Written in the Stars - United Hub

Written in the stars

By Matt Adams

After more than two-and-a-half years of dating and countless adventures together, MileagePlus Premier® member Jeff Schick was certain that he had found his soul mate in Anthony Hawkins. For a pair of avowed travel enthusiasts and aviation buffs — Mr. Hawkins is a Captain with ExpressJet and Mr. Schick grew up in a family of pilots — the relationship could not have begun more perfectly. On their first date they watched a documentary about the Boeing 747. From that day forward they racked up United miles as they traveled the world together, culminating in a trip to Delhi, India, this past January, when Mr. Schick decided it was the right time to pop the question. Naturally, there was only one way to do it.

"I had been thinking about proposing to Anthony for a long time," Mr. Schick said. "When we were preparing for our trip to Delhi, I thought, I wonder what United would say if I asked them for help?"

Champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and Polaris bears to celebrate the engagement.

He reached out to United's Social Media team through Facebook, explaining the situation and asking if there was anything that we could do to make the experience more memorable. Within an hour, a plan was in motion. The couple was scheduled to fly from Chicago's O'Hare's International Airport to Delhi, via Newark, in the new United Polaris℠ business class. Mr. Schick had recently read an article about the United Polaris lounge at Chicago's O'Hare's International Airport, and thought that a preflight proposal in the lounge would be the way to go. What they got was nothing short of a first-class experience.

Social Media and Relationship Marketing Assistant Managers Diana Sweis and Karen Petrella, along with Chicago's O'Hare's International Airport Operations and lounge employees, conspired with Mr. Schick to pull off the surprise. First, they made custom lounge menus with a special page devoted to Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Schick's dating milestones, with the heading, "Will you be with me from Ahh to ZZZ?" — a play on the United Polaris motto.

As Mr. Hawkins flipped through the menu, unaware of what was in store, he came to the personalized page, at which point Mr. Schick got down on bended knee to present the ring.

Scrabble letters spelled out that United customer said yes to the proposal

"I think Anthony had suspicions that something was going to happen, but it shocked him when he found out what was happening," said Mr. Schick. That shock was written all over Mr. Hawkins's face as he happily accepted. That was the cue for our lounge team to bring out a cheese and pastry tower, made complete with a bottle of champagne and mimosas, and Diana and Karen took the first photos of the newly engaged couple.

"It was so well orchestrated, everything fit together perfectly," Mr. Schick recalled, still feeling the excitement and joy of that day. "Everyone was so friendly and congratulatory. Even the United Polaris lounge chefs came out to celebrate with us. It was incredible."

The moment was special not only for Mr. Hawkins and Mr. Schick, but also for our employees who got to take part. "Proposals are always unforgettable, but I think it's safe to say that they will remember this day, and remember United, for the rest of their lives," Diana said. "This is the part of the job that I love the most, when we have the opportunity to interact with a customer in this way to surprise and delight."

Mr. Schick and Mr. Hawkins were more than just surprised and delighted. "Things like this make customers for life," Mr. Schick said. "It certainly bonded Anthony and me to United. It shows how the people at United care, and they're making United a great airline to fly on, not only for special occasions like this, but for every trip."

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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