As I reflect on the past year, nothing makes me prouder than the people who work at United and their extraordinary commitment to doing the right thing for our valued customers. Every day, in ways large and small, their commitment to providing the best travel experience in aviation— as well as their commitment to helping each other—is why they truly are the greatest collection of airline professionals in the business.
At United, our shared purpose of “Connecting People. Uniting the World.” guides each decision we make. We are driven by the idea that if our employees are proud of our airline, they will create a best-in-class customer experience.
As one of my personal heroes, Winston Churchill, once said, “It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”
For us at United, ‘what is necessary’ is doing the right thing for you and your family when you choose to fly with us. It is for this reason we came through COVID-19 more focused than ever on doing the right thing— by delivering an excellent customer experience, planning appropriately to avoid operational disruptions, and taking robust steps to fight climate change. While there is more work ahead, you can count on us to lead the way.
Although there are countless stories of United employees doing the right thing for our customers, I want to share one from earlier this year that represents what United wants to be for everyone who boards one of our planes. This past September, SFO-based flight attendant Dorothy Gang, after landing from a long-haul international flight, approached what seemed to be a disheartened young customer named Kayla. Kayla, who is from the Mariana Islands, was unable to board her flight to Seoul, Korea, because she didn’t have the correct COVID-19 documents.
Dorothy’s commitment to caring for our customers didn’t stop at the end of her flight. She talked to Kayla and helped her get her paperwork in order, booked her a seat on the next flight out (which Dorothy just happened to be scheduled to work on), and ensured she had a hotel room for the night. Dorothy also invited Kayla to dinner, where she learned Kayla had just enlisted in the U.S. military and was headed to her assigned base in Korea. On the flight the next day, the pilots thanked Kayla personally for her service, and Dorothy’s fellow flight attendants made sure she had a comfortable flight. This story is just one example of the perseverance and professionalism that our employees have shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. And, while our business still has a way to go before we are fully recovered from this crisis, we announced this fall that every single one of our United employees would get a $1,000 check—a gesture of gratitude for their commitment to our customers and our airline. These are the people who have kept us flying during the pandemic, and who brought supplies and personnel to communities who needed them. They are a central reason why I could not be more excited about the future of this airline.
From everyone at United, have a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year. We are as grateful as ever for your business, and we look forward to serving you in 2022 and beyond.
CEO, United Airlines