United celebrates 25 years of Newark as a hub

Call it a win for nostalgia, as well as an opportunity for the company to throw a little party and let their employees celebrate: United Airlines is celebrating 25 years of hub operations at Newark this year and today was the main event. The party today also included an unveiling of the new uniforms for the airline. In addition to inviting many employees and media types in to celebrate the company also invited a few dozen customers to the event. Not surprisingly, I made sure I was on the list to attend.

There were a few “typical” moments at the party, including speeches by the CEO and local elected officials. I’d say more than a typical number of senior employees were at the event and they were quite willing to chat with the invited guests. There were also some very cool things available, such as a rather impressive display of memorabilia from the past 25 years or so on both the Continental and United side of operations. For me that was probably the highlight.

Old-school paper tickets

70s-era safety cards

Note the smoking/non-smoking designation on the old ticket jackets

The party involved the unveiling of the new uniforms for the crew. They will go into service on June 25, 2013. They ran a fashion show on the stage; I only saw it from afar so the photos I got aren’t the best.

The new United uniforms

The new United uniforms

There were also a few games/contests going on. One involved tossing a balsa airplane as far as possible. Making it to the orange cards got a $25 voucher; making the red earnt 25,000 MileagePlus points. I don’t know that anyone made the red but several made the orange.

Balsa plane toss

The birthday cake was from Cake Boss in Hoboken. He got more applause than anyone else at the event, including Smisek.

Cake Boss got more applause than everyone else

There was also a follow-up event where a number of 1K and GS elites from the area were invited to attend. Most of the executives hung out for a bit. During our 30 seconds with Smisek he mentioned that the final two 787s will be finished with the repairs this week (the other four are already completed) and that he’s very much looking forward to the A350s joining the fleet, among other things.

The meatball

Does this run SHARES??

All in all, an interesting few hours of my day. Nothing incredibly revealing or revolutionary but decently fun.

A few more photos here.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Love the shot of the old seats. Grew up flying those. Once that last 777 got its lie flat no more of the next gen ‘sunset’ seats in the fleet.

    Someone else posted photos of the memorabilia exhibits…some of the set ups looked like a 4th graders school fair project. But nice they brought out the minutiae none the less.

  2. Looks like a fun event! Funny how they say United has been there 25 years when it was really more like 23 years of Continental and 2 of United… but who’s counting.

  3. The new uniforms are a BIG step up from what employees are currently forced to wear. The old Continental uniforms were really terrible… I love the air berlin stewardesses’ black leather gloves…

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