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United Airlines backs Archer Aviation

United Airlines has announced an agreement to work with air mobility company Archer to invest in emerging technologies that decarbonise air travel.

Archer’s electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft are designed to use electric motors and have the potential for future use as ‘air taxis’ in urban markets.

Under the terms of the agreement, United will contribute its expertise in airspace management to assist Archer with the development of battery-powered, short-haul aircraft.

United, together with Mesa Airlines, will acquire a fleet of up to 200 Archer eVTOL aircraft that would be operated by a partner and are expected to give passengers a quick, economical and low-carbon way to get to United’s hub airports and commute in dense urban environments ‘within the next five years’.

United was an early stage investor in Fulcrum BioEnergy and recently partnered with 1PointFive, a joint venture between Oxy Low Carbon Ventures and Rusheen Capital, to jumpstart the establishment of direct air capture and sequestration technology.

United CEO Scott Kirby said,

By working with Archer, United is showing the aviation industry that now is the time to embrace cleaner, more efficient modes of transportation. With the right technology, we can curb the impact aircraft have on the planet, but we have to identify the next generation of companies who will make this a reality early and find ways to help them get off the ground.

Archer’s eVTOL design, manufacturing model and engineering expertise has the clear potential to change how people commute within major metropolitan cities all over the world.

With today’s technology, Archer’s aircraft are designed to travel distances of up to 60 miles at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour and future models will be designed to travel further and faster.

Archer’s aircraft are capable of saving individuals time on their commute – United estimates that using Archer’s eVTOL aircraft could reduce CO2 emissions by 47% per passenger on a trip between Hollywood and Los Angeles International Airport, one of the initial cities where Archer plans to launch its fleet.


Led by co-founders and co-CEOs Brett Adcock (left) and Adam Goldstein (right), Archer’s mission is to advance the benefits of sustainable air mobility at scale.

Archer plans to unveil its full scale eVTOL aircraft in 2021, begin aircraft production in 2023, and launch consumer flights in 2024. To drive this fourth transportation revolution and transform how people approach everyday life, work and adventure, Archer has built a highly accomplished team of top engineering and design talent, with a collective 200+ years of eVTOL experience.

Brett Adcock, co-CEO and co-Founder of Archer said,

We couldn’t be happier to be working with an established global player like United. This deal represents so much more than just a commercial agreement for our aircraft, but rather the start of a relationship that we believe will accelerate our timeline to market as a result of United’s strategic guidance around FAA certification, operations and maintenance.

Adam Goldstein, co-CEO and co-Founder of Archer said,

The team at United share our vision of a more sustainable future. We’re working closely with their test pilots and environmental teams to make sustainable urban air mobility a reality far sooner than people could ever imagine.

United demonstrates its commitment to cleanliness

This week, Global Travel Management took a close look at the work currently being undertaken by United Airlines, to combat the pandemic and to ensure all passengers and staff are kept as safe as possible from infection.

Sales Director Paul Baker and Kelly Packington, Director of Operations, spent a day with the United team at London Heathrow and found out what the airline does to ensure Covid safety at every stage of a trip.


Kelly Packington (left) and Paul Baker spent a day at Heathrow discovering how United Airlines maintains Covid safety for all passengers flying from the airport

Terminal 2 at Heathrow has been, and continues to be, extensively cleaned. For example, touch points are cleaned and disinfected and tests are undertaken on a weekly basis to ensure the disinfectant maintains its effectiveness.

Before flying, United email passengers to remind them of the requirement to wear a face mask at the airport and onboard.

United require passengers to complete a “Ready to fly” checklist at check-in. This is done via an app on the passenger’s phone, so can be completed without being face-to-face with check-in staff.

United staff have temperature checks before starting work. And, social distancing is facilitated by floor decals and screens at check-in.

United passengers can check-in online or on their mobile app which generates a QR code. The code is then used to complete the check-in process in the terminal at a self-service check-in machine.

The check-in machine prints out a baggage tag (which the passenger attaches to their own bags). In this way, passengers require no human physical contact is required when checking-in, even when the passenger checks bags.

Security through the airport remains broadly the same as in pre-pandemic times. So, for example, passengers are still required to remove shoes and belts. But the entire area is thoroughly and completely disinfected and cleaned, to reduce further the chances of coming into contact with the virus.

Although Paul and Kelly didn’t experience the “normal” gate procedure, some more changes could be seen at the gate, including:

  • Disinfecting high-touch areas such as charging stations, counters and seats
  • Hand sanitizer stations
  • Passengers self-scan boarding passes
  • Fewer passengers are boarded at a time, allowing continued social distance up to the aircraft door
  • Boarding from the back of the plane, so passengers don’t have to pass already seated passengers

Onboard the plane – in this case, a Boeing 787-8, the “Dreamliner” – it’s clear the aircraft is cleaned, immaculately, throughout.

Paul Baker’s reaction to the experience is straightforward:

The Dreamliner is super, super clean; aircraft have never been so clean.

The cleanliness of the aircraft now takes precedence over everything else, for example the loading of catering and new blankets and amenity kits. All cabins and the toilets are afforded the same levels of cleaning disinfectant killing 99.97% of all germs.

Passengers are provided with hand sanitizer wipes. Masks are mandatory for passengers and cabin crew. Pillows and blankets are provided “on request”. And, on arrival, the aircraft is “de-planed” in groups of five rows at a time, to prevent unnecessary crowding.

If you have any questions about flying on United, or through Heathrow, please let your GTM Account Manager know.

Polaris & Premium Plus now on Heathrow – Chicago.

United Airlines has announced that Polaris, its new Business Class product, will now be available on its three daily flights between London Heathrow and Chicago O’Hare from November 15th.

The route its operated by B767-300ER aircraft, which United is retrofitting in a new premium-heavy configuration.

The planes will have 46 seats in Polaris, 22 seats in Premium Plus, the airline’s new Premium Economy product, which debuted earlier this year, as well as 47 seats in ‘Economy Plus’ and 52 seats in economy.

Passengers in Premium Plus get perks including checked bags, more spacious seats, “upgraded” dining, an amenity kit and Saks Fifth Avenue bedding.

Polaris seats, which launched in 2016, are in a 1-2-1 configuration and offer a fully-flat bed.

United has been updating its fleet of long-haul aircraft with the new Polaris cabin since 2016, and it is now available on all five of United’s daily services Heathrow Newark NJ, and, now, Chicago next month. Please check with your GTM Travel Consultant, prior to booking, if either, Polaris or Premium Plus, is available on your next flight.

Great news if you’re flying on United…

We are always looking to find ways to make our clients’ travel experiences the best they can be. 

And, thanks to our relationship with United Airlines, we can now offer Global Travel Management clients a free upgrade on their next trip.

If you’re planning a journey on United’s network in the next few weeks, here are two different ways we can add extra value to your trip.


The United Club lounge at London Heathrow is just one of the network of award-winning United lounges
  • First, if your flight ticket does not include access to a lounge, we can provide you with a free premium pass, giving you access to United’s award-winning lounges. United has a network of more than 50 United Club locations around the world. United Clubs are the perfect spot for United passengers to relax and recharge, featuring complimentary Wi-Fi, wellness rooms and specially-curated local food and beverage offerings.
  • Second, if your flight is in United’s economy class, we can provide you with a no-cost upgrade to United’s Economy Plus seating. United’s Economy Plus cabins offer you more legroom, more space and a more relaxing flight.  Stretch out with more room to work and relax, sit near the front of the cabin so you can exit the plane easier at your destination… and more! 

United’s Economy Plus seating offers more legroom and more space to work and relax

So, the next time you need to take a flight on United – or a flight with another carrier on a United route – call your GTM Account Manager. We can let you know if your trip qualifies for one – or both – of these free upgrades.

This opportunity is strictly limited to a small number of GTM clients booking United flights.  But, while the offer is still open, please contact your GTM Account Manager the next time you need to fly on a route served by United.  We can then let you know whether you can benefit from a free lounge pass or a free Premium Economy upgrade. 

UNITED AIRLINES APPLIES FOR SIX NEW ROUTES FROM HANEDA AIRPORT

United Airlines applies to serve Tokyo from six US airports

United Airlines has announced that it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for a total of six daily non-stop flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport from Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Guam’s A.B. Won Pat International Airport.

Pending completion of an aviation agreement between the U.S. and Japanese governments later this year, and slots awarded by DOT, the flights are expected to begin service by the summer of 2020.

United has presented a proposal maximised to meet consumer demand: the flights from five U.S. mainland hub cities and Guam will connect Tokyo Haneda with 112 U.S. airports, representing approximately two thirds of U.S.-Tokyo demand, or more than three million annual Tokyo bookings.

With United’s proposed routes representing five of the six largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. mainland and a combined population of nearly 56 million, the new flights requested in this proceeding will provide consumers with more choices and more convenient options when selecting Tokyo Haneda for their travel plans.

United President Scott Kirby said:

If awarded by the DOT, these new nonstop flights would expand United’s best-in-class Japan route network to better meet demand from U.S. consumers and businesses. Tokyo is a hub of 21st century global commerce and innovation. Our proposed flights to Tokyo Haneda will offer an unrivalled experience and maximise choice and convenience for our customers traveling between the United States and Tokyo for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

United’s proposed daily flights from Newark/New York, Los Angeles and Guam would supplement the airline’s existing daily flights between those hubs and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, while United would shift existing daily nonstop Chicago, Washington D.C. and Houston flights from Tokyo Narita to Tokyo Haneda.

In 2019, United is focusing more than ever on its commitment to its customers, looking at every aspect of its business to ensure that the carrier keeps customers’ best interests at the heart of its service. In addition to this announcement, United recently released a re-imagined version of the most downloaded app in the airline industry and made DIRECTV free for every passenger on 211 aircraft, offering more than 100 channels on seat back monitors on more than 30,000 seats. The multimillion-dollar investment in improving inflight entertainment options will benefit the more than 29 million people expected to fly United’s DIRECTV-enabled planes this year.