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A High-Flying Salute

Honoring those who have served

Author Julia Wislocka


United celebrated Veterans Day with a special honor for nearly 100 of its employees who have served in the armed forces. The company invited the employees to participate in a ceremonial delivery flight as a thank you for their service and sacrifice. The employees took delivery of the newest addition to United’s fleet, a Boeing 737-900ER, and boarded the plane for its honorary first flight from Boeing Field in Seattle to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. In addition to the passengers on board, the entire cockpit and inflight crews on the commemorative flight had also served in the military.

“Most veterans don’t really talk about what a big deal their service was in their life, but they deserve to be honored and respected for it,” says Chicago-based first officer John Nitz, who served as an aircraft mechanic in the U.S. Air Force. “I am very happy to be a part of this event, and in my 16 years with the company, I have never been this proud.”

United is continuing its efforts to build richer employee and customer relationships through partnerships with organizations that are committed to improving the lives of veterans, active service members, and their families. Many customers have expressed a desire to be part of these opportunities to give back. You can do so by donating miles to Hero Miles, a Fisher House Foundation program through which United MileagePlus members donate miles to provide free flights to the families of wounded, injured, and ill service members during medical emergencies.

“Our employees are the key ingredient to our success, and we are honored to have thousands of men and women throughout our company who served, or are currently serving, in the armed forces,” says Mike Ellis, United’s senior vice president of Human Resources and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. “The pride and professionalism they bring to the job every day are profound.

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