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."

United Cargo operates more than 11,000 cargo-only flights in one year

By The Hub team, March 19, 2021

On March 19, 2020, United operated its first flight carrying cargo without passengers on board. While the passenger cabin was empty, its cargo hold was completely full, carrying more than 29,000 pounds of commodities from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt Airport (FRA).

A year later, United Cargo has operated more than 11,000 cargo-only flights carrying more than 570 million pounds of freight. To support the COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts, United Cargo has also transported more than 113 million pounds of medical and pharmaceutical products on both cargo-only and passenger flights as well as approximately 10 million COVID-19 vaccines, providing global communities access to the items they have needed most.

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

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