United Airlines is letting some of its MileagePlus members visit its brand new $32 million flight attendant training center and is even giving them the opportunity to try out the emergency evacuation slides and take part in ditching drills.
The first tour of the new training center will take place in June and, as you can imagine, there was such an overwhelming response from eager frequent flyers that the special event quickly sold out.
Along with a guided tour of the state-of-the-art facilities where thousands of new-hire flight attendants will be trained, MileagePlus members will also get a hands-on experience in both ‘safety and security procedures’ and customer service training.
After meeting some of United’s in-house instructors and trainees, guests will then enjoy an in-depth tour before sitting inside a Boeing 777 cabin service trainer, where they can experience the customer service training that United flight attendants receive before they ever serve a real customer.
Once they’ve been put through their paces dealing with a variety of customer service issues, guests will then learn how cabin doors work on various aircraft types utilising special ‘door trainers’ where they can ‘arm’ and ‘disarm’ the door and try emergency evacuation commands.
From there, guests will get to slide down an emergency evacuation chute before preparing to get wet as they try out ditching drills in a 125,000-gallon pool that has a mock aircraft fuselage.
United is clearly keen to show off its new 56,000-square-foot training center – more than double the size of the facility it replaced. Thankfully, the upgraded space was completed in just enough time for a massive influx of new hire flight attendants.
For now, the event is a one-off, but look out for future tours at some point in the future. This event was being sold for 10,000 MileagePlus miles which at an estimated cash value of 1.2 cents per mile is just $120.
The carrier plans to hire and train as many as 4,000 new flight attendants in 2023, and the new training center will also be used for recurrent refresher training for experienced crew members. At capacity, the center will be able to handle around 600 flight attendants per week.
Last week, United reopened its application window for new flight attendants as the airline continues to enjoy robust demand for international flights.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.