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United AirlinesUnited Air Lines, Inc., operating as United Airlines, is a major U.S. airline owned by United Continental Holdings (originally UAL Corporation), headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.


It is the world's largest airline by number of destinations and scheduled passenger-kilometer flown. The airline was founded in 1926 as Varney Air Lines; it was renamed Boeing Air Transport in 1927 after it was acquired by aircraft manufacturer Boeing. United became an independent company in 1934, and merged with Capital Airlines in 1961. In 2011, it merged with Continental Airlines, replacing its own tulip logo with Continental's globe logo and its aircraft livery.

United is a founding member of the Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world, and offers connections to over 1,000 destinations in over 170 countries worldwide. United's largest hub is George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. The airline's regional service is United Express. As of October 2012, United employs 88,253 people, and is headed by Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Smisek.

United operates 705 aircraft, consisting of narrowbody Airbus A320 family, Boeing 737 Next Generation, and Boeing 757 aircraft as well as widebody Boeing 747, Boeing 767, 777, and 787 aircraft. It has single-aisle Boeing 737 Next Generation and 737 MAX aircraft, as well as the widebody Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, on order.

In 2007, United Airlines moved its headquarters and its 350 top executives from its headquarters at 1200 East Algonquin Road in suburban Elk Grove Township to 77 West Wacker Drive after considering alternate locations in Denver, Colorado and San Francisco, California. The Elk Grove Village campus was renamed an Operations Center and United Airlines consolidated several of its offices in the suburbs of Chicago into the Elk Grove Village campus.

After the City of Chicago submitted a US$35 million (2010) incentive, including US$10 million (2010) in grants for United to move its remaining employees to Chicago, United proceeded to schedule a move of about 2,500 employees out of the former Elk Grove Township headquarters and into Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in downtown Chicago. Monica Davey of The New York Times said that the move may have contributed to United's decision to base the newly merged United Continental Holdings out of Chicago instead of Houston. On May 31, 2012, United opened its new operations center at Willis Tower in downtown Chicago. The company occupies 16 floors of the Willis Tower. The company's mailing address is at O'Hare; P.O. Box 66100 Chicago, IL 60666.

United formerly owned a hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii, which was used by its flight crews and was sold in February 2012.

United had previously retired its entire Boeing 737 fleet; however, the airline reacquired Boeing 737 aircraft as a result of its merger with Continental Airlines.

On June 3, 2009, United announced they had submitted proposals to both Boeing and Airbus for an order of up to 150 new aircraft.

In December 2009, United announced it would split a 50-aircraft order between upcoming Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

On April 2, 2008, United Airlines temporarily withdrew its entire fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft until functional testing of the fire suppression system could be completed. The move was the latest in a series of temporary groundings by U.S. airlines in late March 2008 following a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) review of compliance with airworthiness directives. United has expressed interest in becoming the sole GoldCare maintenance, repair, and overhaul provider for the Boeing 787.

United received its first Boeing 787 aircraft on September 22, 2012 becoming the first U.S. carrier to do so. The airline has announced plans to place the Boeing 787 into scheduled passenger service effective November 4, 2012 on U.S. domestic routes from Houston (IAH) to Chicago (ORD), New York Newark (EWR),Washington-Dulles (IAD) and San Francisco (SFO) prior to operating the Dreamliner in scheduled international service.

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