Policy priorities in Ethics and governance

United works closely with government officials at all levels (international, federal, state and local) and our extensive network of partners and stakeholders to advocate for policies and a regulatory environment that will enable our industry to safely and sustainably grow and contribute more to the economy.

Working with government and industry on shared challenges

Our industry has faced unprecedented challenges over the previous years.  The impacts of COVID-19 on our industry are pervasive – on our workforce, our operation, our economic recovery, and of course on our public health.  Despite these challenges, we remain focused on longer-term strategic priorities where United can lead and produce meaningful change. These priorities include:

  • Return to travel - promoting a healthy and safe return to travel and promoting a strong economic recovery
  • Reducing emissions - aggressively pursuing policies that can incentivize new technologies to promote the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions within aviation
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion – driving DEI within our airline, industry and beyond
  • Removing barriers - reducing regulatory and structural barriers to growth
  • Air Traffic Control - modernizing air traffic control infrastructure.

We are working hard to effect policy change to make aviation safer more efficient, profitable and sustainable. For example, we recognize the need for vaccination rates to increase globally and are proud to team up with the COVAX initiative and the U.S. government to transport vaccine doses from the U.S. to the world. For more information on the policies governing our engagement see our lobbying and political activity page.

Safely reuniting passengers with the skies

United remains committed to a healthy and safe return following the pandemic's effects on travel. We have gone above and beyond to ensure the healthiest and safest experience for customers and employees alike, leading the charge with:

  • Unparalleled efforts to prevent the spread of aerosolized particles among passengers and crew via airflow systems. United was the first airline to use auxiliary power to protect customers and crew using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems during boarding and deplaning.
  • COVID-19 vaccination support — United was the first airline to safely deliver Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine into the U.S. and was the first U.S. airline to mandate vaccines for all employees.
  • The highest standards for cleanliness, utilizing partnerships with Clorox and safety experts, as well as United CleanPlusSM.

Our new policies will promote a swifter, stronger economic recovery and will continue to elevate the industry's health and safety standards. For more information on health and safety at United, go to the safety pages of this report.

Sustainability policy

We acknowledge the role the aviation industry plays in contributing to climate change, and recognize the importance of making investments to decarbonize the industry. Our commitment to becoming 100% green by 2050 by reducing 100% of our greenhouse gas emissions without the use of traditional carbon offsets represents an ambitious step in the fight against climate change.

To achieve these goals, we are aggressively engaging policymakers to pursue policies that will help grow the supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and incentivize the development of new technology to remove carbon in the atmosphere and are working with academic and policy organizations to promote sustainability throughout the aviation and corporate sector. United’s public commitments to purchasing sustainable aviation fuel are more than any other airline globally. To date we are the only airline to announce a commitment to invest in direct air capture, a carbon removal technology. For more information on environmental sustainability at United, go to the sustainability pages of this report.

The role of public policy in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Following the events of 2020, United, like many other organizations, took a hard look at what we can do to address the renewed consciousness on race and injustice. We are determined to be a global leader in diversity, equity and inclusion and will continue to work to ensure that our people, policies and processes reflect the customers and communities we serve.

Driving diversity, equity and inclusion starts with our own operations but we believe it cannot stop there. By engaging beyond our own boundaries, with partners, governments and beyond, we can be a force for good. That means identifying key public policy issues in which to engage including promoting non-discrimination, providing greater access underrepresented to aviation careers, supporting diverse-owned businesses and supplies, and criminal justice reform.

In addition, we have also reviewed our existing government affairs community partners to ensure that they are aligned to our DEI priorities. For more information on our approach to DEI, go to the DEI pages of this report and go to our dedicated DEI site.

Regulatory priorities

We promote a regulatory framework that will allow the industry to come back from the pandemic stronger than ever, and play its part in the global economic recovery. Regulations that allow airlines to cost-effectively connect people safely and sustainably will be key to the ability of airlines to generate jobs, new routes and invest in new technologies.

We routinely engage with government agencies around the world to ensure they take the interests and needs of our customers, employees, business and the communities we serve into account when making legislative and regulatory decisions. United also partners with governments on legislative and regulatory activities aimed at improving safety and security, the environment and the welfare of our employees and our customers.

Modernizing air traffic control infrastructure

We continue to urge Congress and the Federal Aviation Administration to more quickly modernize the U.S. Air Traffic Control infrastructure to:

  • Improve safety
  • Decrease flight delays
  • Enhance customer service
  • Create jobs
  • Reduce fuel demand and harmful emissions.

While United continues to invest in new aircraft with advanced systems, training and new equipment, progress with government partners is critical to realizing the benefits of a modern air traffic control system. We continue to champion these issues with industry organizations including Airlines for America and the International Air Transport Association as well as government agencies.