United Airlines is one of the oldest airline company in the United States of America. It was founded in 1926 under the name “Boeing Air Transport”. At first, the airline served as an airmail carrier flying from New York to San Francisco via Chicago and Salt Lake City. In 1930, the company started carrying passengers. That was also when the world’s first stewardesses were put into service. The first female flight attendant was a nurse named Ellen Church. During the Second World War, United Airlines employees served in the armed forces, piloting bombers, transporting mail, and taking part in various battles.
In 1962, upon its merger with Capital Airlines, the company became the world’s second-largest air carrier, being exceeded only by Aeroflot. However, it wasn’t until 1983 that United Airlines operated its first international flight – from Portland and Seattle to Tokyo. In 1991, due to financial difficulties of Pan American World Airways, United Airlines decided to purchase its routes between the States and London Heathrow. After the bankruptcy of Pan Am, its Pacific route system was also acquired by United.
In 1988, United Airlines and four other carriers (Air Canada, Lufthansa, SAS, and Thai Airways International) co-founded the Star Alliance airline partnership.
In the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Al-Qaeda members hijacked two United Airlines airliners. Boeing 767-200ER crashed into the south tower while Boeing 757 – near Pennsylvania. As a result, the company reported a financial loss of nearly 2.1 billion dollars. However, thanks to the support of the U.S. government, it quickly returned to financial balance.
In 2010, United merged with Continental – both airlines continued to operate as subsidiaries of the newly created United Continental Holdings with the fleet of 692 aircraft and 370 airports in 59 countries served. All the flights were rebranded as United Airlines. In March 2012, Federal Aviation Administration approved the merger, so the two airlines are becoming one under a single operating license.