United Airlines

United Airlines, Inc., commonly referred to as United, is a major United States airline headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.[11][12][13] United operates a large domestic and international route network, with an extensive presence in the Asia-Pacific region.[14] United is a founding member of the Star Alliance, the world's largest airline alliance with a total of 28 member airlines.[15] Regional service is operated by independent carriers under the brand name United Express. United was established by the amalgamation of several airlines in the late 1920s, the oldest of these being Varney Air Lines, which was founded in 1926.[1]

United has seven hubs, with Chicago–O'Hare being its largest in terms of passengers carried and the number of departures.[16] The company employs over 86,000 people while maintaining its headquarters in Chicago's Willis Tower.[17][18] Through the airline's parent company, United Continental Holdings, it is publicly traded under NYSEUAL with a market capitalization of over US$21 billion as of January 2018.[19]

United Airlines, Inc.
United Airlines Logo
IATA ICAO Callsign
FoundedApril 6, 1926 (as Varney Air Lines)[1]
Commenced operationsMarch 28, 1931[2]
AOC #CALA014A[3]
Frequent-flyer programMileagePlus
AllianceStar Alliance
Fleet size777
Company sloganFly The Friendly Skies
Parent companyUnited Continental Holdings
HeadquartersWillis Tower, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Key people
RevenueIncrease $41.303 billion (2018)[9]
Operating incomeDecrease $3.292 billion (2018)[9]
Net incomeDecrease $2.129 billion (2018)[9]
Total assetsIncrease $44.792 billion (2018)[9]
Employees88,000 (2017)[10]


United traces its roots to Varney Air Lines (VAL), which Walter Varney founded in 1926 in Boise, Idaho. Continental Airlines is the successor to Speed Lanes, which Varney had founded by 1932 and whose name changed to Varney Speed Lines in 1934. VAL flew the first privately contracted air mail flight in the U.S. on April 6, 1926.[20][21][22]

In 1927, William Boeing founded Boeing Air Transport to operate air mail routes under contract with the United States Post Office Department.[23] In 1929, Boeing merged his company with Pratt & Whitney to form the United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC) which then set about buying, in the space of just 28 months, Pacific Air Transport, Stout Air Services, VAL, and National Air Transport, as well as numerous equipment manufacturers at the same time.[24][25] On March 28, 1931, UATC formed United Air Lines, Inc. as a holding company for its airline subsidiaries.[26]

In late 2006, Continental Airlines and United had preliminary merger discussions.[27][28] On April 16, 2010, those discussions resumed.[29] The board of directors of Continental and UAL Corporation agreed on May 2, 2010, to combine operations, contingent upon shareholder and regulatory approval. On October 1, 2010, the UAL Corporation changed its name to United Continental Holdings, Inc.[30] The carriers planned to begin merging their operations in 2011.[31] The merged airline began operating under a single air operator's certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration on November 30, 2011.[32] On March 3, 2012, United and Continental merged their passenger service systems, frequent-flier programs, and websites, which virtually eliminated the Continental brand with the exception of its logo.[33]

Destinations and hubs


United operates to 231 destinations and 125 international destinations in 48 countries across five continents.[10]


United currently operates seven hubs.[10]

  • Chicago–O'Hare – United's largest hub and its hub for the Midwest. United flies approximately 36 million passengers through O'Hare every year, which is about 99,000 people per day, making it also the busiest airline at the airport.[34] United's corporate headquarters are also in Chicago.
  • Denver – United's hub for the central and western United States.[35] In 2017, United flew approximately 25.9 million passengers through DIA or about 71,000 people per day.[35] As of December 2017, United has about 42% of the market share at DIA making it the airport's largest airline.
  • Houston–Intercontinental – United's hub for the Southern United States and primary gateway to Latin America.[36] About 33.5 million passengers fly through Houston on United every year, or about 91,000 people per day.[36] United currently has about 78% of the seat share at Bush, making it the airport's largest tenant.[37]
  • Los Angeles – United's secondary hub for the West Coast and gateway to Asia and Australia.[38] About 10 million passengers fly through LAX on United every year, or about 28,000 people per day.[38] United has 15% of the market share at LAX, making it the third-biggest carrier at the airport.[39]
  • Newark – United's primary hub for the East Coast and a gateway to Europe, Latin America and Asia.[40] About 28.5 million passengers fly on United through Newark every year, or about 78,000 people per day. United controls about 81% of the slots at Newark and carries about 68% of all passengers at the airport.[41][42] United controls all of Terminal C and uses part of Terminal A for United Express Flights.
  • San Francisco – United's primary hub for the West Coast and gateway to Asia and Australia.[43] About 22 million passengers pass through SFO every year on United, which is about 60,000 people per day.[43] United has about 46% of the market share at San Francisco International, making it the biggest airline at the airport.[44]
  • Washington–Dulles – United's secondary hub for the East Coast and gateway to Europe.[45] United has about 65% of the market share at Washington Dulles, making it the largest airline at the airport.[46] About 14 million passengers fly through Dulles every year on United, which is about 38,465 people per day.[45]

Alliance and codeshare agreements

United Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance and has codeshare agreements with the following airlines:[47]

Joint ventures

In addition to the above codeshares, United has also entered into joint ventures with the following airlines:


United Airlines a320 Friend Ship at SFO
A United Airlines Airbus 320 painted in retro "United Friend Ship" livery sits at a gate at San Francisco International Airport.

As of February 2019, United Airlines operated a fleet of 776 aircraft; all Boeing and Airbus.[49]

On July 20, 2011, American Airlines announced an order for 460 narrowbody jets, including 260 Airbus A320s.[50] The order broke Boeing's monopoly with the airline and forced Boeing into the re-engined 737 MAX.[51] This sale included a Most-Favoured-Customer Clause, which requires Airbus to refund to American any difference between the price paid by American and a lower price paid by United or another airline. This perpetuates United's having a Boeing-skewed fleet.[52]

On September 22, 2012, United became the first American airline to take delivery of Boeing 787 aircraft.[53] United also is the North American launch customer for the Boeing 787-9[54] and 787-10 aircraft,[55] which are stretched versions of the base 787-8 model.

In May 2018, United planned to replace its 51 Boeing 767s in a deal potentially worth $14 billion at list prices, and was in talks with both Airbus offering its A330neo, and Boeing its 787.[56] United operates 128 757s and 767s (77 B757s and 51 B767s), the second-largest combined fleet after Delta Air Lines with 206 (127 757s and 79 767s) and both has to replace them, like American to a lesser degree: they could be replaced by 737 MAX 10s, A321neos, Boeing NMAs, 787-8s or A330-800neos.[57]


United Polaris Seat
United Polaris business class seat on the Boeing 777-300ER

United Polaris Business

These seats can be found on all Boeing 787 aircraft, Boeing 767-400 aircraft, Boeing 757-200, and select Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.

United Polaris Business passengers check in at separate counters and can use priority security screening where available. On international flights, in-flight services include pre-departure beverages, table linens and multi course meals designed in partnership with Charlie Trotter-affiliated chefs via the airline's partnership with the Trotter Project.[58] Passengers are also given priority with boarding and baggage handling and access to the United Polaris Lounge where available, as well as the United Club and partner airline lounges when traveling on international routes. All Polaris Business seats recline 180 degrees into a full, flat bed. On select Boeing 777-200ER and Boeing 767-300ER aircraft, the seats alternate facing forward and backwards. On the Boeing 787, Boeing 767-400, Boeing 757-200 and select Boeing 767-300ER and Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, all seats face forward.[59][60]

Other domestic routes, especially hub-to-hub service and certain non "United p.s." transcontinental flights, regularly see internationally configured aircraft with United Polaris Business seating 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 United p.s., these flights are eligible for complimentary premier upgrades.

On June 2, 2016, United introduced its new, redesigned international business class seat that will replace current business class seats. The new United Polaris Business seat will be featured on Airbus A350-900, Boeing 777-300ER, and Boeing 787-10 aircraft, and will be retrofitted later on Boeing 767, Boeing 777-200ER, and Boeing 787 aircraft. The Polaris seat converts into a 6' 6" flat bed in a 1-2-1 configuration or a 1-1-1 configuration, providing all-aisle access for every seat. The seat boasts multiple storage areas, mood lighting, multiple charging ports, lumbar support, and improved dining and amenity services.[61]

United Premium Plus

United Premium Plus will be United's premium economy product, to be installed through 2020 on wide-body international aircraft. United Premium Plus seating will offer more space, comfort and amenities compared to United Economy or Economy Plus, and will offer upgraded dining on china dinnerware, free alcoholic beverages, a Saks Fifth Avenue blanket and pillow, an amenity kit and more. United expects the first aircraft with these seats to be flying by mid-2018, with the full service launch in 2019. During the interim period, United will likely sell these seats as part of Economy Plus.[62]

United premium transcontinental service

United premium transcontinental service is offered on transcontinental flights between Newark and Los Angeles or San Francisco and between Boston and San Francisco. Previously branded as p.s. (short for "Premium Service") when initially launched in 2004, through 2017, these flights utilize primarily Boeing 757-200s, with 180-degrees-flat Polaris Business seats. The premium cabin also features international style catering, while all seats have access to inflight wi-fi, on demand entertainment, and power outlets. Business class passengers also have access to the United Club at Newark, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.[63]

All premium transcontinental flights were moved from New York JFK to Newark Liberty Airport on October 25, 2015.[64]

These routes are not eligible for Complimentary Premier upgrades, although MileagePlus members can upgrade using Regional Premier Upgrades, Global Premier Upgrades, or MileagePlus award miles.[65]

Since July 2017, passengers in Economy Plus get a complimentary hot entree, dessert, fruit, pre-arrival snack, and alcoholic beverages.[66]

United First and United Business

United First is offered on all domestically configured aircraft. When such aircraft are used on international services such as services to Canada, Central America and the Caribbean destinations, this cabin is branded as United Business. United First seats on narrowbody aircraft have a 38-inch (97 cm) seat pitch, while United First seats on re-configured domestic Boeing 777-200 aircraft feature fully flat bed seats. Passengers receive priority boarding and baggage handling, pre-departure beverages, complimentary meals and separate check-in desks.[67]

In 2015, United released its new domestic first class seat design. The new leather seats feature cradling headrests, granite cocktail tables, and a tablet stand. These seats will debut on Airbus A319 and Airbus A320 aircraft, and will eventually be installed on all domestic aircraft.[68]

Economy Plus

United Airlines Boeing 767-300ER Economy Seats
Economy plus seats on a Boeing 767

United Economy Plus is available on all aircraft. Economy Plus seats are located in the front few rows and exit rows of the economy cabin and have 2 inches (5.1 cm) more recline and at least 5 to 6 inches (13 to 15 cm) of additional seat pitch totaling 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 cm) of recline (aircraft dependent) and 35 to 37 inches (89 to 94 cm) of pitch. Economy Plus is complimentary for all MileagePlus Premier members. Premier 1K, Platinum and Gold members may select an Economy Plus seat when booking, while silver members can select an Economy Plus seat at check-in.[69] It can also be purchased depending upon availability by other passengers.

Prior to the merger between United and Continental, United Airlines aircraft offered Economy Plus, while Continental did not. Following the merger, Economy Plus was rolled out across the combined fleet.[70]


Uniteds new Recaro seats (10360311066)
New slimline economy seats on an Airbus A320-200

United Economy is available on all aircraft, and usually have a pitch of 31 inches (30 inches on aircraft refurbished with Slimline seats, and 32 inches on Boeing 787s) and a recline of 2–5 inches. All economy seats feature an adjustable headrest and some form of entertainment, ranging from AVOD, inflight wi-fi, personal device entertainment, or overhead entertainment. Economy seats on Boeing 767, Boeing 777, Boeing 787, and select renovated 757-200 aircraft feature a personal 7-inch (18 cm) touchscreen television at the back of each seat with United Private Screening. Select Boeing 757-300 and select Boeing 737 aircraft feature overhead entertainment. On Airbus A319, A320, select Boeing 737, select Boeing 757-300, select 757-200 and domestically configured Boeing 777 aircraft feature personal device entertainment, and WiFi. Other Boeing 737 and Boeing 757-300 aircraft feature DirecTV.[71] In April 2018, United upgraded all aircraft with over 70 seats to include Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment even with DirecTV equipped.[72]

Food and snacks are available for purchase on domestic, Caribbean, and some Latin America flights. These include snacks, fresh meals, and snack boxes, depending on flight time and distance. Meals are complimentary on all other international flights. Only beverages are complimentary in economy on North America flights. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase on North America flights, but are complimentary on long-haul international flights.[73] On flights where meals are served, a cocktail snack with a beverage is served shortly after takeoff, followed by a main course, then dessert. Longer international flights feature a pre-arrival meal, which usually consists of a light breakfast or snack. United announced that it would offer free snacks on domestic, Caribbean, and Latin America flights, which began in February 2016.[74]

Basic Economy

Basic Economy is available on select routes and in addition to standard fares. Intended to be United's lowest fare, Basic Economy fares provide most of the same inflight services and amenities with standard United Economy Class.[75] With Basic Economy, group/family seating, seat selection/upgrades and bringing full-sized carry-on bags are not allowed. When booking online, it is clearly marked - with a user prompt to confirm the user is booking a Basic Economy fare. Users also have the option to pay a small fee to upgrade their booking to regular Economy. Also, certain MileagePlus and Premier member benefits are not available.[76]

Reward services

MileagePlus is the frequent flyer program for United Airlines.[77]

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 United Airlines' merger with Continental.

Corporate affairs


Willis Tower
United Continental Holdings World Headquarters, Willis Tower

In 2007, United moved its headquarters and 350 top executives from Elk Grove Township, a suburb of Chicago, to 77 West Wacker Drive in the Chicago Loop[78] after receiving US$5.5 million in incentives from the City of Chicago.[79] The Elk Grove campus became an operations center after several of United's offices in suburban Chicago were consolidated there.[80]

In 2010, United accepted the City of Chicago's offer of US$35 million in incentives, including a US$10 million grant, for United to move its remaining 2,500 employees out of Elk Grove Township to the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in the Chicago Loop.[79] On May 31, 2012, United opened its operations center, which occupied twelve floors of the Willis Tower.[81]

Other facilities

The Elk Grove Township former headquarters campus was gradually annexed into the Village of Mount Prospect,[82][83] and serves as an IT operations facility, with a new 172,000 square foot (16,000 m2) data center constructed in 2013.[84] United maintains a large presence in downtown Houston, having leased 225,000 sq ft (20,900 m2) of space (seven floors) for occupancy in late 2017.[85]

United has training facilities for its flight crews in Denver and Houston, a major aircraft maintenance center in San Francisco, and call centers in Houston and Chicago.

United formerly owned the Waikiki Seaside Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii which was used by its flight crews until it was sold in February 2012.[86]

Original brand image

The pre-merger United logo, commonly nicknamed the "tulip", was developed in the early 1970s after the airline commissioned designer Saul Bass to develop a new brand image.[87] The logo represented the airline's monogram as well as a modernized version of the airline's shield logo[88] 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.[89]

Marketing themes

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.[90] The "It's time to fly" slogan was created in 2004. After the merger of United and Continental in October 2010, the slogan changed to "Let's fly together" until September 2013.[90] On September 20, 2013, United announced a return of the "Fly the Friendly Skies" slogan in an ad campaign to start the following day.[91] The resurrected slogan would be accompanied by the 1924 George Gershwin song "Rhapsody in Blue" as its theme song, and a voiceover provided by Matt Damon.[90]

United licensed its theme song, "Rhapsody in Blue", from Gershwin's estate for US$500,000 (equivalent to $2,201,462 in 2018) in 1976.[92] "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 it would continue to use "Rhapsody in Blue" as its theme song following the merger with Continental.[93]

Environmental efforts

Because over 98 percent of United's greenhouse gas emissions are from jet fuel, its environmental strategy has focused on operational fuel efficiency initiatives and investments in sustainably produced, low-carbon alternative fuels.

On August 23, 2011, United Continental Holdings, Inc. announced a conversion to paperless flight decks, and projected that by the end of the year, 11,000 iPads will have been deployed to all United and Continental pilots. Each iPad, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds (0.68 kg), will replace approximately 38 pounds (17 kg) of paper operating manuals, navigation charts, reference handbooks, flight checklists, logbooks, and weather information. The green benefits include reductions in paper use, printing, and fuel consumption.[94]

On November 7, 2011, United flew the world's first commercial aviation flight on a microbially-derived biofuel. The aircraft was fueled with 40 percent Solajet, which is Solazyme's algae-derived renewable jet fuel, and 60 percent petroleum-derived jet fuel. This flight was operated by the Eco-Skies Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Houston to Chicago-O'Hare.[95]

On January 15, 2013, Aviation Partners Boeing (APB), a joint venture between Aviation Partners Inc. and Boeing, announced that United had agreed to replace the Blended Winglets on its Boeing Next Generation 737 aircraft with APB's Split Scimitar Winglet (SSW), significantly reducing drag. Once the SSWs are installed, it is estimated that APB's winglet technology will save United more than $250 million annually in fuel costs.[96]

On June 30, 2015, United invested US$30 million in Fulcrum BioEnergy, an alternative fuel company. Fulcrum's alternative fuel is produced through a clean and efficient thermochemical process and reduces lifecycle carbon emissions by more than 80 percent. As part of its investment, United will work with Fulcrum to develop up to five alternative fuel refineries near its U.S. hubs. These refineries will produce up to 180 million gallons of sustainable aviation alternative fuel per year, and United will have the opportunity to purchase at least 90 million gallons per year for a minimum of 10 years, making it the largest aviation alternative fuel commitment to date.[97]

On March 11, 2016, United became the first airline in the world to fly on commercial-scale quantities of such fuels on a continuous basis, which were procured from AltAir Fuels. This fuel was produced from sustainable feedstocks such as non-edible natural oils and agricultural wastes, and is expected to provide a greater than 60 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions on a lifecycle basis when compared to traditional jet fuel. United has agreed to purchase up to 15 million gallons of sustainable alternative fuel from AltAir Fuels for use in Los Angeles over a three-year period.[98]

In 2016, United began partnering with Clean the World to repurpose items from the airline's international premium class amenity kits and donate the hygiene products to those in critical need. Clean the World provides hygiene education and soap to promote handwashing, which helps prevent hygiene-related deaths. During the first year of this partnership, United expected to divert 60,000 pounds (27,200 kg) of material that otherwise would have gone to landfills.[99]

In 2017 United started a partnership with Audubon International to protect raptors—including hawks, ospreys and owls—in and around New York-area airports and resettle the birds-of-prey at suitable golf course habitats where the species are more likely to thrive.[100]


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,[101][102] which struck down a scope clause that disallowed Continental from outsourcing the flying of regional jets with 70 or more passenger seats.[103]

Animal transport

In 2013, after pressure from PETA, United announced that it would no longer transport monkeys to laboratories. United was the last North American passenger airline to transport these animals to laboratories.[104][105] United flies more animals and has longer flight stage length than any other US airline, and accounted for one third of animal deaths of US airlines between 2012 and 2017.[106]

Effective March 20, 2018, the PetSafe program was suspended with no new reservations for cargo transport of pets accepted.[107] This came after United announced plans to mark pet carriers in the passenger cabin with bright tags[108] and legislation was introduced in the United States House of Representatives[109] and United States Senate banning the placement of pets in overhead compartments.[110] This was in response to a dog death after a passenger placed it in the overhead compartment following flight attendant instructions, but the flight attendant denied knowing that the luggage contained a dog.[111]

Cyber security

United awarded airline miles as "bug bounties" to hackers who could identify gaps in the carrier's web security. Two hackers have each been rewarded with 1 million miles of air travel as of July 15, 2015. This cyber security program was announced a few weeks before the company experienced two software glitches. The first incident delayed 150 United flights on June 2 due to a problem with its flight dispatching system. Six days later, United's reservation system delayed flights by not allowing passengers to check in. In addition to the "bug bounty" program, United said it tests systems internally and engages cybersecurity firms.[112][113]

Privacy concerns

In February 2019, privacy concerns arose after it emerged that United had installed cameras in some seat backs. United said that the cameras were "not activated", but journalists reported that malicious hackers could still potentially enable the cameras to spy on passengers.[114][115][116][117][118][119]

Accidents and incidents

1930s NC13304 NC13357 Flight 6 Flight 4[120] NC13323[121] NC13355[122]
1940s 41-24027 Flight 521 Flight 608 Flight 624
1950s Flight 129[123] 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 696 Flight 173
1980s Flight 811 Flight 232 Flight 2885 Flight 2415
1990s Flight 585 Flight 6291 Flight 5925 Flight 826 Flight 863
2000s Flight 175 Flight 93
2010s Flight 3411

Dave Carroll Guitar

In 2008, United baggage handlers broke Canadian musician Dave Carroll's guitar. After nine months fruitlessly trying to resolve the situation, Carroll released three songs about the incident. The first, United Breaks Guitars, has over 17 million views as of 2017, and caused a significant public relations embarrassment for the airline.[124]

United 3411

On the evening of April 9, 2017, a revenue passenger was forcibly removed by law enforcement from United Airlines flight 3411 at Chicago-O'Hare, bound for Louisville.[125] United announced that it needed four seats for airline staff on the sold-out flight.[126] When no passengers volunteered after being offered vouchers worth $800, United staff selected four passengers to leave. Three of them did so, but the fourth, a doctor named David Dao, declined as he said that he had patients to treat the following morning. He was pulled from his seat by Chicago Department of Aviation security officers and dragged by his arms down the aisle. Dao sustained a concussion, broken teeth, a broken nose, and other injuries.[127] The incident was captured on smartphone cameras and posted on social media, triggering an angry public backlash. Afterwards, United's chief executive officer, Oscar Munoz, described Dao as "disruptive and belligerent", apologized for "re-accommodating" the paying customers, and defended and praised staff for "following established procedures". He was widely criticized as "tone-deaf".[128] Munoz later issued a second statement calling what happened a "truly horrific event" and accepting "full responsibility" for it.[129] After a lawsuit, Dao reached an undisclosed settlement with United and airport police. In the aftermath, United's board of directors decided that Munoz would not become its chairman and that executive compensation would be tied to customer satisfaction.[130] Following this incident, passenger complaints increased by 70 percent.[131]

See also


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External links

1956 Grand Canyon mid-air collision

The Grand Canyon mid-air collision occurred on June 30, 1956, when a United Airlines Douglas DC-7 struck a Trans World Airlines Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation over the Grand Canyon National Park. All 128 on board both flights perished, making it the first commercial airline crash to result in more than 100 deaths.

The collision took place in uncontrolled airspace, where it was the pilots' own responsibility to maintain separation ("See and be seen"). This highlighted the antiquated state of air traffic control, which became the focus of major aviation reforms.

Boeing 247

The Boeing Model 247 was an early United States airliner, considered the first such aircraft to fully incorporate advances such as all-metal (anodized aluminium) semimonocoque construction, a fully cantilevered wing and retractable landing gear. Other advanced features included control surface trim tabs, an autopilot and de-icing boots for the wings and tailplane."Ordered off the drawing board", the 247 first flew on February 8, 1933 and entered service later that year. Subsequent development in airliner design saw engines and airframes becoming larger and four-engined designs emerged, but no significant changes to this basic formula appeared until cabin pressurization and high altitude cruise were introduced in 1940, with the Boeing 307 Stratoliner.

China United Airlines

China United Airlines Co., Ltd. (simplified Chinese: 中国联合航空公司; traditional Chinese: 中國聯合航空公司; pinyin: Zhōngguó Liánhé Hángkōng gōngsī) is a budget airline with its headquarters in Fengtai District, Beijing, operating scheduled flights and charter services in co-operation with local enterprises out of Beijing Nanyuan Airport, making it the only commercial airline using this airport. The airline previously had its headquarters in another area in Fengtai District, Beijing.

Continental Airlines

Continental Airlines was a major United States airline founded in 1934 and eventually headquartered in Houston, Texas. It had ownership interests and brand partnerships with several carriers.

Continental started out as one of the smaller carriers in the United States, known for its limited operations under the regulated era. Post 1978, Continental grew into one of the country's largest carriers despite facing financial troubles and other issues, eventually becoming one of the more successful airlines in the United States.

The airline merged with UAL Corporation (the parent company of United Airlines) via a stock swap in 2010. Continental's shares were acquired by UAL Corporation; the re-organized holding company was renamed United Continental Holdings. During the integration period, each airline ran a separate operation under the direction of a combined leadership team, based in Chicago. The integration was completed on March 3, 2012. Although the merged airline retained the United name, it uses Continental's operating certificate and livery.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IATA: IAH, ICAO: KIAH, FAA LID: IAH) is an international airport in Houston, Texas, United States, under class B airspace, serving the Greater Houston metropolitan area. Located about 23 miles (37 km) north of Downtown Houston, between Interstate 45 and Interstate 69/U.S. Highway 59 with direct access to the Hardy Toll Road expressway, George Bush Intercontinental Airport has scheduled flights to a large number of domestic and international destinations. The airport, originally named "Houston Intercontinental Airport", was later renamed after George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States.In 2017, the airport served 40,696,189 passengers, making it the 48th busiest airport in the world, and the 15th busiest airport in the United States. IAH covers 10,000 acres (40.5 km2.) of land and has five runways.Houston Intercontinental is the second largest passenger hub for United Airlines. The airport also serves as a focus city for Spirit Airlines. Under operations as United Express, Expressjet Airlines, Republic Airline, Mesa Airlines and Skywest Airlines operate hub operations from IAH. It served as a hub for Houston-based Texas International Airlines and commuter air carrier Metro Airlines, which was also based in the Houston area and started its first flights when Intercontinental opened in 1969. The airport also serves as a hub for Atlas Air, which hosts a crew base, maintenance, and cargo logistics.

Newark Liberty International Airport

Newark Liberty International Airport (IATA: EWR, ICAO: KEWR, FAA LID: EWR), originally Newark Metropolitan Airport and later Newark International Airport, is one of the major airports of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and is located in the U.S. state of New Jersey. The airport straddles the boundary between the cities of Newark and Elizabeth, the former of which is the most populous city in the state. The airport is owned jointly by the cities of Elizabeth and Newark and leased to and operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.Newark Airport is located 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Downtown Newark, and 9 miles (14 km) west-southwest of the borough of Manhattan. It is one of four major airports serving the New York City - Philadelphia Urban Area, the others being Philadelphia International Airport, John F. Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport.In 2017, EWR was the sixth busiest airport in the United States by international passenger traffic and fifteenth busiest airport in the country. It served 43,393,499 passengers in 2017, which made EWR the forty-third busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic. In 2018, the airport saw 46,065,175 passengers, the most in its history.

Newark serves 50 carriers and is the third-largest hub (after Chicago–O'Hare and Houston–Intercontinental) for United Airlines, which is the airport's largest tenant (operating in all three of Newark's terminals). Newark's second-largest tenant is FedEx Express, whose third-largest cargo hub uses three buildings on two million square feet of airport property. During the 12-month period ending in July 2014, over 68% of all passengers at the airport were carried by United Airlines.

Star Alliance

Star Alliance is one of the world's largest global airline alliances. Founded on 14 May 1997, its current CEO is Jeffrey Goh and its headquarters is located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. As of April 2018, Star Alliance is the second largest global alliance by passenger count with 728 million, behind SkyTeam (730 million) and ahead of Oneworld (528 million). Its slogan is "The Way The Earth Connects".

Star Alliance's 27 member airlines operate a fleet of approximately 4,657 aircraft, serving more than 1,330 airports in 192 countries on more than 18,500 daily departures. The alliance has a two-tier rewards program, Silver and Gold, with incentives including priority boarding and upgrades. Like other airline alliances, Star Alliance airlines share airport terminals (known as co-location) and many member planes are painted in the alliance's livery.

United Airlines Flight 173

United Airlines Flight 173 was a scheduled flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City to Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon, with a scheduled stop in Denver, Colorado. On December 28, 1978, the aircraft flying this route ran out of fuel and crashed in a suburban Portland neighborhood near NE 157th Avenue and East Burnside Street.

United Airlines Flight 175

United Airlines Flight 175 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight from Logan International Airport, in Boston, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles, California. On September 11, 2001, the Boeing 767-200 operating the route was hijacked by five al-Qaeda terrorists and was deliberately crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all 65 people aboard and an unconfirmed number in the building's impact zone.

Approximately thirty minutes into the flight, the hijackers forcibly breached the cockpit and overpowered the pilot and first officer, allowing lead hijacker and trained pilot Marwan al-Shehhi to take over the controls. Unlike Flight 11, which turned its transponder off, the aircraft's transponder was visible on New York Center's radar, and the aircraft deviated from the assigned flight path for four minutes before air traffic controllers noticed these changes at 08:51 EDT. They made several unsuccessful attempts to contact the cockpit. Unknown to the hijackers, several passengers and crew aboard made phone calls from the plane to family members and provided information about the hijackers and injuries suffered by passengers and crew.

The aircraft crashed into Tower Two (the South Tower) of the World Trade Center at 09:03. The Flight 175 hijacking was coordinated with that of American Airlines Flight 11, which struck the top of Tower One (the North Tower) 17 minutes earlier. The crash of Flight 175 into the South Tower was the only impact seen live on television around the world as it happened. The impact and subsequent fire caused the South Tower to collapse 56 minutes after the crash, resulting in hundreds of additional casualties. During the recovery effort at the World Trade Center site, workers recovered and identified remains from Flight 175 victims (see the Aftermath section below), but many other body fragments could not be identified.

United Airlines Flight 232

United Airlines Flight 232 was a regularly scheduled United Airlines flight from Denver to Chicago, continuing to Philadelphia. On July 19, 1989, the DC-10 (registered as N1819U) serving the flight crash-landed at Sioux City, Iowa, after suffering a catastrophic failure of its tail-mounted engine, which led to the loss of many flight controls. At the time, the aircraft was en route from Stapleton International Airport to O'Hare International Airport. Of the 296 passengers and crew on board, 111 died in the accident and 185 survived, making the crash the fifth-deadliest involving the DC-10, behind Turkish Airlines Flight 981, American Airlines Flight 191, Air New Zealand Flight 901, and UTA Flight 772.. Despite the deaths, the accident is considered a prime example of successful crew resource management because of the large number of survivors and the manner in which the flight crew handled the emergency and landed the airplane without conventional control.

United Airlines Flight 553

United Airlines Flight 553 was a scheduled flight from Washington National Airport to Omaha, Nebraska, via Chicago Midway International Airport. On December 8, 1972, the Boeing 737-222 serving the flight, City of Lincoln, registration N9031U, crashed during an aborted landing and go around while approaching Chicago Midway International Airport.The plane crashed into a residential neighborhood, destroying five houses; 43 of the 61 aboard the aircraft and two on the ground were killed. Among the passengers killed were Illinois congressman George W. Collins and Dorothy Hunt, the wife of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt. This crash was the first fatal accident involving a Boeing 737, which entered airline service nearly five years earlier in February 1968.

United Airlines Flight 585

United Airlines Flight 585 was a scheduled passenger flight on March 3, 1991 from Denver to Colorado Springs, Colorado, carrying 20 passengers and 5 crew members on board. The plane experienced a rudder hardover while on final approach to runway 35 at Colorado Springs Municipal Airport, causing the plane to roll over and enter an uncontrolled dive. There were no survivors.The NTSB was initially unable to resolve the cause of the crash, but after similar accidents and incidents involving Boeing 737 aircraft, the crash was determined to be caused by a defect in the design of the 737's rudder power control unit (PCU).

United Airlines Flight 811

United Airlines Flight 811 was a regularly scheduled airline flight from Los Angeles to Sydney, with intermediate stops at Honolulu, and Auckland. On February 24, 1989, the Boeing 747–122 serving the flight experienced a cargo door failure in flight shortly after leaving Honolulu. The resulting explosive decompression blew out several rows of seats, resulting in the deaths of nine passengers. The aircraft returned to Honolulu, where it landed safely.

United Airlines Flight 93

United Airlines Flight 93 was a domestic scheduled passenger flight that was hijacked by four al-Qaeda terrorists on board, as part of the September 11 attacks. It crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, during an attempt by the passengers and crew to regain control. All 44 people on board were killed, including the four hijackers, but no one on the ground was injured. The aircraft involved, a Boeing 757–222, was flying United Airlines' daily scheduled morning flight from Newark International Airport in New Jersey to San Francisco International Airport in California.

The hijackers stormed the aircraft's cockpit 46 minutes after takeoff. The pilot and first officer took measures, such as de-activating the autopilot, to hinder the hijackers. Ziad Jarrah, who had trained as a pilot, took control of the aircraft and diverted it back toward the east coast, in the direction of Washington, D.C. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, considered principal instigators of the attacks, have claimed that the intended target was the Capitol Building.After the hijackers took control of the plane, several passengers and flight attendants learned from phone calls that suicide attacks had already been made by hijacked airliners on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. Many of the passengers then attempted to regain control of the aircraft from the hijackers. During the struggle, the plane crashed into a field near a reclaimed strip mine in Stonycreek Township, near Indian Lake and Shanksville, about 65 miles (105 km) southeast of Pittsburgh and 130 miles (210 km) northwest of Washington, D.C. A few people witnessed the impact from the ground, and news agencies began reporting the event within an hour.

Of the four aircraft hijacked on September 11 – the others were American Airlines Flight 11, United Airlines Flight 175 and American Airlines Flight 77 – United Airlines Flight 93 was the only aircraft that did not reach its hijackers' intended target. Vice President Dick Cheney, in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center deep under the White House, authorized Flight 93 to be shot down; upon learning of the crash, he is reported to have said, "I think an act of heroism just took place on that plane."A temporary memorial was built near the crash site soon after the attacks. Construction of a permanent Flight 93 National Memorial was dedicated on September 10, 2011, and the concrete and glass visitor center situated on a hill overlooking the site was opened exactly four years later.

United Center

United Center is a multi-purpose arena located in the Near West Side neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. The United Center is home to both the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League (NHL). The arena is named after its city-based corporate sponsor, United Airlines.

The plan to build the arena was created by then Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The United Center's predecessor was the Chicago Stadium, the original "Madhouse on Madison", which was demolished after the new arena opened for business on August 18, 1994. The first event at the United Center was the WWF event SummerSlam (1994). Due to the 1994–95 NHL lockout, the Blackhawks did not move in until January 1995.

The east side of the arena features statues of Michael Jordan (known as "The Spirit"), Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, while a statue of various Blackhawks sits to the north on Madison Street, where the Chicago Stadium was located.

United Center was home to the 1996 Democratic National Convention, at which a new style of four-screen speech prompting system for speakers was pioneered in the United States, consisting of two glass teleprompters, accompanied by an inset lectern monitor, and a large under-camera confidence monitor.

United Continental Holdings

United Continental Holdings, Inc. (formerly UAL Corporation) is a publicly traded airline holding company headquartered in the Willis Tower in Chicago. UCH owns and operates United Airlines, Inc. The company is the successor of UAL Corporation, which agreed to change its name to United Continental Holdings in May 2010, when a merger agreement was reached between United and Continental Airlines. Its stock trades under the UAL symbol. To effect the merger, Continental shareholders received 1.05 shares of UAL stock for each Continental share, effectively meaning Continental was acquired by UAL Corporation; at the time of closing, it was estimated that United shareholders owned 55% of the merged entity and Continental shareholders owned 45%. The company or its subsidiary airlines also have several other subsidiaries. Once completely combined, United became the world's largest airline, as measured by revenue passenger miles. United is a founding member of the Star Alliance.UCH has major operations at Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Guam, Houston–Intercontinental, Los Angeles, Newark (New Jersey), San Francisco, and Washington–Dulles. Additionally, UCH's United is the largest U.S. carrier to the People’s Republic of China and maintains a large operation throughout Asia.UCH uses Continental's operating certificate and United's repair station certificate, having been approved by the FAA on November 30, 2011.

United Express

United Express is the brand name for the regional branch of United Airlines, under which eight individually owned regional airlines operate short- and medium-haul feeder flights.

On October 1, 2010, UAL Corporation and Continental Airlines merged to form United Continental Holdings, the holding company for the newly merged United Airlines. As Continental and United merged, Continental Connection and Continental Express has gradually adopted the United Express brand name, bringing the number of operators to twelve and the number of aircraft to over 550. The first aircraft painted into the new United Express livery was an Embraer ERJ-145 operated by ExpressJet.

As of November 30, 2011, after United had received its Single Operating Certificate following its merger with Continental Airlines, over 575 aircraft fly under the United Express brand.

United Express Flight 3411 incident

On April 9, 2017, O'Hare International Airport Aviation Security Officers forcibly removed passenger David Dao Duy Anh, a Vietnamese-American pulmonologist, from United Express Flight 3411, after Dao refused to leave the aircraft as airline staff insisted. Aviation Security Officers were called and dragged him off. Dao screamed as officers pulled him out of his seat, and his face hit an armrest during the struggle. Officers then dragged him, apparently unconscious, by his arms on his back along the aircraft aisle past rows of onlooking passengers. According to passenger eyewitness accounts, the Aviation Security Officers laughed as Dao was dragged off the plane. He was later seen with blood around his mouth. Prior to the confrontation, managers offered travel vouchers to passengers to vacate their seats to make room for four deadheading airline employees who needed to travel to the destination, Louisville International Airport, but none of the passengers accepted. Four passengers were then selected for involuntary removal from the flight. Three other passengers complied, and Dao was selected to be fourth. Republic Airline operated the scheduled passenger flight on behalf of United Express, a United Airlines regional branch.

Video of the incident recorded by passengers went viral on social media, resulting in outrage over the violent incident. Politicians expressed concern and called for official investigation. U.S. President Donald Trump criticized United Airlines, calling treatment of their customers "horrible".

The next morning United CEO Oscar Munoz issued a statement which appeared to justify the removal of the unwilling passenger, referring to it as "re-accommodating the customers". Munoz also sent an email to United staff commending the crew's actions for following established procedures, and referring to Dao as "disruptive" and "belligerent". The description of Dao as "disruptive" and "belligerent" completely contradicted passenger descriptions of the incident. Passenger Jason Powell said Dao was not belligerent, saying, "He was very polite, matter-of-fact," In addition, cell phone video by passenger Joya Cummings also contradicted Munoz' description of Dao as belligerent.Munoz and United were sharply criticized for their initial statements. Two days after the incident Munoz issued an additional statement, apologizing and promising that this type of incident would never happen again on United aircraft. He said, "No one should ever be mistreated this way." In an exclusive interview on Good Morning America, with ABC News Chief Business, Technology and Economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, Munoz was asked, "Do you think [Dao] was at fault in any way?" Munoz responded, "No. He can't be. He was a paying passenger sitting on our seat in our aircraft." Munoz was denied a previously planned promotion to chairman as a result of the incident. Dao reached an "amicable" settlement with United on April 27, the terms of which were not publicly announced.

World's largest airlines

The world's largest airlines can be defined in several ways.

American Airlines Group is the largest by its fleet size, revenue, profit, passengers carried and revenue passenger mile. Delta Air Lines is the largest by assets value and market capitalization. Lufthansa Group is the largest by number of employees, FedEx Express by freight tonne-kilometers, Turkish Airlines by number of countries served and UPS Airlines by number of destinations served (or United Airlines when excluding freight-only carriers).

Current airlines
Current marketing brands
Former airlines
Former marketing brands
Former holding companies
Frequent flyer services
Legal issues
Customer Service Snafus
United Airlines
accidents and incidents
Continental Airlines
accidents and incidents
Air taxi
Air ambulance

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