United Airlines Credit Cards
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United Airlines is ranked among the four largest airlines in the United States. The airline has its origins in a partnership between United Aircraft and Transport Corporation in 1931. Due to the partnership the company announced to the world that they were the World's largest air transport carrier. Following the stipulation of the Air Mail Act of 1934 that mandated the breakup of all aviation holding companies United Aircraft and Transport Corporation split into Boeing, United Aircraft, and United Air Lines. When this split occurred United Airlines had been already offering services all around the country from New York to San Francisco and Los Angeles (with major stops in Salt Lake City, Omaha, Chicago, and Cleveland).
Just as other existing airlines at the time United assisted during World War II transporting over 200,000 tons of cargo including men and supplies. They also clocked over 21 million miles on their Douglas DC-3 and Boeing 247 aircrafts. Following the war the airline set about achieving their goal of dominating the coast to coast routes in the U.S.
Although one year later than its competitors with the introduction of pressurized cabins the airline was able to add its first 10 hour coast to coast flight in 1947 carrying 52 passengers on its daytime flights and 24 passengers sleeper style during nighttime flights.
A fatal crash in 1947 that forced the grounding of all DC-6 aircrafts had a severe impact on the airline's profits. Later on in that year the business picked up again when Western Airlines sold an important route to United making it possible for them to begin service in New York-Chicago-Los Angeles routes. They continued to use a mixed fleet of Douglas DC-6B, DC-7, and Convair CV-240 aircrafts well into the 1950s.
Over the years United forged some mergers some successful some not so much. The merger with the Mexican airline Lineas Aereas Mineras S. A. (LAMSA) only brought losses so it was later sold to investors in 1952. Catalina Air Transport was added in 1946 as an acquisition and Capital Airlines was purchased in 1961. This was known as the biggest merger in the aviation industry at the time and it meant that United Airlines could now serve 116 cities with their fleet of 267 aircraft.
Although United was later than its competitors with the introduction of jet services it became one of the few U.S. based companies to purchase foreign jets, the French Sud-Aviation SE.210 Caravelle designed specifically for shorter routes.
Under the direction of Bill Patterson during the years 1933 and 1963 United held firm as the carrier with the highest number of passenger-miles coming out ahead of competitors like American, Eastern, and TWA. It remained a major force in the industry all through the 1970s although the deregulation Act of 1978 had a major impact on the airline. It was forced to cut back on its less profitable routes removing destinations such as Chattanooga, Tennessee and Bakersfield and California but continued to focus and build in major cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, and Tokyo.
In addition to placing their focus on these hubs United sought to expand in areas such as computerized reservation systems, hotel chains, and rental car companies. The also expanded their destinations with the entry into the Pacific, Australians and European markets with a new fleet of Boeing 747-400 jumbo jets. They capitalized on the demise of Pan American Airlines by purchasing Pan Am's Heathrow Airport hub in London in 1991 and picked up their Latin American routes later that year making them a renowned international airline based in the U.S.
Rising costs of fuel in 1992 along with high interest rates and a recession forced the sale of some of its travel subsidiaries. They also had to cancel orders made previously for new aircrafts. Coming out of this dark period better than their competitors United was left standing as one of the big three in the United States.
A merger with Continental airlines in 2010 would put the merged airlines as world's largest airline in revenue passenger miles and second largest in fleet size and destinations following just behind Delta Air Lines.
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