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United Air Lines, Inc., (NYSE: UAL) is a major airline based in the United States and one of the world's largest airlines with 48,000 employees[11] and 359 aircraft.[12] It is a subsidiary of United Continental Holdings, Inc. formerly, UAL Corporation, with corporate offices in Chicago. United's current largest hub is Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. United also has hubs in Washington Dulles International Airport, Denver International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport and Narita International Airport near Tokyo.[13] United is a founding member of the Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance in the world, and offers connections to over 1,000 destinations in over 170 countries worldwide.[14]
On Sunday, May 2, 2010, the Boards of Directors at Continental Airlines and UAL Corp. approved a stock-swap deal that would combine them into the world's largest airline in revenue passenger miles and second largest in fleet size and destinations after Delta Air Lines. The new airline will take on the United Airlines name, Continental's logo and be based in United's hometown of Chicago. Once combined, United's largest hub will be in Houston.[15] It will also be the largest carrier serving the New York City area via its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport. The combined airline will also operate smaller hubs in Cleveland and Guam. The parent company of the new carrier will be called United Continental Holdings, Inc. The new United will be run by Continental's CEO, Jeffery Smisek, along with United Airline's CEO, Glenn Tilton, serving as non-executive Chairman of the board until his retirement two years hence. United's pilots union announced that they "are fully prepared to protect and defend the interests of all United pilots."[16]
On August 27, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice approved the US$3 billion merger.[17] Share holders of both companies approved the deal on September 17, 2010. The transaction was completed on October 1, 2010.[18]

United Airlines traces its claim to be the oldest commercial airline in the United States to the Varney Air Lines air mail service of Walter Varney, who also founded Continental Airlines. It was founded in Boise, Idaho. Varney's chief pilot, Leon D. "Lee" Cuddeback, flew the first Contract Air Mail flight in a Swallow biplane from Varney's headquarters in Boise, Idaho, to the railroad mail hub at Pasco, Washington, on May 17, 1926, and returned the following day with 200 pounds of mail.[19] May 17 is regarded in the United Airlines company history as both its own birthday[20] and the date on which "true" airline service—operating on fixed routes and fixed schedules—began in the United States. Varney Airlines' original 1925 hangar served as a portion of the terminal building for the Boise Airport until 2003, when the structure was replaced.
In 1927, airplane pioneer William Boeing founded his own airline, Boeing Air Transport, and began buying other airmail carriers, including Varney's. Within four years, Boeing's holdings grew to include airlines, airplane and parts manufacturing companies, and several airports. In 1929, Boeing merged his company with Pratt & Whitney to form United Aircraft and Transport Corporation (UATC). In March 1928, Boeing Air Transport, National Air Transport, Varney Airlines and Pacific Air Transport combine as United Air Lines, providing coast-to-coast passenger service and mail service. It took 27 hours to fly the route, one way.
In 1930, as the capacity of airplanes proved sufficient to carry not only mail but also passengers, Boeing Air Transport hired a registered nurse, Ellen Church, to assist passengers. United claims Church as the first airline stewardess.[21] On May 7, 1930, UATC completed the acquisition of National Air Transport Inc, a large carrier based in Chicago.[22] On March 28, 1931, UATC formed the corporation United Air Lines, Inc. to manage its airline subsidiaries.[23]
Following the Air Mail scandal of 1930, the Air Mail Act of 1934 banned the common ownership of manufacturers and airlines. UATC's President Philip G. Johnson was forced to resign and moved to Trans-Canada Airlines, the future Air Canada. William Boeing's company was broken into three separate companies. UATC's manufacturing interests east of the Mississippi River became United Aircraft (the future United Technologies), while its manufacturing interests west of the Mississippi became Boeing Airplane Company. The airline interests became United Air Lines. The airline company's new president, hired to make a fresh start as airmail contracts were re-awarded in 1934, was William A. Patterson, who remained as president of United Airlines until 1963.[24]

(from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines) www.united.com United Airlines hires logo