United Airlines is one of the oldest airlines in the United States, with some of its predecessors going back to the late 1920s. Originally, United Airlines was known as "The Boeing Company," and, in some ways, they still are the Boeing Company since this is the primary plane found in their fleet. United has nine airline hubs throughout the world. Its largest hub is in Houston and handles 16.6 million passengers every year, with 45,413 people getting on United flights every day. Chicago O'Hare is the company's largest hub in terms of departures. United flies Boeing 747s, 767s, 777s, and 787s. They also fly narrowbody Airbus 319s, 320s, Boeing 737s, and Boeing 757s, as well as various Embraer and Bombardier jets for its regional carriers. For its regional flights, United usually uses third-party carriers (such as ExpressJet) to get customers to and from smaller airports when traversing between mainline destinations. United Airlines is also a pretty safe airline. In the past twenty years, there have been 3 fatal flights, including two flights that crashed on 9/11, and one minor incident where some passengers and crewmembers were hurt on takeoff (though there was no structural damage to the aircraft).
United Airlines has a low price guarantee on their tickets. They have some of the lowest ticket prices for both domestic and international flights. Their prices were often the exact same being offered by other large airlines (such as American Airlines or Delta). Because they are such a large airline, they have the ability to offer many different options for ticket times and connections. With their low prices and flexibility, many customers would be able to choose the flight that best suits them while using United. United also offers different discounts and promotions on their website and for reward club members. Customers can become a part of the MilagePlus program and earn different discounts with their miles. Customers can also have United email them specific discounts or promotions that are being offered.
United Airlines has a similar boarding process to many other airlines. Seats are chosen when purchasing tickets and can be changed or upgraded at the check-in time depending on availability. Boarding times vary depending on the flight locations and specific airports being used. United offers a few different methods of check-in including:
• Mobile check-in
• Online check-in
• Airport kiosks
• Airport check-in counters
Using the United mobile app, passengers can check-in for their flight 24 hours before departure and receive a mobile boarding pass. This speeds up the time at the airport and eliminates the need to keep track of a paper boarding pass. Passengers can also check-in 24 hours before departure on the online check-in and can also ask to receive a mobile boarding pass. If a passenger chooses to check-in at the airport, they have the choice of self-service kiosks (which are always open for use) or check-in counters which have specific hours of operation depending upon the airport.
United Airlines serves 374 different destinations, both domestic and international. This is a large number of destinations for an airline and makes United one of the larger airlines available. Some of their top destinations include:
• Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo
• Ft. Lauderdale from New York/Newark
• In and around California
• New York
• Las Vegas
United flies to Asia, the Americas, Europe, Oceania, and Africa. With all of their destinations, United would be able to serve many passengers on their flights. They would be able to provide a number of different options and because they offer more destinations than many other airlines, they would have more flight choices for passengers to choose from. United Airlines partners with a number of different airlines so that they are able to provide as many destinations as possible. They also continue to grow and their destinations are constantly changing and expanding.
United Airlines offers many of the customary in-flight services that are expected from passengers. Some of the details include:
• Dining: For economy flights, United offers a snack shop as well as an onboard bistro for their domestic flights. For international flights, they offer a complimentary meal. Often this is a three-course meal with a light snack and beverage options. They provide an option of beer, wine, and water. United also gives passengers the opportunity to order a special meal in advance for any dietary restrictions.
• Entertainment: There are a number of different options for entertainment on United Flights. Some of their planes offer personal devices. The passengers can use a personal device provided that it is already uploaded with a number of games, movies, and TV shows. Other planes offer screens on the back of the seats for passengers to view the entertainment options. And some of the United fleet has main screen entertainment. There is a screen at the front of the cabin for passengers to view the entertainment. The type of entertainment viewing option available for each flight can be found on the United website. They also offer magazines and packages of different DirecTV programs for purchase.
• Shopping: On international flights, United offers tax-free shopping for different items such as fragrances, cosmetics, and jewelry similar to many other airline shopping offers.
• Wi-Fi: United is in the process of making all of their planes have the option of Wi-Fi. Currently, 700 of their aircraft’s do offer in-flight Wi-Fi for purchase. The prices vary depending on the specific flight and are not posted to view without specific flight information. Wi-Fi is also not permitted to be used to make any video calls on flights.
United Airlines has been in business for 89 years. They have become one of the oldest airlines, opening their company on April 6, 1926. Since they opened they have been committed to becoming the airline that customers want to fly with. They are currently offering the following to become that airline:
• Most extensive network: United flies 150 customers every year on close to 5,800 flights
• Most flat-bed seats: United offers the most flat-bed seats of any airline
• More overhead space: Passengers enjoy 66% more room
• More leg room in economy: Economy seating on United enjoys extra leg room for their seat
United Airlines also recently received their 5th consecutive perfect score on leading LGBT Equality Index for the Best Places to Work.
United Airlines does not allow any checked baggage to be free for most of their flights. In comparison, a number of airlines do allow at least one piece of free checked baggage. A few international flights are free for one checked bag but generally the first checked bag costs $25, the second $35 or $100 for trans-Atlantic, and the third costs $150. Any additional baggage will cost $200 a piece. Additional baggage is also only accepted if the aircraft has room. While the cost is relatively low, it is still a cost while other airlines offer it for free.
The maximum exterior dimension (length + width + height) of standard checked baggage is 62 inches (158 cm), including handles and wheels. Having excess baggage weight or size will come at a fee to be determined by the specific weights and size of the baggage. However, there are restrictions including any baggage weighing over 100lbs will not be accepted (with the exception of assistive devices and musical instruments). Any baggage whose total outside dimensions are larger than 115 inches will not be accepted.
United Airlines flies close to 5,800 flights a year. When examining the daily flights that United flies to the most frequently, they did not have as high of performances when compared to other top airlines. Other airlines close to their size (such as Southwest and Delta) have slightly better statistics of daily flights than United does (as per Flightstats.com). Overall, United had roughly an 82% on time rate, a 7% late, 2% very late, 5% excessive and 1% of canceled flights according to Flightstats.com. Many other airlines have 0% canceled flights, unlike United. When looking at their most active routes, they received ratings lower than average for top airlines. Their top three routes include:
• Washington to San Francisco (3.5 stars, 91% on time)
• Los Angeles to Chicago (3.5 stars, 90% on time)
• Los Angeles to Houston (3.4 stars, 89% on time)
When compared to other airlines that have many high four-star ratings and some five-star ratings, United’s 3.5 stars are low. United’s most active routes are all domestic routes so it is hard to say how they compare with other airlines on international flights. Their lowest rated flight was the route of Houston to Newark with only 1.9 stars and 78% on-time according to Flightstats.com.
When traveling with luggage that needs to be checked with United Airlines, the cost of the checked baggage prices varies depending on a number of different factors. For example, the destination to which a flight is headed can mean a higher or lower checked baggage fee. The ticket type and seat selection can also vary the checked baggage price, as well as whether a passenger is flying as a United Airlines MileagePlus member or not. However, as a general rule, when flying within the United States on a United Airlines flight the first checked bag will cost customers twenty-five dollars. A second bag that needs to be checked will jump in price to thirty-five dollars. Size restrictions on checked luggage is standard and required at fifty pounds or less in weight and sixty-two inches or less in height. Any more luggage that needs to be checked beyond the first two bags, or any bags that surpass the height and weight restrictions will be subject to excess baggage charges that vary depending on flight destination and ticket type. United Airlines also allows passengers to travel with a carry-on bag as well as a personal item such as a purse, backpack, briefcase, or laptop. All luggage that needs to be checked in must be checked in advance at least thirty minutes before domestic flights, and ninety minutes prior to international flight departures. As a benefit to customers United Airlines does have options to check in baggage and to pay any needed checked baggage fees online or at kiosks prior to arriving at the airport to save on time and convenience. Compared to other airline companies, these checked baggage prices (although not the most competitive) are very similar to many other airline companies in the industry. United Airlines also provides insurance that checked baggage will make it to customer’s destinations safely.
Travel insurance is an important component when traveling with any airline. It is important to know what an airline offers in the event that things do not go as planned on the day of travel. United Airlines offers many different insurances on their travel procedures and they can all be found on their online website. One of the most important types of travel insurance is an airlines refund policy. United Airlines allows a twenty-four-hour time period after a ticket is purchased for cancellation or any ticket changes to occur without any consequential service fees. Any changes made to travel plans within that twenty-four-hour time frame can be made quickly and will be fully refunded in the form of the original payment. Changes or travel cancellations after that one-day time period are not eligible for refunds but may be credited for future travel with United Airlines. Of course, all changes (even credits for future travel) will be charged a service fee on top of the original purchasing price. In the event that a flight is delayed or canceled because of weather or mechanical issues, United Airlines insures their passengers that a full refund for purchased tickets is possible and all fees to change tickets will be waived as long as a refund request form is submitted. In addition, customers can request a refund if a medical emergency or immediate family death occurred and prevented a passenger from using a purchased ticket. For lost baggage insurance, United Airlines will provide a twenty-four -hour window wherein all reasonable out of pocket expenses will be compensated. A full refund for any fees charged to transport the lost bag will not be given until a bag is declared fully lost. As a benefit for traveling customers, United Airlines also has a twenty-four-hour customer assistance line that can be reached from anywhere in the world for any questions or concerns customers might need.
The rewards program through United Airlines is called MileagePlus. It is a very standard rewards program in that customers can become members of this rewards program for free and then begin earning points or miles towards future airfare purchases or other gifts and rewards that are available through the program. Some of the best benefits the MileagePlus program has to offer its members is the lack of blackout dates, which are not found on any United Airlines operating flights for program members. Flights through other airline companies are subject to blackout dates and the MileagePlus programs encourages customers to research this possibility prior to purchasing any airfare using awarded miles. Another benefit the program offers is the amount of gifts and awards that are available to choose with accrued reward points. This is possible because of the many partnering companies United Airlines has with their rewards program. Members can enjoy hotels, cars, other vacation deals such as cruises, or rail services. They are also able to enjoy many other everyday activities such as dining, shopping, home or auto and many more options that are available. As standard mileage points, however, the most common use of the rewards program is for future purchases of United Airlines airfare. Awarded miles can be used for this purpose although the MileagePlus rewards program does have quite a few specifications on how the awarded miles can be cashed in. For example, pooling of any kind for a higher number of reward points is prohibited. Members are allowed to buy or donate mile points for extra fees but this is monitored and pooling points in general is restricted. Another rule that is somewhat uncommon for airline rewards program is that MileagePlus reward points or miles can expire. Members should take note that acquired points will expire after eighteen months of non-activity on an account. In addition, not all flight seating is available for purchase through awarded miles and members must first find flights and seats that are eligible for reward purchasing before booking any airfare through the MileagePlus rewards program.