In honor of World AIDS Day and to highlight the contributions of the LGBTQ+ community, United Airlines operated its first LGBTQ+ staffed Pride flight on December 4, 2021. 

ua_operates_first_al_lgbtqia_crew_flight

image from United Airlines Facebook account

Organized by United’s LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group EQUAL, the flight departed three days after World AIDS Day. The flight number, UA 1991, was named after the year when the red ribbon was first used as a symbol of remembrance for those impacted by and lost to the AIDS crisis. 

ua_launches_1st_lgbtqia_manned_flight

image from United Airlines Facebook account

UA 1991 departed Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) at 10:08 local time, and arrived at Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) at 11:35 local time. The aircraft used was a B737-800.

ua_launched_1st_lgbtqia_crew_flight

Image source: United Airlines social media

When the aircraft arrived at ORD, it was met by the O’Hare Fire Department, which gave the aircraft a water cannon salute. In a poignant twist, the sunlight managed to strike the water and create a rainbow, a symbol synonymous with the PRIDE movement.  

In a social media post, United said: “We're bursting with PRIDE! United's first-ever all-LGBTQ+ crewed flight flew from New York/Newark to Chicago on Saturday. Our LGBTQ+ Business Resource Group EQUAL arranged this one-of-a-kind flight to honor the LGBTQ+ community worldwide, as well as within our United family.”