|Commenced operations||April 6, 1926
(as Varney Air Lines)
|Airport lounge||United Club|
|Company slogan||Let's Fly Together|
|Parent company||United Continental Holdings, Inc.|
|Headquarters||Chicago, Illinois, USA|
|Revenue||US$37,110 million (FY 2011)|
|Operating income||US$1,822 million (FY 2011)|
|Net income||US$840 million (FY 2011)|
|Total assets||US$37,988 million (FY 2011)|
|Total equity||US$1,806 million (FY 2011)|
United Air Lines, Inc., operating as United Airlines, is a major U.S. airline owned by United Continental Holdings (originally UAL Corporation), headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. It is the world's largest airline in terms of scheduled passenger-kilometers flown (although this may change if American Airlines and US Airways complete their planned merger). United provides service to all continents except Antarctica. The airline was founded in 1926 as Varney Air Lines; it was renamed Boeing Air Transport in 1927 after it was acquired by aircraft manufacturer Boeing. United became an independent company in 1934, and merged with Capital Airlines in 1961. In 2011, it merged with Continental Airlines, replacing its own tulip logo with Continental's globe logo and its aircraft livery.
United is a founding member of the Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world, and offers connections to over 1,000 destinations in over 170 countries worldwide. United's largest hub is George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. The airline's regional service is United Express. As of October 2012[update], United employs 88,253 people, and is headed by Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Smisek.[nb 1]
United operates a fleet of 705 primarily Boeing aircraft, consisting of narrowbody Airbus A320 family, Boeing 737 Next Generation, and Boeing 757 aircraft as well as widebody Boeing 747, Boeing 767, 777, and 787 aircraft. It has single-aisle Boeing 737 Next Generation and 737 MAX aircraft, as well as the widebody Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, on order.
United Airlines originated from the Varney Air Lines air mail service of Walter Varney, who also founded Varney Speed Lines which later became Continental Airlines. 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 the war, 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 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 purchasing 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 1525% 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 terrorist attacks, two of the four airplanes hijacked and crashed by al-Qaeda terrorists were United Airlines aircraft. 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 ContinentalUnited 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 acquisition of 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:
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, a stylized "U" that is universally referred to as the "tulip", was first developed in the early seventies after the airline commissioned designer Saul Bass to develop a new brand image. It replaced the original United red, white and blue shield logo, adopted in 1936, but disused by the late 1960s. The "tulip" logo of colored stripes representing overlapping letter "U"s was used with only slight modification. This livery would be updated in 1988, to feature bigger "UNITED" titles on the fuselage that was facilitated by moving the stripes down. This livery was in use until the beginning of 1993 and the last planes to feature this paint scheme were repainted by 1999.
Other "tulip" liveries included 1993's CKS Group-designed "Battleship" livery, using a grey and dark blue fuselage, with blue stripes on the tail and a smaller "tulip". This livery debuted on January 11, 1993 and the last mainline plane to wear this livery, N229UA, was repainted on February 20, 2012. The 2004 Pentagram-developed "Blue Tulip" or "Rising Blue" featured a white and lighter blue fuselage, along with a cropped version of the tulip on the tail. This livery was used until the merger with Continental.
United Airlines has promoted its post-merger logo as reflecting its efforts to attract corporate clients and the airline's worldwide network, but many marketing experts and graphic designers have criticized the logo change, stating that the previous "tulip" logo has stronger brand recognition and is a stronger mark than the Continental globe, while faulting CEO Jeff Smisek and former United CEO Glenn Tilton for devising the "new" brand and livery between the two of them with no outside input.[additional citation needed]
The current slogan, since the merger of United and Continental in October 2010, is "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 used until 1996.
United's theme song is George Gershwin's 1924 "Rhapsody in Blue", which it licensed from Gershwin's estate for US$500,000 ($2,017,251 in 2013) 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 teamsthe Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Soxas well as the U.S. Olympic Team. The Blackhawks and Bulls play their games in the United Center, which the airline holds the naming rights to until 2014. In addition, the luxury seating area directly behind home plate at the White Sox U.S. Cellular Field are the "United Scout Seats."
United has been the Official Airline of the Denver Broncos since 1996.
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.
On August 23, 2011, United announced that it is converting to paperless flight decks and deploying 11,000 iPads to all United pilots. Each iPad, which weighs less than 1.5 pounds, will replace 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) replace 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 of 2011, and all pilots received 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. 
United Airlines flies to 78 domestic mainline destinations and 108 international destinations in 69 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, 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 operates an extensive domestic route network concentrated in the Midwest, West Coast and Southwest. It is the leading US carrier to Hawaii, as well as service to Asia, Australia, and Europe.[not in citation given]
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.
United is focusing on its international presence, notably in the People's Republic of China, with nonstop flights to Beijing 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.
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. 
|Boeing 737 MAX 9||100||
|Boeing 7878 Dreamliner||6||30||50||36||70||113||219|||
|Boeing 7879 Dreamliner||14||
|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-5||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. Smaller version of the Boeing 707.|
|Douglas DC-8||1992||Boeing 757200||Launch customer, Largest DC-8 operator in the world. Fleet included stretched DC-8 "Super 60" series and re-engined "Super 70" series aircraft. United accomplished the re-engining of its Super DC-8 aircraft in-house via its maintenance dept.|
|Boeing 727100||1993||Boeing 737500||Launch customer|
|Boeing 747SP||1995||Boeing 747-400||Purchased from Pan Am|
|Boeing 747100||1999||Boeing 777-200/200ER|
|McDonnell Douglas DC-10||2001||Boeing 777-200/200ER||Launch Customer. Fleet included DC-10-10 and larger, longer range DC-10-30 aircraft.|
|Boeing 747200||2000||Boeing 747-400|
|Boeing 727200||2001||Airbus A320 family|
|Boeing 737200||2001||Airbus A320 family||Launch customer|
|Boeing 737300||2009||Airbus A320 Family||Several sold to S7 Siberia Airlines.|
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.
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.
United received its first Boeing 787 aircraft 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.
United claims to offer in-flight entertainment on all mainline aircraft and be the only mainline legacy carrier to do so, however a rare few older 737s have neither audio nor visual entertainment. Audio programming is 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 (Channel 9 is being added to all mainline aircraft). 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.
United Global First is offered on all Boeing 747-400, all three class Boeing 767-300ER, and most three class Boeing 777-200 aircraft. 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 things. United launched a new turn-down service which is available on all long-haul international flights.
United BusinessFirst is offered on all Boeing 747-400, Boeing 767-200, three class 767-300ER, Boeing 767-400, Boeing 777-200/ER, and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. It is also available on select Boeing 757-200 (transatlantic configuration), and on some two class Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. 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 flights between East Coast and Hawaii) also feature a slightly scaled down version of United BusinessFirst.
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. 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 elite 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. Utilizing specially configured three class 757-200's, p.s. flights feature angled lie flat seating in United First as well as the older style business class recliners with footrests in United Business, which are generally regarded as being more spacious and comfortable than domestic first class seating. The premium cabins also feature international style catering, on demand entertainment and numerous other upgraded amenities while the main cabin is in an entirely "Economy Plus" configuration with extra legroom, power outlets and wifi access at every seat. United p.s. routes are not eligible for complimentary elite upgrades, although MileagePlus Premier Platinum, 1K, and Global Services members may use regional or systemwide upgrade e-certificates to move from Economy to Business or Business to First, all MileagePlus members can upgrade with miles.
United is currently phasing out this three cabin configuration and replacing it with a two class service with fully flat suites in BusinessFirst (the same equipment as on former Continental aircraft) starting at the end of 2012. The refurbishment will also add upgraded wifi, AVOD and satellite TV at every seat as well as a standard economy section in addition to the current Economy Plus. All 13 p.s. aircraft will be reconfigured by early 2014.
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, and passengers receive priority boarding and baggage handling, pre-departure beverages, free meals and separate check-in desks.
United Economy is available on all aircraft in United's fleet. All United Economy seats on Boeing 767 and Boeing 777 aircraft feature an adjustable headrest and a personal television at the back of each seat. United Economy's in-flight entertainment system on these aircraft features either nine channels of entertainment on loop on a 5 inches (13 cm) screen, or AVOD with a 7 inches (18 cm) touch screen. On Boeing 747 aircraft, entertainment is provided by mainline TVs above the aisles and on flip down screens above the seats. United serves complimentary meals on international flights between the US, South America, Europe, the South Pacific and Asia. Shortly after takeoff, passengers are served cocktail snacks and free non-alcoholic drinks. Alcoholic drinks are not complimentary for economy passengers on international flights except to/from and within Asia where Beer and Wine are complimentary. 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.
Economy Plus is available on all aircraft in the domestic and international fleet. Economy Plus seats are located in the front of the economy cabin and have up to 6 inches of additional legroom. Economy Plus is available for free to all MileagePlus Elite members. It can also be purchased depending upon availability by other passengers. United kept the "Economy Plus" seating for the combined carrier after the merger.
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.
|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|
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