Touchdown gear within the kitchen? Touring United’s renovated Chicago headquarters within the Willis Tower

United Airways is exclusive among the many Large 3 U.S. carriers in that its headquarters aren’t adjoining to a serious hub airport.

American Airways’ Skyview campus is beneath the ultimate strategy to runways 36L and 36R on the Dallas/Fort Price Worldwide Airport (DFW), whereas Delta Air Traces’ headquarters is steps away from the final aviation space on the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Worldwide Airport (ATL).

Nevertheless, United’s headquarters aren’t in a sprawling campus positioned exterior of the town.

As a substitute, the airline’s campus is in one in all Chicago’s most iconic buildings, the Willis Tower (previously the Sears Tower), which is about 20 miles from the airline’s hub on the Chicago O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD).

On day, a journey from O’Hare to United’s downtown Chicago headquarters would possibly take half-hour. (On a nasty day, it would really feel such as you’re simply sitting in a parking zone for properly over an hour.)


Whereas United’s headquarters is probably not adjoining to the airport, it nonetheless sports activities an aviation-themed design that’s positive to impress even essentially the most informal airline fanatic.

For one, coming into the constructing would possibly really feel such as you’re about to board a flight — strict safety measures on the Willis Tower imply that each one guests and their baggage are screened by metallic detectors and X-ray machines.

Nevertheless, when you get upstairs, it looks like one of many swankiest United Golf equipment within the nation.

Whereas United occupies round 14 flooring of the Willis Tower, solely flooring 4 and 5 are up to date to the brand new branding that’ll quickly roll out all through the ability.

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After exiting the elevator on the fourth ground, it’s possible you’ll need to search for. You’ll discover the phrase “United” in large block letters on the ceiling. (Curiously, these letters have been as soon as displayed at United’s Los Angeles hangar, earlier than being repurposed for show at Willis Tower.)


From there, you’ll enter the co-working and cafe area on the fourth ground.


Inside, it feels such as you’ve entered a trendy airport lounge. From recliners and bar stools to two-top eating tables and particular person workstations, there’s loads of room to make amends for some work or meet with a colleague.


There’s a whole sustainability-themed workspace that’s decked out in pure wooden tones with blue accent chairs and a convention desk within the middle of the room.

The kitchen doesn’t have a lot in the best way of free snacks, but it surely does have a desk with an Airbus A320 nostril touchdown gear constructed into it. Even with out free nosh, I’d take this over an everyday airline lounge any day of the week.


Additionally, the cafe’s menu is closely backed by United. An 8-ounce cappuccino prices simply $2.13 and a 16-ounce common espresso is simply $1.65.


Close to the kitchen is an inside wall adorned with a chunk of plane fuselage with the home windows intact. Opening the home windows reveals cloud landscapes designed to encourage artistic pondering.


The massive media wall lining the doorway to the fourth-floor area rotates by means of completely different inner firm messaging, starting from real-time stats concerning the airline’s operation to notable United media mentions.


Different fourth-floor areas embrace a cafeteria-style eating room, which sports activities a wide range of seating choices and a show of United hub airport codes. (Are you able to determine which one is lacking?)

There’s additionally a library space, which options couches and different snug seating, in addition to retro posters representing United’s hub cities.

The fifth ground has additionally been renovated to the brand new workplace customary. Right here you’ll discover extra seating choices, in addition to some extra AvGeek goodies.

The show case of United airplane fashions contains maybe essentially the most iconic jet within the airline’s historic fleet, the Boeing 747-400, in addition to one which United says is because of be part of the fleet within the coming years: a Growth Supersonic mannequin.

Maybe essentially the most photogenic space is the Boeing 737 engine cutout that juts out of the wing panorama painted on the wall.

This design just lately helped United earn a spot on the annual Crain’s record of coolest workplaces in Chicago, and it was an amazing spot to snap a TPG aviation workforce image.

Potential workers can even get a style of the brand new workplace design within the interview suite.

There’s loads of United branding lining the partitions of the interview suite, and the assembly rooms right here have posters for every of the airline’s hubs and overhead lights formed like an engine cowling.


Different flooring in United’s workplaces will quickly be up to date to the brand new look, but it surely’ll possible take a while for the total rollout to be full.


Whereas the remainder of TPG’s conferences have been off the document, we did get a peek inside one other space that’s present process some large modifications. The NOC, or community operations middle, is presently positioned on the twenty seventh ground of the Willis Tower.

Whereas this has traditionally been dwelling to the management middle for the whole thing of the airline’s operation, United is within the strategy of shifting this setup and about 900 mission-critical workers to suburban Arlington Heights.

The brand new NOC provides a number of key benefits over the prevailing area. For one, it is linked to 2 backup energy mills and its suburban location has a low-key profile ought to something intervene with entry to the Willis Tower. Moreover, the area is bigger and has extra room for growth ought to United want it.


Till the transfer is full, workers who work on the NOC are break up between workplaces. Others proceed to do business from home as a result of pandemic.

Images have been usually off-limits within the NOC, but it surely was fascinating to satisfy with a handful of United workers working up right here.


Maybe most fascinating have been the 2 girls answerable for overseeing communications for delayed and canceled flights. They have been going by means of every affected flight and sending out well timed textual content and e mail updates with up to date flight standing and knowledge.

So, the following time you obtain a message from United saying that “your flight’s been delayed as a consequence of air site visitors management delays affecting the Northeast,” now you realize the workforce who composed it.

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