United Airlines Evacuates Operations From Downtown Chicago Due To Riots

For several years gun crimes have been a major concern in the U.S. except when they’re happening in Chicago. A couple of things have changed, though.

  1. A passenger got beaten up by police on a United Express flight at Chicago O’Hare, that was an international outrage. And it didn’t even require a gun!

  2. The U.S. has started worrying about gun crimes committed by police.

A suspect was shot by Chicago police on Sunday, triggering both protests and riots. Over 100 people have been arrested. The city suspended transportation to downtown and raised bridges. Mayor Lori Lightfoot “highlighted the differences between Sunday’s unrest and the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.” Oddly President Trump doesn’t seem to be tweeting about it.

United Airlines has temporarily relocated operations from Willis Tower to backup offices in the Elk Grove suburbs and is laying over flight crews at airport hotels instead of downtown Chicago.

Live and Let’s Fly points out that United was forced out of Willis Tower (the former Sears Tower) in May due to flooding. I’d add that several years ago they had to move folks out to deal with bed bugs.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I guess the question that United has to ask itself is whether it is an authentic Chicago company that is “meant for” the people of Chicago.

    I come from new York, and I always associated United with Chicago, but the question isn’t what I think it’s what the BLM officials decide. Their official statement was summarized in the Chicago Tribune as follows:

    > The Black Lives Matter movement released a statement suggesting Lightfoot should not be surprised by the Magnificent Mile being targeted, given Chicago politicians have long valued protecting the high-rent area while poorer neighborhoods have suffered from disinvestment and neglect. … “When protesters attack high-end retail stores that are owned by the wealthy and service the wealthy, that is not ‘our’ city and has never been meant for us.””

    Ironically, United was lured to the Sears Tower by the city, with $35mm of incentives including a $10mm grant. So I guess the city officials decided that United was an authentic Chicago presence worth keeping.

    But unfortunately for United, the city officials are not the ones making these decisions anymore.

  2. Guys it’s not PC to call them looters and criminals. BLM’s official position is that these acts are “reparations” for the systemic injustice they’ve suffered. Don’t be racist, go out and show your support by cleaning out Best Buy.

  3. I suppose they should have never shut down the old Continental’s HQ operations on Smith St in Houston. lol

  4. Wake up, America. This is the next step for these criminals. All the rich “Beautiful People” who have sat back and cheered BLM on from their plush mansions had better get ready. They will be next on their list unless these thugs are paid “protection” money. Gutless local and state politicians have a situation totally our of hand and won’t be able to control what is coming next.

  5. Hey David , did you hear the word from NBC Chicago?

    “I don’t care if someone decides to loot a Gucci or a Macy’s or a Nike store, because that makes sure that person eats,” said Ariel Atkins, a BLM organizer, “That is reparations. Anything they wanted to take, they can take it because these businesses have insurance.”

    You ever see any reparations hungry BLM supporter hungry enough to eat a Gucci or Nike shoe? If you attend a Biden campaign event you might want to show BLM support by unloading a few choice shoes. Just be careful when tossing those steel-toed work boots to show your compassion.

  6. United Airlines management has already squandered most of their corporate assets at the company headquarters to pay for excessive C-suite executive benefits. Savvy rioters and looters know there is nothing left to plunder.

  7. This is why we need suburbs and rural areas to keep away from thugs. This is also why we need the 2nd amendment and AR15s. A handgun isn’t going to stop 500 thugs looting, destroying, burning property, and perpetrating violence; AR15s might. The police have shown us how they fail to restore order and how dangerous thugs can be. Let liberal cities crumble. Let gang thugs kill each other.

    Cops are no saints because they enforce liberal laws that put these thugs in our communities to begin with and incentivize their birth for welfare checks (a system cops uphold). Cops also enforce nanny state laws and liberal gun control that put rapists in charge and innocent peaceful citizens at a disadvantage to thugs and cops.

  8. Wow, the two comments above are interesting.
    (1) Whatever UAL has done with their corporate assets has absolutely no bearing on a bunch of out of control buglers entering business, vandalizing them and taking what they please.
    (2) Enough of the anti-police rhetoric. It is the sworn duty of these officers to enforce the laws that are made by politicians. Somehow tying to tie them into the legislative process is nonsensical.
    If these goons come into your neighborhood you won’t be turning down police protection to save your property and possibly life.

  9. @Jackson Henderson – as always thanks again for bringing your coded racist language to the travel blogs. You only seem to post about these types of issues, zero value add on anything travel related ever, not suspicious at all, hmmm….

  10. How can this be? United cut ties with the NRA over two years ago because of gun violence. Someone didn’t get the message.

    United would do well to get the hell out of Chicago and move their operations to Houston.

  11. @IP – I would expect the “out of control buglers” would be playing a brass instrument when they visit United Airlines World Headquarters. As United Airlines appears to be going downhill, I believe these buglers would choose to play the musical selection of “taps” by varying their embouchure. In the Chicago cultural mecca called the Miracle Mile, it is good to know that buglers will be providing musical entertainment to the out of control burglars who enter a business, vandalize them, and take what they please.

  12. United was … making its employees commute to work during an out of control pandemic?



  13. Gary Leff- your leftist bent is showing when you write “ Oddly President Trump doesn’t seem to be tweeting about it”.

  14. I think maybe the business leaders of Chicago are sitting down with the Police Commissioner and saying “Hey Can you please reel in your troops because every time they do this it costs the city so much money. You’re killing me Peetey!”. Think about the costs for these bad decisions……….just shitcan the bad arrogant cops and let’s get on with life!

  15. As a European living in Europe, we are shocked by this behaviour . Some parts of the USA are places we will never visit because they are too dangerous and gun culture is frightening .

  16. As an unabashed liberal leftie, trust me when i tell you, no one here should be calling Gary a “leftist”.

  17. @Experienced Traveller

    Basically just stay out of big cities and areas that vote democrat outside of places like Maine and you will be fine.

    TBH I’m happy with Euros staying away; wish we could get Pierced Moron to leave; Glad Jeremy Clarckson punched him.

  18. I read the article and United left in May because of Flooding and bedbugs.
    Not gun violence.

    Why were the Chicago police
    reportedly doing nothing to stop the looting according
    to Alderman Brian Hopkins?

    Do you all really think looting Gucci and Chanel are the Worst thing that’s ever happened in the U. S. or the World?

    Stay in the suburbs if you don’t like
    the city and when people ask “Where are you from?”
    Please don’t lie to act cool and say
    “Chicago “

  19. What does Trump’s tweets have to do with this violence and United pulling out????
    Exactly, NOTHING!!!
    The MAYOR doesn’t care, and never did!

  20. Ritt, the police converged to where the looters were, then the looters, in caravans of escap cars, spread out to the neighborhoods. Oh, and people were shot as well. So yes, when you put it into perspective without all the details, its just stealing vandalism and rioting. But when you include the shootings and violence, what more do you want for it to be an issue?

  21. Love the Leftist slant indicating Trump has something to do with the sh–hole Democrat-run cities burning. Lol. Too funny. Let em burn it to the ground. Igmo’s will never take responsibility for their f-ed up Democrat policies. That’s what is causing this. Democrat mayors with Democrat police chiefs. Why can’t you just tell it like it is?

  22. United never should have left the Continental HQ in Houston. Actually they never should have merged.

  23. If only CNN MSNBC and the rest of the Democrat water carrying news channels would report the TRUTH

  24. Frank- Cities are the lifeblood of American cultural and economic growth. Out of the 20 largest US cities, 17 have Democratic mayors.
    If you’re going to consider all of these cities shi*tholes , then you’re basically saying America is a shi*t hole country.
    The problems cities have are decades in the making – fueled by
    extreme income and opportunity inequality. Republican mayors and police chiefs can’t fix it.

  25. I am embarrassed and mortified for the world to see our country self destruct
    If these criminal/thugs /folks that commit all these crimes lived in Singapore they might live to regret their actions for their lawless reckless behavior. They know what to do with these folks even if they litter or damage property with graffiti.They would never think of doing it again
    Unfortunately we are afraid to offend anyone in this overly politically correct world.
    We are standing by too often while observing the destruction of our cities or what’s left of them.
    Equally as bad letting rapists murderers and other criminals go free to keep them safe from the corona virus. WTF.America is falling apart and its truly scary.

    We are in desperate need of solid healing leadership Democrat or Republican
    Sadly those who will ultimately pay the most severe price in the long run are those that will be or already dealing with massive layoffs and a loss of jobs no mater what they think the protests may have proudly accomplished.Long after the empathy is non existent for those that were victims in all of this a large majority of poor folks will sink far deeper into poverty and despair.
    We will be a nation of an enormous homeless population and with gun sales increasing far more violence.Not only have we suffered enormous consequences from the virus but protests just about everything and anything has made things worse with more suffering and pain in the communities that can least afford to have more pain & suffering.I do not know how we recover from this but I hope we can. First we have to eliminate or reduce risk enormously from this virus so someone in the long run will still be alive to carry on.And I hope we will get through this all to brighter happier, safer, days.

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