5 Things You Might Not Know About United Airlines

by Anthony Losanno
United Plane

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United Airlines is one of the most recognizable and biggest airlines in the world. With a history that dates back over 90 years, United has become a travel staple. Here are five things that you might not know about United Airlines:

MileagePlus 40th

5. United was the First Airline to Introduce a Loyalty Program

In 1972, United Airlines became the first airline to introduce a loyalty program for its frequent flyers. The program, called MileagePlus, was created by Western Direct Marketing. It sent marketing materials and plaques commemorating achievements to members. The modern program started in 1981 (a few days after American Airlines launched its AAdvantage program). Today, MileagePlus allows customers to earn and redeem points for flights, hotel stays, car rentals, and more. MileagePlus has over 100 million members and is one of the most successful loyalty programs in the airline industry.

Ellen Church

4. The First Female Flight Attendant was a United Airlines Employee

Ellen Church became the first female flight attendant. Church was a trained nurse and pilot, but women were not allowed to be commercial pilots in the 1930s. Being a flight attendant was one of the few occupations that women could hold. Because of her suggestion that nurses be used in flight for safety and service, Boeing Airlines ( which would later become United Airlines) began hiring female flight attendants. (The photo above is from Owlcation.)

United Flight Simulator

3. United was the First Commercial Airline With Flight Simulators

United began training commercial pilots with flight simulators back in 1954. These simulators had sound, visual, and motion cues. They were purchased for $3 million from Curtiss-Wright.

United Chef

2. United Airlines Developed the First Commercial Flight Kitchen

These days, United is not known for its cuisine. But, the airline was the first to develop a commercial flight kitchen. In 1936, United was the first airline to offer inflight meals. Passengers had a choice of entrée, with fried chicken or scrambled eggs as the options. (Photo above from Food Network.)

United Crash

1. United was Involved in One of the Most Famous Aviation Accidents in History

In 1989, United Flight 232 crashed in Sioux City, Iowa, after an engine failure caused the plane to lose hydraulic pressure. Despite the severity of the crash, 184 of the 296 passengers and crew survived, thanks in large part to the efforts of the pilots and flight crew. The crash and subsequent investigation led to numerous safety improvements in the airline industry. (Photo above taken from Wikipedia.)

Anthony’s Take: United Airlines has a rich history of firsts in commercial aviation. It currently has a strong commitment to sustainability, diversity, and innovation, which makes United remain a leader in the airline industry.

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TULFlyer April 17, 2023 - 7:07 am

Wrong on #3…American Airlines maintenance base in Tulsa employs more people

Frankfurt Airport Lufthansa
Anthony Losanno April 17, 2023 - 1:41 pm

Thank you for the correction. I added another fact instead.


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