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Above and Beyond

“She solved the problem while manning the boarding door of the plane.”

“Incredibly helpful in navigating all of the new MileagePlus program changes and reinvigorated my United love.”

“Grace helped make my mother’s trip enjoyable and stress-free.”

Whether they’re singing the praises of a multitasking gate agent, a helpful reservations agent or a hospitable flight attendant, United customers are letting us know how they define great service.

Through United’s new Outperform Recognition Program, eligible Mileage-Plus members may use United’s iPhone and Android apps to submit comments on exemplary service from specific employees at any point in their travel experience with United and United Express.

Eligible nominated employees could win prizes from $2,500 to $50,000, while the MileagePlus members who cast the winning nominations could also win — from 10,000 miles to two roundtrip tickets. The company will choose 16 nominations by random drawing for each nomination period.

“We’re committed to recognizing and rewarding our co-workers when they do an excellent job for our customers,” says Jeff Smisek, United president and CEO.

The current nomination period runs from June 1 through Sept. 30. The company expects to give away $125,000 to winning employees each quarter for as long as the program is in effect.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY to enter the sweepstakes. A purchase does not increase your chances of winning. Open only to legal residents of countries served by United Airlines excluding countries only served by codeshare partners, who are MileagePlus® members and who, as of 5/31/12, are 18 years of age or the age of majority in their primary jurisdiction of residence and have access to an unlimited data plan Web-enabled iOS or Android device (or otherwise have free Internet access to such device). Void where indicated in the Official Rules and where prohibited or restricted by law. Employee portion of sweepstakes is open only to eligible employees of United Air Lines, Inc., or any affiliate of United, including, but not limited to, Continental Airlines, Inc.; Continental Micronesia, Inc.; Mileage Plus Holdings, LLC; and United Express carriers performing services in support of United Express or United operations. “The Outperform Recognition Program” sweepstakes starts at 5:00 a.m. GMT on 6/1/12 and ends at 4:59 p.m. GMT on 9/30/12. Sponsored by United Air Lines, Inc. Subject to Official Rules, and complete employee eligibility, available at www.united.com/outperform.

With Captain Mike Bowers

Q: When listening to flight deck communications, I’ve heard air traffic controllers tell the pilot before landing to descend “at pilot discretion.” Why let the pilot decide when to comply?
A: Air traffic controllers are primarily responsible for maintaining separation between aircraft, and issue instructions to pilots to ensure that planes remain a safe distance apart. Because it is normally more efficient to fly at higher altitudes, we prefer to stay as high as we can until we need to descend for landing. If there are no aircraft below us as we approach the airport, the controller will not restrict when we choose to start our descent. That enables us begin our descent when it’s optimal for both fuel efficiency and customer comfort.

Do you have a question for Captain Bowers? Write him at askthepilot@united.com.

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