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Each fall, United hosts employees and their family members at the airline’s annual Family Day event at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). This year, there were some very special guests in attendance, and I’m not just talking about the two soon-to-be-retired 747-400s that employees and their families were able to tour.
TPG was invited to bring 100 guests, so we opened the event up to readers and their guests through a Twitter giveaway.
The TPG Team Flies Polaris
Several of the AvGeekiest TPG team members had a chance to join us well, and six of us even got to fly out in Polaris business on United’s 777-300ER. Our one-way tickets cost just $158 each, thanks to my Premier 1K Regional Premier Upgrades and loads of upgrade availability.
We rented this Tesla Model X on Turo and drove down the coast to Santa Cruz on Saturday — since we didn’t have to pay for gas, the 24-hour rental came to less than $270, including taxes, fees and insurance.
But as much fun as we had with our Polaris flight and Tesla road trip adventure, there was no beating what was to come on Sunday morning…
United Family Day
The event kicked off at 10:00am, with breakfast and a briefing from MileagePlus and representatives of United’s Technical Operations (maintenance) team at SFO.
Then, the group had about 15 minutes to explore the ramp before 18,000 United employees and their guests arrived. TPG readers used this time to head to one of the two 747s.
They also had a few minutes of exclusive access to the “Friend Ship” — most headed right up to the upper deck for some final cockpit pics.
TPG’s first stop was seat 1A in the 747’s nose, but we made it upstairs for a few farewell shots as well.
I shared some photos in the TPG Lounge Facebook group immediately follow the event. If you’re a member, you can catch them here — otherwise, you can request to join to ask your points and miles questions, participate in giveaways and chat with TPG staffers and your fellow readers.
I also shared a tour of the grounds via Facebook Live — unfortunately connectivity was an issue, so the feed cut out after a few minutes.
TPG contributor Patrick Fallon was on hand to capture some incredible photos, including those shared over at the TPG Lounge and in this post.
The 747 was the star of the show, but there was plenty more to see and do. Including a visit to United’s super-cool 777 BBQ grill, with tail number N1BBQ.
Inside one of the hangars, attendees could check out a 737-800 and 757-200, both of which were mounted for gear swing demonstrations.
There were also plenty of static exhibits, including a shop tour, where attendees could check out a Dreamliner engine.
While another display included more than a dozen United pilot and flight attendant uniforms, spanning several decades. I had no idea that there we special uniforms just for flight attendants working in first class, or on flights to Hawaii, for example.
TPG even had a special opportunity to address the crowd…
…where he shared a farewell poem from TPG reader Eric Forti with the event’s 18,000 guests.
It was such an honor to get to join employees and families at this exclusive event — for most in attendance, this was the very last opportunity to tour a United 747 before the plane is pulled from service in just under a month.
There are still a few opportunities to get onboard, though — United will be flying the plane to several of its US hubs for employee visits beginning later this week. And, on November 7, the airline’s Queen of the Skies will fly passengers one final time, reenacting the first United 747 flight from San Francisco to Honolulu.
Unfortunately tickets sold out in less than an hour, but United is auctioning off two economy packages — both are currently priced at 256,000 miles, with just under eight days remaining. TPG’s Nick Ellis and I managed to snag two revenue tickets, and we’ll be covering the final flight, so if you’re onboard, please swing by to say hello!
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