United Airlines will mark the connection between its Houston hub and the first moon landing with special activities that include a dedicated in-flight “space” channel, NASA-themed food and a special “Space City” flight.
The US carrier is working with Houston First Corporation, Space Center Houston, NASA Johnson Space Center and restaurant operator OTG on a series of events during July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic event.
They include a special in-flight entertainment channel with 17 dedicated space-related programs developed by NASA that will be accessible on all flights starting July.
It includes documentaries about NASA’s race to the moon, views of Earth from the International Space Stations and action cam footage of astronaut spacewalks.
Two restaurants in United’s terminals at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston – Ember and Tanglewood Grille – will feature dishes throughout July inspired by food eaten by the Apollo 11 astronauts.
To ensure authenticity, OTG sent its culinary team to NASA’s Space Food Systems Laboratory in Houston to learn about and taste food prepared by NASA’s food scientists
Specialty beverages, such as Tang-infused cocktails, will also be available for people traveling through Houston.
Gate lounges at Houston’s Terminal C-North will be transformed into a digital art gallery hosting vivid photography from the Apollo 11 mission while Apollo 11-themed pop-up science labs will be in United’s Terminal C and E and IAH from July 9 -11.
During the same dates, customers in United Clubs will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with retired NASA astronaut Ken Cameron.
On July 17, the same day the Apollo 11 astronauts made their first TV transmission from Earth to space, United will host a special celebration flight from its New York area hub at Newark Liberty International airport to Houston.
Customers on board Flight 355 will enjoy space-themed entertainment, inflight gifts and mingle with special onboard guests who have first-hand experience in space.
The airline is running a social media contest allowing enthusiasts to win two seats aboard the flight, while MileagePlus members will be able to bid for experiences such as VIP access to Space Center Houston’s Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Celebration.
“From the moment former President John F. Kennedy made a bold commitment to further U.S. space exploration efforts at Rice University in Houston, the city became part of the national dialogue about how and when we would put a man on the moon,” said Rodney Cox, vice president for United’s Houston hub.
“Not only is the Apollo 11 mission rooted in Houston’s past, it also became part of United’s history when Astronaut Neil Armstrong later served on our Board of Directors.
“Knowing the deep connection both United and Houston have to this historic mission, we are honored to commemorate this remarkable accomplishment with our customers.”