Carrying the Torch - United Hub

Carrying the torch

By Matt Adams, March 07, 2018

It's what Washington/Dulles-based First Officer Sarah Micklo calls "that old stigma," one that somehow continues to permeate corners of the aviation industry: the idea that women pilots aren't as good as their male counterparts. "At least one or two people during my career have said women don't belong in the cockpit," recalled Sarah. "I'm far from the first to ever hear that, but I hope I'll be one of the last."

It's a bogus notion, of course, and one that Sarah herself has helped quash for nearly 20 years as a military and civilian pilot. When asked where she found the strength to fight on anytime that old stereotype reared its ugly head, Sarah points to her family. Her mom, retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Ginny Logan, was the first woman in the Pennsylvania Air National Guard to lead a squadron and the first woman in the Air Force to command a combat unit. Ginny met and married Sarah's dad, retired Lt. Col. Ted Logan, when they were both stationed in Laredo, Texas, and together they made sure Sarah and her siblings never saw gender as a limitation. You'd think that, given that influence, it would be no surprise that Sarah grew up to become a pilot, but the truth is she had little interest in it as a child. Only after enlisting in the Air National Guard to help pay for college did that change.

"I was a traditional guard member in my unit in Pittsburgh," Sarah said, "and during my senior year of college, we were activated to Germany supporting Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. I was in the maintenance squadron, and my dad, an evaluator pilot, was the detachment commander. That's when I got an up-close look at flying and what the aircrews were doing, and decided it was what I wanted to do."

Once back stateside, Sarah began flight training and was hired as a pilot in her unit, entering flight school as the only woman in her class. While backing Sarah's aspirations, Ginny and Ted painted a realistic picture for their daughter, telling her that, at times, she might be treated differently but reminding her to never doubt her abilities. Sarah took that advice to heart, but she still felt immense pressure to succeed, not only for herself but for the sisterhood of women flyers everywhere.

United First-Officer Sarah Micklo pictured with crew

"It was important to me to make it work," she said, "because I had a mom and dad and a husband [Sarah is married to United Flight Instructor David Micklo] who were very successful. Not to mention I didn't want to be the female pilot who failed or the one nobody wanted to fly with. If you only have four women pilots and one is bad, then people may look at it and generalize and say, 'Well, a quarter of female pilots are bad.' Unfortunately, sometimes that's the way it is, and a lot of women before me worked hard to fight that. I love my job and I just want to do it really well."

After graduating flight school, Sarah went on to fly KC-135 Stratotankers, and eventually became her unit's first female instructor pilot. She still flies today as a lieutenant colonel with the Pennsylvania Air National Guard's 171st Air Refueling Wing when she's not flying Boeing 737s here at United.

Sarah said she's witnessed a cultural shift over the years when it comes to acceptance of women in the flight deck, and she praised her fellow women pilots for stepping up to support one another as they've fought to make those strides. United pilots even have an informal message board group called "UAL Venus List," where women can share their experiences and buoy each other when times get tough. And through her work with groups like Women in Aviation International and the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, as well as with her Air National Guard unit, Sarah is passing on that encouragement.

"When I talk with young people and prospective pilots, I have the same conversation with the women as I do with the men," she said, "but I tell females that sometimes they'll have to work harder, and that it will feel like they have higher standards to uphold. My goal is to one day give my speech and not have to say that. I think we've come a long way, and I hope we'll get to the point where, for the next generation of women pilots, it's something they don't even have to think about. I look forward to the day when being a woman pilot isn't a big deal."

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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