In 1957 United became the first airline to
equip its entire fleet with airborne radar.
Star Alliance Is Founded
In 1937 United’s “flying laboratory” allowed researchers to test and develop a number of flight-improving technologies in the environment of an airplane. United was the first airline to use electronic flight simulators and computers to plan a flight path.
Airborne Radar Comes Aboard
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In 1936 United became a major innovator in inflight dining by creating the first flight kitchen in Oakland, California. Passengers could now enjoy hot meals prepared with special attention to the effects of altitude on the taste of food. First meals served included a choice of fried chicken or scrambled eggs.
Leon Cuddeback pilots United’s first flight from Pasco, Washington, to Boise, Idaho, in a Swallow aircraft the morning of April 6, 1926.
Pilot Marlon DeWitt Green
Commercial Aviation’s First Flight Kitchen
In late February 2016, United’s first Boeing 727, on its way to its permanent home at Boeing’s Museum of Flight, stood side-by-side with United’s newest aircraft, a Boeing 787-9.
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Walter T. Varney starts Varney Air Lines in 1926 and Varney Speed Lines in 1934, airlines that would eventually become United Airlines and Continental Airlines.
Women in the Aviation Industry
In 1984 United became the first airline to fly to all 50 U.S. states with the addition of new routes from Wyoming and Mississippi.
Introducing a Progressive
Continental was the first airline to institute
a progressive maintenance program in 1959 enabling the airline to fly its 707 fleet 7 days a week, 16 hours a day.
United's Boeing 727's Final Flight
In 1957 Mainliner became the world’s first inflight magazine published for a single airline.
Flying “Peanut One”
Continental introduced live television to the airline industry. In the 707’s inflight lounge passengers could watch live TV while flying over major metropolitan areas.
United’s First Flight
Male flight attendants began working for United in 1950 on flights between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii. The late U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye called his home state “the state that United built.”
F I R S T S I N A V I A T I O N
During World War II women began working in many aspects of the aviation industry in large numbers.
First Inflight Magazine
All 50 States
In 1930 at Ellen Church’s suggestion, United pioneered the notion of female flight attendants creating a new profession for women. Including Church, all 8 of the first flight attendants were registered nurses.
United Boeing 247s flew the same route on the Main Line that settlers followed to the West. The 247 could cross North America in a single night and was the first modern airliner.
In the late 1960’s Continental was granted a five-year contract to serve the trust territory of the Pacific Island, also known as Micronesia. The inaugural flight took off from Saipan to Honolulu on May 16, 1968.
Flights to the Pacific
In 1963, Marlon DeWitt Green won a landmark legal battle to become the first African-American pilot hired by a regularly scheduled commercial passenger airline.
From our first voyage in the Swallow to the first North American airline to fly the Dreamliner, we’re celebrating our birthday by looking back on our 90 years of "firsts" in the aviation industry.
Fly through time
In 1955 United became the first U.S. airline to order jetliners with an order for 30 DC-8s. United acquired Capital Airlines, another early operator of jets, in 1961.
On March 11, 2016, United became the first
U.S. airline to begin use of commercial-scale biofuel when the Eco-Skies Boeing 737 departed LAX.
TV in the Sky
Male Flight Attendants Take to the Skies
United Airlines Is Born
Even after the introduction of Air Force One, decades of office seekers took to the campaign trail on scheduled flights or leased planes. “Peanut One” was one of them, used by not-yet President Jimmy Carter on the campaign trail in 1976.
In 1997, United, Lufthansa, Air Canada, SAS and Thai International founded Star Alliance, the
first truly global airline alliance.
Biofuels Take Flight at LAX
In 2012 United became the first North American airline to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. On November 4th the Dreamliner’s maiden voyage flew passengers from Houston to Chicago.
In 1995, United was the first airline to introduce the 777, Boeing’s first “fly by wire” aircraft. United and Boeing collaborated to an unprecedented degree to develop the airplane.
From aviation pioneers like Amelia Earhart
to Hollywood celebrities, those who grabbed headlines on the front pages of newspapers around the world flew United.
Female Flight Attendants Take to the Skies