepest and curviest in the United States. Lombard Street's most famous section is in the Russian Hill neighborhood, which features eight sharp turns that make for interesting photo opportunities. There is an abundance of beautiful mansions scattered across the area, and in the spring, you'll also be able to spot a plethora of flowers blooming.

Twin Peaks — Have an affinity for beautiful views? Twin Peaks is a must-visit location for photographers and hikers alike. These peaks provide stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the downtown area, nearby Angel Island, and more. That said, many travel to the north peak parking lot for views of the city. While you'll find plenty of photo opportunities here, be sure to take some time to explore. Hike the trails across the peaks and enjoy the wildlife that roam the area.

Pier 9 in San Francisco

Wander along the waterfront

Fisherman's Wharf — To experience San Francisco's most beloved tourist attraction, head to Fisherman's Wharf. With historic ships, seafood restaurants, boutique shops, and entertainment venues, this area has something for everyone. Learn about sea lions at the Sea Lion Center, experience maritime history at San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, and enjoy theatre, music, and comedy performances at nearby venues. You can arrive at the wharf by ferry or take to the water and explore the bay via boat. You can also take a boat from Fisherman's Wharf to visit both Alcatraz and Angel Islands.

Embarcadero — Walk (or bike) along the Embarcadero waterfront, and you'll spot a variety of piers, parks, and restaurants. Check out the iconic Ferry Building, which houses shops, restaurants, and an abundance of food stalls. For more shopping, dining, and live entertainment, head to Pier 39. And, if you've got a hankering for sustainable seafood, pay a visit to Fog Harbor while you're there — it also offers great views of the water. That said, dessert lovers should walk to the end of the Embarcadero to visit Ghirardelli Square, which features various shops, restaurants, and (free) chocolate samples.

Crissy Field — Crissy Field was transformed from a former military airfield into a beautiful environmental area where visitors can stroll on windswept beaches and enjoy a picnic lunch with a view. Perfect for walking, biking, or just relaxing, the promenade offers stunning views of the bay and Golden Gate Bridge at any time of day.

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Entertainment for all

By The Hub team, August 04, 2020

Our Marketing Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity team and Bridge, our Business Resource Group (BRG) for people with all abilities, partnered together to test and provide feedback on our award-winning seatback inflight entertainment (IFE) system.

Aptly named "Entertainment for all," our new seatback IFE system offers the an extensive suite of accessibility features, allowing for unassisted use by people of all visual, hearing, mobility and language abilities.

"It's nice to know that I can get on a plane and pick my favorite entertainment to enjoy, just like every customer," said Accessibility Senior Analyst and Developer and Bridge Chief of Staff Ray C., who is blind.

"As a deaf employee, the closed captioning availability on board our aircraft is something I value greatly," added Information Technology Analyst Greg O. "The new IFE further cements United's visibility within the deaf community and elsewhere. It makes me proud to be an employee."

Accessibility features of the new IFE include a text-to-speech option, explore by touch, customizable text size, screen magnification, color correction and inversion modes, and alternative navigation options for those unable to swipe or use a handset. For hearing-impaired and non-English-speaking passengers, customization options provide the ability for customers to be served content and receive inflight notifications based on their preferences and settings —with closed captions, with subtitles or in the language of their choice from the 15 languages supported. Our "Entertainment for all" system won the Crystal Cabin Award in 2019, and recently, the Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Research and Development Award for Audio Description by the American Council of the Blind.

"This really showed the benefits of partnering with BRGs in helping us improve products and services for our customers and employees," said Inflight Entertainment and Connectivity Senior Manager Corinne S. "Even though we have been recognized with awards for our IFE accessibility features, we are not resting on our laurels but continuing to work towards improving the inflight entertainment experience for all of our customers to ensure entertainment is available for all."

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

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