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Entries in United Airlines (22)

Wednesday
May092012

United Airlines Lifts Ban on Pit Bulls, Other Breeds

Jessie Huart and her dog, Slaw, a pit bull mix. (Courtesy Jessie Huart)(NEW YORK) -- An online campaign to lift a ban on certain breeds of dogs on United Airlines has succeeded.  A total of nine breeds, including pit bulls, had previously been banished from the airline.

The banned breeds (and breed mixes) were pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, preso canario, perro de presa Canario, dogo Argentino, cane Corso, fila Brasileiro, Tosa (or Tosa Ken) and ca de bou.

The effort to lift the ban on the breeds began when Jessie Huart was making plans to move from Hawaii back to the mainland in December 2011. When she and her dog, Slaw, a pit bull mix, had moved to Hawaii, they flew on United. That was before United had adopted Continental’s Pet Safe  program as part of the carriers’ merger.

“I had heard great things about Pet Safe and was making plans to fly on Continental. But then I saw that pit bulls were on the banned breed list,” Huart said. She filled out an email form online and then made reservations on another airline. But in late January, she recounted the story to a friend who suggested she start a petition on Change.org, the same site that got Bank of America to lift its proposed debit card fees. She did, with the goal of getting 1,000 signatures.

Nearly 46,000 signatures later, Huart is “thrilled” the airline has changed its policy.

“As a result of feedback, United will now accept previously restricted breeds of dogs traveling in a nonplastic, reinforced crate meeting International Air Transport Association Container Requirement #82. All IATA Container Requirements can be found on IATA.org. Information on breeds and other policies can be found on united.com,” United Airlines said in a statement to ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Airlines Raise Fares: Four Ways to Beat Higher Prices

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Airlines raised fares last week for the third time this year.

The price hike, $4 to $10 on most round-trip flights, was led by United and quickly matched by many other carriers.  The lower fare hike applies to shorter routes, the higher to longer routes.

While not every fare hike sticks -- airlines tried to raise fares 22 times last year and succeeded only nine times -- there’s not much that can be done to keep airlines from trying.  They raise fares because they’re secure in their belief that people will still fly despite fare hikes.  But when faced with a plethora of unsold seats, airlines drop prices.

In the meantime, people still need to take their business trips, vacations and visit family and friends.  So, here are four strategies you can use to get the best possible airfare:

1. It’s not so much when you book as when you fly.

For as long as there have been travel experts sharing travel tips, you’ve heard that booking early is the key to getting a great deal.  A  recent study found the best time to buy is six weeks in advance.  And while booking as soon as you know your plans is important, how far in advance you book may not be as important as when you fly.  Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays tend to be the least-traveled days of the week and are therefore the cheapest days to book.  Even incorporating just one of these days into your flight plans brings down the cost of the trip.

2. Nearby airports are your friend.

Sometimes referred to as “alternate airports,” they are a reasonable drive from your preferred airport.  Now, reasonable means different things to different people, so know exactly how far the alternate airport is from your destination and the costs associated with getting there (gas for rental car, charter bus, public transportation, etc.).

3. Connections are almost always cheaper.

No one wants to hear it, but connecting flights are often far cheaper than direct flights.  Why?  Because they’re less desirable.  But proceed with caution here -- unless the money saved is significant, it may not be worth your while.  Every flight you add to your itinerary increases the odds of something going wrong -- delays, lost bags, etc.

4. Early-morning flights are often less expensive.


Again, this has to do with the desirability of the flight.  If it leaves at 6 a.m., you have to be there by 5 a.m. at the latest.  Say you’re a 45-minute drive from the airport, you need to leave home by 4 a.m. if you need time to park.  That means you’re up at 3:30 if it’s just you and far earlier if you have kids to get ready.  So a 6 a.m. flight very quickly becomes a 3 a.m. wake-up call.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb172012

United Airlines Policy Change Could Cost Pet Owners Thousands

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- On March 3, United Airlines and its subsidiaries will change the way they transport pets. And although the airline’s fees for transporting animals are in line with what other carriers charge, the change could end up costing pet owners thousands of dollars.

The change in policy means pets will now be transported as cargo rather than checked luggage. In certain countries, like Japan, it is required by law to pay a third party to ship cargo.  And that’s where the real cost lies: While the one-way fee for transporting your pet on United from Japan to the United States is about $300 for a 10- to 50-pound pet, per United’s website, the additional fee means the consumer will pay an additional $1,440 to  $3,869, according to Stars and Stripes, the newspaper of the U.S. military.

The additional shipping cost has the greatest impact on military pet owners who live overseas. United is a federal contract carrier.

United fees are based on the size of the pet and the destination, as are the third-party costs. United told ABC News it does not collect any additional money from the third party.

Shipping pets as cargo rather than checked luggage will lead to a better experience for pets, company spokeswoman Mary Ryan said, adding that pets will now have a dedicated staff and temperature-controlled vans instead of the inhospitable baggage compartment. The change is an adoption of an existing Continental Airlines program called PetSafe. United and Continental merged into one airline,  United, in October 2010.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Dec292011

New, Improved Labor Agreements for United Airlines Workers

Tim Boyle/Bloomberg via Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Aircraft mechanics and other related workers at United Airlines Thursday approved a new labor contract, which will include significant increases in wages and improved health care and job security protections, according to RTTNews.com.  

The contract will cover 5,500 aircraft employees nationally, and is seen as a key move toward developing a single contract that will cover the 9,000 Teamster mechanics under United Continental Holdings Inc.  United and Continental completed their merger in October 2010, but mechanics for both entities have ratified their own labor agreements separately.

According to RTTNews.com, Jim Keenan, senior vice president of Technical Operations for United Airlines said of the new contract's approval, "This is another important step  which benefits our co-workers and contributes to the future success of United. We now turn our attention to a joint agreement for all United and Continental mechanics, and are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to the company and fair to our employees."

One United mechanic and Teamsters member, Roger Apana, notes the new contract not only includes a $11,500 signing bonus, but also ensures "the best job protections we've had in our 70-year history," he told RTTNews.com.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul112011

United Frequent Flier Reaches 10M Miles, Gets His Name on a Jet

Tom Stuker, the first customer ever to fly 10 million miles with United Airlines, walks through Chicago O'Hare International Airport with United employees. PRNewsFoto/United Continental Holdings, Inc., Wayne Slezak(CHICAGO) -- Tom Stuker flies a lot. In 29 years, he has averaged nearly 29,000 miles in the air each month on United flights, having taken 5,962 trips with the airline.

And when Stuker got off the plane late Saturday at Chicago's O'Hare airport, he was greeted with much more than just a welcome-home kiss.

Returning from Los Angeles on business, the Windy City-based car sales consultant was met with a celebration for becoming the first United passenger to travel 10 million miles in flight -- equal to 20 round trips to the moon or circling the globe 400 times.

Stuker, 57, is the top member of the airline's Mileage Plus frequent flier program and has made more than 200 roundtrips to Australia, 30 to Asia and 70 to Hawaii. He's also landed at airports in all 50 U.S. states.

"They [United] really, really, really take care of you," Stuker told ABC News in 2009. "They'll have you rebooked, they'll meet you at the gate so you aren't panicking, and they will arrange for any and all means to get you to that flight. They'll personally escort you through security."

With this rare milestone under his belt, Stuker will now get free upgrades to first class when he flies with United and also gets one of the airline's jets named after him. Incidentally, Stuker's goal -- and his rewards -- represent the dream of the character George Clooney played in the drama Up in the Air.

"We are honored that Tom has chosen to fly with us for the past three decades," said Jeff Smisek, president and chief executive officer of United Continental Holdings, in a news release. "We deeply appreciate his loyalty to our airline and look forward to serving him as he flies his next 10 million miles."

Thanks to his frequent business trips, Stuker already does not have to suffer through the common annoyances of the average flier, such as airport lines, middle seats, waiting on hold when calling customer service and missed connections.

Instead, his air travels bring him complimentary cocktails, first name greetings and a hidden check-in process.

"It is total, total VIP," Stuker said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jun182011

United Airlines Resumes Service Following Computer Glitch

United Continental Airlines(CHICAGO) -- Officials from United Airlines said things were back up and running Saturday, after the airline experienced a computer glitch on Friday night that resulted in flights being grounded around the country.

“Our systems are up. We are in the process of resuming ops for UA. We again apologize for the disruption caused to our customers,” the airline tweeted early Saturday morning.

Passengers travelling with United Airlines on Friday night arrived at airports to find that their flights were either cancelled or delayed, as officials say the airline experienced a network connectivity issue around 7:15 p.m. CT.

In a press release issued Saturday morning, United Airlines said the problem was resolved around midnight, but officials still urged passengers to check their flight’s status online and arrive early at the airport.

“We encourage customers to print their boarding pass prior to arrival at the airport and give themselves extra time,” said Alexandria Marren, United Airlines senior vice president System Operations Control.

The airline says it has issued a waiver for travel plans impacted by the outage on Friday and Saturday, and that more information about the waiver could be found on the company’s website.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
May202011

United Airlines Removes Controversial Ad Near NYC Ground Zero

United Continental Airlines(NEW YORK) -- United Airlines Thursday removed an ad placed at the New York City Ground Zero site after the sign generated criticism citing insensitivity.  

The ad, which read, "You're going to like where we land," had been up at the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack since April as part of its rebranding after merging with Continental.  The company released an official statement about the advertisement:

"The ad has been replaced.  Our intent with the entire campaign was to let our customers know that we are bringing two great airlines together and unfortunately, the ad at this location did not deliver that message."

But New Yorkers found the ad placement (near the very spot United flight 175 hit the south tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11) to be inconsiderate.

The ad situated at the entrance of a New York subway station, was approved by the Metropolitan Transport Authority.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb232011

Airfares on the Rise...Again

Photo Courtesy - Matthew Peyton/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- You've seen gasoline prices skyrocket in the last couple of days and so have the airlines. 

Instability in oil-producing countries is driving up the cost of jet fuel and, as a result, airfares.  American Airlines led the pack on Monday with a $20 hike in business class tickets.  United, Continental and US Airways quickly followed suit.  Now Delta, the last holdout, has joined in, and the fare hikes are likely to stick. 

Many travelers hope with the warm weather of the summer comes lighter fares.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan172011

Delta, United Airlines Hike Domestic Fares

Photo Courtesy - Delta Airlines(NEW YORK) -- A proprietary airfare processing system used by FareCompare detected "significant domestic airfare hike activity" Monday afternoon from both Delta and United Airlines on the majority of their respective route systems, according to the airfare shopping website. 

Delta's domestic ticket prices increased by up to $20 roundtrip, while United raised domestic prices by up to $10 roundtrip.

FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney said "usually one airline leads out on a domestic hike with others deciding to match in the following 36 hours."  Seaney said Delta or United will have to adjust their hike to be in line with one another due to the recessionary competitive rule that says an airline's price hike can never be $1 more or less than their competitor's.

This fare hike is the second in 2011 and the fourth since mid-December 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec272010

Airlines Raise Fare Prices Amid Snowstorm, Rising Oil Costs

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As thousands of passengers were left stranded at airports along the East Coast during one of the worst travel disturbances of the year, United, Continental, American and Delta Airlines all raised ticket prices Monday, according to FareCompare.com.

According to the fare watcher website, United Airlines and Continental Airlines both added a $10 one-way ($20 roundtrip) "peak travel day" surcharge for many of their domestic flights for all future travel dates. 

Hours later American Airlines, added a $20 roundtrip airfare hike for much of its domestic route system.  Delta Airlines followed soon after.

FareCompare attributed the sudden increase in ticket prices to rising oil costs.  Monday marked a 26-month high for oil prices, consequently affecting jet fuel costs.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio