United Airlines, Inc. (commonly referred to simply as "United") is an American major airline headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. United is a wholly owned subsidiary of United Continental Holdings following a $3 billion merger in 2010. The airline was owned, at one point in its history, by The Boeing Company, one of the world's largest aircraft manufacturers.
United operates out of nine airline hubs in the continental United States, Guam, and Japan. George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston is United's largest passenger carrying hub handling 16.6 million passengers annually with an average of 45,413 passengers daily, while Chicago-O'Hare is its largest hub in terms of daily departures. The company employs over 88,500 people while maintaining its headquarters in Chicago's Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower). Through the airline's parent company, United Continental Holdings, it is publicly traded under NYSE: UAL with a market capitalization of over $10.5 billion as of October, 2013.
United's main competitors in its domestic market are Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. United is using Continental's air operator's certificate and it surrendered its original certificate when the merger closed.
As of November 2013 United Express Airlines received $31,660,211 in annual Federal subsidies for Essential Air Services that they provided through Silver Airways and SkyWest Airlines to rural airports in the U.S.
- 1 History
- 2 Corporate identity
- 3 Corporate affairs
- 4 Destinations
- 5 Fleet
- 6 Cabin
- 7 Frequent flyer services
- 8 Incidents and accidents
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
What is now United Airlines originated from the Varney Air Lines air mail service of Walter Varney, who also founded Varney Speed Lines, from which Continental Airlines had originated. Founded in Boise, Idaho in 1926, the carrier flew the first Contract Air Mail flight in the U.S. on April 6, 1926, marking the first scheduled airline service in the country's history. In 1927, airplane pioneer William Boeing founded his own airline, Boeing Air Transport to operate the San Francisco to Chicago air mail route, and began buying other airmail carriers including Varney Airlines. In 1929, Boeing merged his company with Pratt & Whitney to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC).
In 1933, United began operating the Boeing 247, the first all-metal airliner. It was able to fly a transcontinental flight in 20 hours, making it significantly faster than its predecessors. After passage of the Air Mail Act in 1934, UATC separated into United Aircraft (the future United Technologies), the Boeing Airplane Company and United Air Lines.
After World War II, United gained from a boom in customer demand for air travel, with its revenue passenger-miles jumping five-fold in the 1950s, and continued growth occurring through the next two decades.
In 1954 United Airlines became the first airline to purchase modern flight simulators which had visual, sound and motion cues for training pilots. Purchased for US$3 million (1954) from Curtiss-Wright, these were the first of today's modern flight simulators for training of commercial passenger aircraft pilots.
United merged with Capital Airlines in 1961 and regained its position as the United States' largest airline. In 1968, the company reorganized, creating UAL Corporation, with United Airlines as a wholly owned subsidiary. In 1970, the UAL Corporation acquired Western International Hotels, and its name was later changed to Westin Hotel Company. The 1970s also saw economic turmoil, resulting in "stagflation" and labor unrest. The 1978 Airline Deregulation Act, resulting in industry shakeups, further added to the carrier's difficulties in a loss-making period.
In 1982, United became the first carrier to operate the Boeing 767, taking its first delivery of 767-200s on August 19. In May 1985, the airline underwent a 29-day pilot strike over management's proposed "B-scale" pilot pay rates. Then-company CEO Richard Ferris changed United's parent company's name from UAL Corporation to Allegis in February 1987, but following his termination, the company reverted to the name UAL Corp. in May 1988, and divested non-airline properties.
In 1985, United expanded dramatically by purchasing Pan Am's entire Pacific Division, giving it a prime Asian hub at Tokyo's Narita International Airport, and in 1991 purchased routes to London Heathrow Airport from ailing Pan Am, making it one of two US carriers permitted exclusive access to Heathrow under Bermuda II until "open skies" took effect in 2008 (American Airlines being the other, after it purchased TWA's Heathrow landing slots). The aftermath of the Gulf War and increased competition from low-cost carriers led to losses in 1991 and 1992. In 1994, United's pilots, machinists, bag handlers and non-contract employees agreed to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), acquiring 55% of company stock in exchange for 15–25% salary concessions, making the carrier the largest employee-owned corporation in the world. The carrier also launched a low-cost subsidiary in 1994, Shuttle by United a high frequency, west coast-based operation, in an attempt to compete with low-cost carriers; the subsidiary remained in operation until 2001.
In 1995, United became the first airline to introduce the Boeing 777 in commercial service. In 1997, United co-founded the Star Alliance airline partnership. In May 2000, United announced a planned US$11.6 billion acquisition of US Airways, but withdrew the offer in July 2001 before the United States Department of Justice barred the merger on antitrust grounds. May 2000 also saw a bitter contract dispute between United and its pilots' union over pay cuts and concessions to fund the ESOP and overtime work, causing summer flight cancellations until a salary increase was agreed upon.
During the September 11, 2001 attacks, two of the four airplanes hijacked and crashed by al-Qaeda members were United Airlines aircraft (United Airlines Flight 175 was flown into the south World Trade Center tower; United Airlines Flight 93 was crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after the passengers fought back against the hijackers). An airline industry downturn resulted, and coupled with economic difficulties, skyrocketing oil prices, and higher labor costs, the company lost US$2.14 billion in 2001. In the same year United applied for a US$1.5 billion loan guarantee from the federal Air Transportation Stabilization Board established in the wake of the September 11 attacks. After attempts to secure additional capital failed, UAL Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2002 and the ESOP was terminated.
United's bankruptcy operations resulted in furloughing thousands of workers, closing all U.S. city ticket offices, cancelling several existing and planned routes, downsizing its Miami operations, closing maintenance bases, and fleet reductions. The carrier also negotiated cost cuts with employees, suppliers, and contractors, and terminated feeder contracts with United Express carriers Atlantic Coast Airlines and Air Wisconsin. The carrier launched a new, all coach, low-cost carrier named Ted in 2003, and a luxury "p.s." (for "premium service") coast-to-coast service on re-configured 757s in 2004. In 2005, United cancelled its pension plan in the largest such default in U.S. corporate history.
In 2005, United announced it had raised US$3 billion in financing to exit bankruptcy and filed its Plan of Reorganization, as announced, on September 7, 2005. In late 2006, Continental Airlines participated in preliminary merger discussions with United. On June 4, 2008, United announced it would close its Ted unit and reconfigure the subsidiary's aircraft for a return to mainline configuration.
On April 16, 2010, United resumed merger talks with Continental Airlines. (The two airlines had previously discussed merging in 2008.) The board of directors of both Continental and UAL Corporation's United Airlines reached an agreement to combine operations on May 2, 2010. The combined carrier would retain the United Airlines name, but use Continental's logo and livery, and Continental's CEO Jeff Smisek would head the new company. The merger was contingent upon shareholder and regulatory approval.
The Continental–United merger was approved by the European Commission in July 2010 and by the US Justice Department on August 27, 2010. On September 17, 2010, United's shareholders approved the merger deal with Continental Airlines. Both carriers planned to begin merging operations in 2011 to form the world's biggest carrier. On October 1, 2010, UAL Corporation completed its merger with Continental Airlines and changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc. The airline received a single operating certificate from the FAA on November 30, 2011. On March 3, 2012, Continental and United merged their passenger service systems, frequent-flier programs, and websites which officially eliminated the Continental name and brand as far as the public was concerned.
United Airlines is a combination of a number of air carriers that merged with each other starting in the 1930s with the most recent merger concerning Continental Airlines (which had previously merged with or acquired several airlines during its history) thus reflecting changes in focus of both United and the U.S. air transport market.
Predecessor air carriers that form the present United Airlines include:
- Boeing Air Transport (formed in 1927, merged into United Airlines in 1931)
- Capital Airlines (formed in 1936, merged into United Airlines in 1961)
- Continental Airlines (formed in 1934, merged into United Airlines in 2010)
- Air Micronesia (formed in 1968 as a division of Continental Airlines, later became Continental Micronesia and merged into Continental Airlines in 2010.
- New York Air (formed in 1980, merged into Continental Airlines in 1987)
- Pioneer Airlines (formed in 1939, merged into Continental Airlines in 1955)
- People Express Airlines (PEOPLExpress) (formed in 1981, merged into Continental Airlines in 1987)
- Frontier Airlines (formed in 1950, merged into People Express Airlines in 1986)
- Texas International Airlines (formed in 1944 as Trans-Texas Airways (TTa), Continental Airlines merged into Texas Air in 1982, with Texas Air changing its name to Continental)
- National Air Transport (formed in 1925, merged into United Airlines in 1931)
- Pacific Air Transport (formed in 1926, merged into United Airlines in 1931)
- Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) (Formed in 1927, Pacific Division acquired by and merged into United in 1985, London Heathrow international traffic rights acquired by and merged into United in 1990. Pan Am was later forced to declare bankruptcy in 1991)
- Varney Air Lines (formed in 1926, merged into United Airlines in 1931)
Many of these acquisitions and mergers were completed by Continental Airlines when this carrier was under the ownership and control of Texas Air Corporation from 1982 to 1987. During that time period, New York Air and Texas International Airlines (which were already owned by Texas Air Corporation before this company acquired Continental) were merged into Continental. Texas Air Corporation subsequently acquired PEOPLExpress Airlines (which had previously acquired Frontier Airlines) and then folded these air carriers into Continental as well. As for United, before merging with Continental it had acquired Capital Airlines in the 1960s and had also purchased Pan Am's Pacific Division as well as Pan Am's transatlantic route rights into London Heathrow Airport during the 1980s.
The pre-merger United logo, commonly nicknamed the "tulip", was first developed in the early seventies after the airline commissioned designer Saul Bass to develop a new brand image. The logo skillfully represented the airline's monogram as well as a modernized version of the airline's shield logo which had been adopted in the 1930s, but fell out of use by the late 1960s. The ribbon-like rendering has also been said to symbolize the motion of flight. The Saul Bass livery was updated in 1988 to feature larger lettering on the fuselage, with the rainbow stripes on the side moved down to accommodate the new space. This livery was in use until the beginning of 1993, and the last planes to feature this paint scheme were repainted by 1999.
The next livery update came in the early 1990s: the CKS Group-designed "Battleship," a grey and dark blue fuselage with blue stripes on the tail and a smaller "tulip" on the tail. A smaller, more refined version of the rainbow stripes from the previous livery were incorporated as well. This livery debuted on January 11, 1993, and the last mainline plane to wear this livery, a Boeing 777-200ER with the registration number N229UA, was repainted on February 20, 2012. Finally, a decade later, the 2004 Pentagram-developed "Rising Blue" featured a white and lighter blue fuselage, along with a cropped version of the tulip on the tail. As of April 2014, some "rising blue" planes remain a part of the merged United's fleet.
In 2011, the newly merged United adopted the Continental Airlines' 1991 logo, including the Continental globe, which replaced the Tulip. This livery is used on all aircraft, save for five aircraft that use the Star Alliance livery, which include one Boeing 747-400, one Boeing 767-300ER, and three Boeing 777-200s. Logos used by United Airlines since 1974:
United resurrected its popular "Fly the Friendly Skies" slogan in September 2013. Until September, 2013, the slogan, adopted after the merger of United and Continental in October 2010, was "Let's fly together". This replaced the slogan "It's time to fly" created in 2004. United's earliest slogan, "The Main Line Airway," emphasized its signature New York-Chicago-San Francisco route, and was replaced in 1965 with "Fly the Friendly Skies". The "friendly skies" tagline was in use until 1996 in its first iteration.
On September 20, 2013 United announced a return of the "Fly the Friendly Skies" slogan in an ad campaign to start the following day. The resurrected slogan will be accompanied by the "Rhapsody in Blue" theme song and a voice over provided by Matt Damon.
United's theme song is George Gershwin's 1924 "Rhapsody in Blue", which it licensed from Gershwin's estate for US$500,000 ($2,072,222 in 2014) in 1976. "Rhapsody" would have entered the public domain in 2000, but the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended its copyright another 20 years. United announced that they will continue to use "Rhapsody in Blue" as its theme song following the merger with Continental.
United is a sponsor of all five of Chicago's major professional sports teams—the Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox—as well as the U.S. Olympic Team, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Royals, Kansas City Chiefs, LA Dodgers, SF 49ers, SF Giants, Washington Redskins and the Washington Nationals. The Blackhawks and Bulls play their games in the United Center, which the airline holds the naming rights to until 2033.
United has been the official airline of the Denver Broncos since 1996.
Through its merger with Continental, United also became the official airline of the Cleveland Indians, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, New Jersey Devils, Houston Rockets, Houston Texans and the Houston Astros.
In 2007, United Airlines moved its headquarters and its 350 top executives from its headquarters at 1200 East Algonquin Road in suburban Elk Grove Township to 77 West Wacker Drive after considering alternate locations in Denver, Colorado and San Francisco, California. The Elk Grove Village campus was renamed an Operations Center and United Airlines consolidated several of its offices in the suburbs of Chicago into the Elk Grove Village campus.
After the City of Chicago submitted a US$35 million (2010) incentive, including US$10 million (2010) in grants for United to move its remaining employees to Chicago, United proceeded to schedule a move of about 2,500 employees out of the former Elk Grove Township headquarters and into Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in downtown Chicago. Monica Davey of The New York Times said that the move may have contributed to United's decision to base the newly merged United Continental Holdings out of Chicago instead of Houston. On May 31, 2012, United opened its new operations center at Willis Tower in downtown Chicago. The company occupies 16 floors of the Willis Tower. The company's mailing address is at O'Hare; P.O. Box 66100 Chicago, IL 60666.
UAL, United Airline's parent company prior to its merger with Continental Airlines, previously held majority ownership stakes in several major travel and leisure companies. UAL's former subsidiaries include international hotel chains Westin Hotels and Resorts and Hilton Hotels Corporation as well as global car rental company Hertz. UAL sold or spun off most of its assets not related to its core airline operations during the 1980s and 90's.
On August 23, 2011, United announced a conversion to paperless flight decks and deployed 11,000 iPads to all United pilots. Each iPad, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds, replaced approximately 38 pounds of paper operating manuals, navigation charts, reference handbooks, flight checklists, logbooks and weather information in a pilot's flight bag. The electronic flight bags (EFBs) replaced conventional flight bags full of paper materials that contains an average of 12,000 sheets of paper per pilot, and as a first for major network carriers, provide pilots with paperless aeronautical navigational charts through an iPad app. The green benefits of moving to EFBs include reductions in, paper use, printing, and fuel consumption. Distribution of the iPads began in early August 2011, and all pilots were using them by the years end.
On November 7, 2011, United Airlines flew the world's first commercial aviation flight on a microbially derived biofuel using Solajet™, Solazyme's algae-derived renewable jet fuel, and fueled with 40 percent Solajet and 60 percent petroleum-derived jet fuel. This was operated by the "Eco-Skies" Boeing 737-800 aircraft on a flight from Houston to Chicago.
On July 12, 2012, United announced an order for 100 Boeing 737 MAX 9s, a new, more fuel efficient version of the Boeing 737 family. These aircraft will be used to replace the less fuel efficient domestic fleet of Boeing 757-200s.
On January 15, 2013, Aviation Partners Boeing (APB) announced that United had placed an order to retrofit its existing Boeing Next Generation 737's Blended Winglets with APB's new Split Scimitar Winglet. The program will consist of retrofitting 737NG's winglets by replacing the aluminum winglet tip cap with a new aerodynamically shaped "Scimitar" winglet tip cap and by adding a new Scimitar tipped Ventral Strake. This modification demonstrated significant aircraft drag reduction over the basic Blended Winglet configuration. The new APB winglet technology will save United more than $250 million per year in jet fuel costs fleet wide.
All United Airlines pilots are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association. A new Joint Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified by a majority of the United/Continental pilots on December 15, 2012, which struck down a scope clause that disallowed Continental from outsourcing the flying of regional jets with 70 or more passenger seats.
|3||New York/Newark, New Jersey||385|
|5||San Francisco, California||300|
|7||Los Angeles, California||200|
United Airlines flies to 78 domestic mainline destinations and 109 international destinations in 70 countries across Asia, Americas, Europe, Oceania, and Africa not including cities only served by United Express. The carrier, along with British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Korean Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines and South African Airways, is one of the few airlines that fly to all six inhabited continents.
United provides worldwide service to Asia, Australia, Africa and Europe. United operates an extensive domestic route network from its seven domestic hubs and is a leading US carrier to Hawaii. United also operates international hubs in Guam and Tokyo.
In 1988, the bilateral (though not reciprocal) treaty with Japan was amended to allow additional routes between the two countries. United's application to fly from Chicago to Tokyo, a significant gap in its routes previously, was approved. On October 18, 2013, United filed an application with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) to fly from San Francisco to Tokyo's Haneda Airport, the airline plans to launch flights in October 2014. On February 28, 2014, the USDOT tentatively granted approval for the airline's San Francisco-Haneda route; which is expected to be launched on October 26, 2014.
United's international expansion is focused on Asia and Latin America. United is the leading US carrier to the People's Republic of China, with nonstop flights to Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai, as well as the former British territory of Hong Kong, from its hubs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. In September 2007, United was granted a route from San Francisco to Guangzhou (Never launched). On May 20, 2011, the airline was granted service from Los Angeles to Shanghai that launched. The airline launched flights to Chengdu beginning June 9, 2014 using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
United inaugurated service to Bahrain on April 18, 2010, and Accra, Ghana on June 20, 2010, which was the carrier's first African destination. With this addition, United Airlines provided service to all continents except Antarctica. United's service to Accra was extended to Lagos, Nigeria (the carrier's second African destination) on December 12, 2010, with nonstop service commencing on November 16, 2011, and terminating on December 18, 2011 (Lagos is now served with a non-stop flight from Houston). United later terminated services to Accra altogether on July 3, 2012. United also launched service from Washington D.C. to Doha, Qatar via Dubai on May 1, 2012. United also terminated services to Denmark in September 2012. 
- Aer Lingus
- Azul Brazilian Airlines
- Cape Air
- Great Lakes Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Island Air
- Jet Airways
- Silver Airways
|Airbus A350-1000||—||35||40||TBA||Deliveries begin in 2018|
|Boeing 737 MAX 9||—||100||TBA|
|Boeing 787-10||27||TBA||Deliveries begin in 2018|
|Boeing 80AB||1934||Launch customer|
|Boeing 40A||1937||Launch customer|
|Boeing 247||1942||Launch customer, all 59 of the base model were built for United|
|Laird Swallow J-5https://www.united.com/page/article/0,,1408,00.html <<<<-- broken link||Single seat biplane used to carry US Air Mail (CAM 5) by predecessor Varney Air Lines.|
|Vickers Viscount||1969||Boeing 727 & 737||Former Capital Airlines aircraft. Only mainline turboprop aircraft type ever operated by United.|
|Sud Aviation Caravelle||1970||Boeing 727 & 737||Only U.S. operator of this French-manufactured intermediate range twinjet|
|Lockheed L-1011 TriStar||1989||McDonnell Douglas DC-10||Purchased from Pan Am; Sold to Delta|
|Boeing 720||1976||Boeing 727||Launch Customer.|
|Douglas DC-8||1992||Boeing 757–200||Largest DC-8 operator.
Fleet included stretched DC-8 "Super 60" series (DC-8-61) and re-engined "Super 70" series (DC-8-71) aircraft.
United accomplished the re-engining of its Super DC-8 aircraft in-house via its maintenance dept.
|Boeing 727–100||1993||Boeing 737–500||Launch customer|
|Boeing 747SP||1995||Boeing 747-400||Purchased from Pan Am|
|Boeing 747–100||1999||Boeing 777-200/200ER|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10||2001||Boeing 777-200/200ER||Launch Customer. Fleet included original DC-10-10 variant and larger, longer range DC-10-30 variant. One crashed in 1989.|
|Boeing 747–200||2000||Boeing 747-400|
|Boeing 727–200||2001||Airbus A320 family|
|Boeing 737–200||2001||Airbus A320 family||Launch customer|
|Boeing 737–300||2009||Boeing 737-900ER||Several sold to S7 Siberia Airlines.|
|Boeing 737–500||2009, 2013||Boeing 737-900ER|
|Boeing 767-200ER||2005, 2013||Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner||Some sold to UTair Aviation|
United had previously retired its entire Boeing 737 and Boeing 767-200 fleet; however, the airline reacquired Boeing 737 and 767-200ER aircraft as a result of its merger with Continental Airlines.
On April 2, 2008, United Airlines temporarily withdrew its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft until functional testing of the fire suppression system could be completed. The move was the latest in a series of temporary groundings by U.S. airlines in late March 2008 following a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) review of compliance with airworthiness directives. United has expressed interest in becoming the sole GoldCare maintenance, repair, and overhaul provider for the Boeing 787.
On June 3, 2009, United announced they had submitted proposals to both Boeing and Airbus for an order of up to 150 new aircraft.
In December 2009, United announced it would split a 50-aircraft order between upcoming Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.
United received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner on September 22, 2012, becoming the first U.S. carrier to do so. The airline has announced plans to place the Boeing 787 into scheduled passenger service effective November 4, 2012, on U.S. domestic routes from Houston (IAH) to Chicago (ORD), New York Newark (EWR),Washington-Dulles (IAD) and San Francisco (SFO) prior to operating the Dreamliner in scheduled international service. The Dreamliner battery debacleBoeing_787_Dreamliner_battery_problems caused the 787 airliner to be grounded for four months until June 10. Meanwhile, its 46 777 aircraft underwent major overhaul and retrofit at SFO. United is also the North American launch customer for the 787-9 and 787-10, stretched versions of the base 787-8 model.
United claims to be the only mainline legacy carrier to offer in-flight entertainment on all mainline aircraft. Audio programming was provided by Zune. The entire pre=merger United fleet features a program that allows passengers to listen to live radio communications between the cockpit and Air Traffic Control, which can be enabled at the pilot's discretion. United also partners with various television networks who provide programming for video-equipped aircraft. The most prominent of these programming partners was NBC, which provided branded "NBC on United" programming. This long-standing partnership ended in early 2009, when NBC signed a two-year deal with American Airlines. Despite the loss of this partnership, United's television entertainment continues to include several prime time NBC programs. On newer Airbus A320s and Boeing 737's, as well as domestic configured 777's, United offers wireless entertainment streaming to personal devices via wifi, featuring a selection of movies, shows and more.
GlobalFirst is United's international first class product, and is offered on all Boeing 747-400s, as well as all three class configured Boeing 767-300ERs and Boeing 777-200s. The United Global First Suite is 6.5 ft (2.0 m) long and when reclined it creates a fully flat bed. All seats are equipped with a personal LCD television with Audio-Video-on-Demand (AVOD), an adjustable headrest, an iPod adapter, a US-style 120-volt power outlet, a large tray table, and other amenities. United launched a new turn-down service which is available on all long-haul international flights.
BusinessFirst is offered on all Boeing 747-400, Boeing 767, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, as well as most transatlantic-configured Boeing 757-200s. BusinessFirst passengers check in at separate counters and can use priority security screening where available. In-flight service includes pre-departure beverages, table linens and multi course meals designed by United's Congress of Chefs on international flights. Passengers are also given priority with boarding and baggage handling and access to the United Club and other airline lounges. The longest domestic routes (such as the 9-10 hour long flights from Honolulu to Washington Dulles and Newark) utilize BusinessFirst equipped aircraft, however these flights are sold as United First but do not allow for complimentary premier upgrades.
Depending on the aircraft model, BusinessFirst seats have differently configured seating arrangements. Narrowbody aircraft, including transatlantic and United p.s. Boeing 757-200s have the seats arranged four-across, all facing-forward. On two-class Boeing 767-300 and Boeing 767-400ER aircraft, the seats are all forward facing in a 2-1-2 across configuration. On Boeing 787s and ex-Continental Boeing 777-200s, the seats are configured 2-2-2 with the outside seats angled away from the aisles. On Boeing 747-400s, as well as Boeing 767s and 777s that are equipped with GlobalFirst, BusinessFirst is configured with rows of seats that alternate between forward facing seats and backward facing seats. In this configuration, middle seats face backwards in rows with forward-facing seats on the outside of the aisles, and vice-versa. United is one of only two international carriers to have backwards facing Business class seats (with the other being British Airways).
Other domestic routes, especially hub-to-hub service and certain non "United p.s." transcontinental flights regularly see internationally configured aircraft with BusinessFirst (and sometimes GlobalFirst) for operational reasons (such as transferring international aircraft from one hub to another). While the physical seats and entertainment are the same as on international flights, the service, catering and other amenities are the same as in domestic first class. Unlike routes marketed as "BusinessFirst" and United p.s., these flights are eligible for complimentary premier upgrades.
United p.s. (short for "Premium Service") is a sub-brand for transcontinental flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles or San Francisco. Initially launched in 2004, these flights utilize specially configured Boeing 757-200s, with 180-degrees-flat BusinessFirst seats. The premium cabin also features international style catering, while all seats have access to inflight wi-fi, on demand entertainment, and power outlets. BusinessFirst passengers also have access to the United Clubs at JFK, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The previous iteration of p.s. featured three cabins, with angled lie flat seating in United First and the older style business class recliners with footrests in United Business. The refurbishment was completed on December 2, 2013.
United p.s. routes are not eligible for complimentary Premier upgrades, although MileagePlus members can upgrade using Regional Premier Upgrade e-certificates, Global Premier Upgrade e-certificates, or miles.
United First and United Business (short haul)
United First is offered on all domestically configured United aircraft. When such aircraft are used on international services, the premium cabin is branded as United Business. The cabin features a seat similar to the old international United Business seat, but without the personal reading lamps, entertainment units, or legrests. The seats have a 38 in (96.5 cm) pitch (37" on newer A319's and 737's and 39" on newer A320's due to the new slimline seats, and 53" on domestic configured 777's), and passengers receive priority boarding and baggage handling, pre-departure beverages, free meals and separate check-in desks.
Economy seats are available on all aircraft, and usually have a pitch of 31 inches (30 inches on refurbished Airbus A319s and A320s due to the new slimline seats, and 32 inches on all Boeing 787s) and a recline of 2-5 inches (aircraft dependent). All Economy seats on the Boeing 767, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787s feature an adjustable headrest and a personal television at the back of each seat. United Economy's in-flight entertainment system on Boeing 767 aircraft features nine channels of entertainment on loop on a 5 inches (13 cm) screen. All Boeing 777 and Boeing 787s feature AVOD with a 7 inches (18 cm) touch screen. On Boeing 747-400s, entertainment is provided by main-screen TVs above the aisles and on flip down screens above the seats. Food and snacks are available for purchase on domestic, Caribbean, and some Latin America flights. Meals are complimentary on all other international flights. Shortly after takeoff, passengers are served cocktail snacks and free non-alcoholic drinks. Alcoholic drinks are not complimentary for economy passengers on international flights. On flights with meals, the main meal consists of a salad/appetizer, a choice of hot entrées and dessert. On longer flights, United also offers a light pre-arrival meal.
United Economy Plus
Economy Plus is available on all aircraft in the domestic and international fleet, as well as United Express aircraft equipped with a first class cabin (CR7's, Embraer E-Jet's and some Q400's). Economy Plus seats are located in the front few rows, including bulkheads, and exit rows of the economy cabin and have 2 inches more recline and at least 5 inches of additional seat pitch (6 inches on some planes) totaling 4-7 inches of recline (aircraft dependent) and approximately 36 inches of pitch (35 inches on newer configured Airbus A319/A320s and 37 inches on Boeing 787s due to the economy pitch on those planes). Economy Plus is available for free to all MileagePlus Elite members. 1K, Platinum and Gold members may select an Economy Plus seat when booking. Silver members can select an Economy Plus seat at check-in. It can also be purchased depending upon availability by other passengers. United kept the "Economy Plus" seating for the combined carrier after the merger.
Frequent flyer services
From its inception until June 29, 2011, United's frequent flier program was known as Mileage Plus. Following United's merger with Continental Airlines, United retained Mileage Plus as the frequent flier program of the new United and, subsequently, renamed the program MileagePlus.
The United Club is the airline lounge associated with United Airlines and United Express carriers. The United Club replaced the former United Red Carpet Club and Continental Airlines Presidents Club prior to the merger with Continental.
Among United's subscriptions that passengers pay an annual fee for:
Incidents and accidents
|1940s||Flight 521||Flight 608||Flight 624|
|1950s||Flight 129||Flight 610||Flight 615||Flight 409||Flight 629||Flight 718||Flight 736|
|1960s||Flight 826||Flight 859||Flight 297||Flight 823||Flight 389||Flight 227||Flight 266|
|1970s||Flight 553||Flight 2860||Flight 173|
|1980s||Flight 811||Flight 232|
|1990s||Flight 585||Flight 826|
|2000s||Flight 175||Flight 93|
- http://www.uahf.org/united_history_01.asp. Missing or empty
- http://www.boeing.com/boeing/history/chronology/chron03.page. Missing or empty
- "2009 Form 10-K Subdocument 8 – EX-21 – List of UAL Corporation and United Air Lines, Inc. subsidiaries". ir.united.com. UAL Corporation. February 26, 2010. Archived from the original on January 13, 2011. Retrieved January 13, 2011. "UAL Corporation and United Air Lines, Inc. Subsidiaries..."
- "Era 1: 1910–1925". united.com. United Airlines, Inc. 2007. Archived from the original on May 10, 2008. Retrieved January 13, 2011. "...Walter T Varney, who launched air mail service over a desolate stretch of terrain between Pasco, Wash., and Elko, Nev., on April 6, 1926."
- "United Continental Holdings Annual Report 2012". quote.morningstar.com. Retrieved 2013-10-30.
- United Mainline Fleet
- Destinations Served. United Airlines Official Statistics. Copyright 2013.
- United-Continental Merger
- United Continental Holdings
- "Airport Fact Sheets, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport". United Airlines. December 1, 2013. Retrieved 2014-01-01.
- Willis Tower - Chicago Architecture
- Traders Purchase UAL - WKRB
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