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’Tis the Season

Offering an unforgettable journey to kids in need

DURING THIS SEASON OF GIVING, you’ve likely spent days—weeks, even!—thinking about spreading cheer. This month, putting smiles on the faces of hundreds of special kids and their families is top of mind for United co-workers around the world.

United’s annual Fantasy Flight events take children with economic hardships, special needs or serious, sometimes life-threatening illnesses to visit Santa and his elves, while also helping lift the spirits of family members who join them for the trip. The care and attention that employee volunteers put into these events enable the children and their families to be transported to a fairy-tale setting and, for just a little while, think only about joy and wonder.

Fantasy Flight volunteers prepare all year, coordinating with area hospitals, shelters and schools to connect with children for the events. United co-workers oversee all the details of the day, from when the kids check in at the airport to when they arrive at the North Pole.

For more than two decades, United has teamed up with airport partners and nonprofit providers to offer children a North Pole visit they will never forget. And for the grownups who tag along, seeing the joy on their youngsters’ faces is an equally unforgettable gift.


With Captain Mike Bowers

Q: When an aircraft is taxiing, is the forward motion driven by just the engines, or is some of the power directed to the wheels?

A: The aircraft engines are the only source of movement while taxiing. We vary the engine power and use brakes to modulate our speed. When departing the gate, we utilize tugs to push us away from the terminals so that we can start our engines. One of the advantages to using the aircraft engines for taxiing is that we do not apply any power directly to the wheels; this results in greater traction. The engines pull the aircraft forward and the wheels simply roll freely in response.

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

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