United Airlines’ New Staff Seniority Milestone Pins

United Airlines’ New Staff Seniority Milestone Pins

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As reported by @xJonNYC, soon it’ll be possible to tell for how many years an employee has worked at United Airline just by looking at their wings or pins.

United Airlines’ new “milestone sequence” wings & pins

Starting this month, United Airlines will be rolling out a new way to recognize for how long employees have worked at the airline, in the form of special wings and pins. With the new milestone sequence program, the airline will be recognizing for how many years someone has served at the airline, ranging from five years, all the way up to 55 years (I’m guessing United no longer has any employees with 60+ years?):

  • Each sapphire (blue) will represent five years of service
  • Each diamond (white) will represent 10 years of service
  • 55 years of service will be recognized with five emeralds (green)

For flight attendants and pilots, these sequences will appear on their “wings,” while for other employees, these will appear on their pins.

This isn’t the first time that United has recognized employee milestones on wings and pins, though this is a new design for the airline, and I think it’s the most visually interesting one we’ve seen so far.

This is a fun initiative from United

Admittedly people make a lot of jokes about how senior employees at some US airlines are. In my opinion, senior employees at airlines often represent the best and worst an airline has to offer when it comes to service.

You have some senior staff who provide exceptional service, take pride in their jobs, and remember the “good old days,” when flying was something more special. Then you have some senior employees who are clearly frustrated by what their career has become, and are just there to clock in and clock out, and get their paycheck.

I think it’s super fun for staff to be able to show off how long they’ve been at the airline in such a subtle way, should they so choose. Of course 99%+ of passengers will have no clue what these pins represent.

Along similar lines, I used to love how all Emirates flight attendants had pins representing the countries they were from, as it beautifully highlighted how international cabin crew at the airline are. Unfortunately those pins were eliminated several years back, due to a predictable China vs. Taiwan flag kerfuffle. Emirates had let flight attendants from Taiwan wear pins with the flag of Taiwan, which China took issue with, and that caused these pins to just be eliminated.

Bottom line

United Airlines is introducing new milestone pins for employees, intended to recognize for how many years an employee has been with the company. You can expect to see sapphire, diamond, and emerald pins, with each sapphire representing five years of service, each diamond representing 10 years of service, and five emeralds representing 55 years of service.

What do you make of United’s new milestone sequence pins?

Conversations (45)
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  1. LS Guest

    For a company that is dragging its feet in its negotiations with its flight attendants, for a company that has made outrageous demands for work rule, and wage concessions from its flight attendants, this, “recognition“ is pathetic and laughable.

  2. Marko J. Guest

    Why is this news? Granted I guess anything positive for United is great but this isn’t new. Old United had pieces of glass on their wings, Continental had precious gemstones… at the merger the CO model was chosen, ten years ago… and now we are talking about it again.

    1. Lisa Shingu Guest

      Didn't get anything for my 35 yrs and when I wrote to the woman in charge of employee recognition, she basically told me I'm "lucky" I get employee passes lol!

    2. ***** Guest

      No, United did not have “pieces of glass“ in their wings. Anniversary wings were sterling silver with diamonds. Real diamonds. And the anniversary wings go back to at least the 89s, so this is nothing new for legacy Ynited flight attendants.
      Can you just stop your incorrect and pathetic bashing of everything United? Continental no longer exists for a good reason.

    3. Carla Wenschel Guest

      If it wasn’t for Continental, United wouldn’t exist. Fact.

  3. Myrna Almonte Guest

    I love it! I'm a retired officer and we had our hash tags on our sleeves every line was equal to 5 years and me as a officer would be proud off each one I retired with 5

  4. Angela Guest

    I don’t recall getting some of my milestone pins. Is there anyway to go back and get them to be up to date?

    1. Lynn Guest

      I was wondering the same thing - would like to get missing pins.

  5. Molly Guest

    John, you are misinformed. United has had this recognition program long before our merge with Continental.

    1. Judy Guest

      Looks like United is trying to make it appear that they respect older senior workforce . Unfortunately after past and pending lawsuits for wrongful termination based on age discrimination this looks like lipstick on a pig .

    2. Joe United Guest

      United did not merge with Continental; United bought Continental. It was publicly called a merger of equals to sooth any hurt feelings. Of course there was nothing equal about it; Continental management ran the airline after the so called merger and almost ran the new airline into the ground with their convoluted and cumbersome computer program to check in passengers called Shares and policies to favor the junior Continental employees.

    3. Guest Guest

      You are incorrect. I recommend that you read the SEC filing at the time of the merger.

    4. Truth be told Guest

      Wow you have your story all backwards but that is typical for a former legacy united worker. Your trash airline was bought and saved by Continental and Continental is the only reason you are around. Check the surviving certificate and see what it says.

  6. Dave Guest

    Passengers want to see and know the pilots names. Moreover, they want to know the hours they have logged in THAT airplane.

  7. Juan Guest

    No big deal we used to get lapels with the United logo, then logo with a diamond microscopic at that, then most of our pensions taken away Esop Money taken away, last, but not least for every year that passes by on retirement you lose a year of seniority for travel where is the joy?

    1. Ascot21071 Guest

      Sounds like you are incapable of finding joy in any aspect of your life.

    2. Philly Guy 1 Guest

      This is not a new or novel idea. Eastern Airlines had a recognition program like this in place during its c existence. Every 5 years a new stone added to the employee's wings. 25 years was a diamond; sapphires and rubies for 5 and 10 year periods.

  8. Former UA Employee Guest

    Interesting selection of comments. For many years I was a very proud UA employee cherished the milestone years when pins or medals were awarded and regretted those when they were not (they have come and gone in the past as well). I still have the ones that I received.

    I am no longer a proud UA employee as UA was sadly no longer proud of me, but I still support the airline and the employees....

    Interesting selection of comments. For many years I was a very proud UA employee cherished the milestone years when pins or medals were awarded and regretted those when they were not (they have come and gone in the past as well). I still have the ones that I received.

    I am no longer a proud UA employee as UA was sadly no longer proud of me, but I still support the airline and the employees. For those who are so negative, a symbol of pride is a positive thing for many - please do not try to deny them this symbolic gesture.

  9. Matt Guest

    As “fun” as this initiative is to some, I know tens of thousands of United employees who would much rather have the “industry leading contract” management has promised for years. The pilot group’s contract has been in negotiation for over 5 years now. This is sad gimmick by management when employees want real appreciation in the form of better pay and work rules. I for one am not impressed!

  10. Arrowspace90 Guest

    I am now retired. I always wished that United would come up with service pins that actually suggest to anyone in the industry how much time you have at the airline.
    For example, my 15 year pin was 1 diamond. Who could figure that out? No one other than perhaps a fellow United employee that also had the same pin. I always could tell how many years an employee with AA had, because they used the formula that United is finally adapting. About time, too late for me.

  11. John Guest

    They have adopted the same seniority pins sequence that Continental Airlines had established when Gordon Bethune was CEO.

    1. Proud2Serve2 Guest

      Yes this is true. I'm an ex TWA Employee, an ExCon employee, and Now United. I got alot from all 3 companys. They were all Great Companies to work for. I still ❤️ my job and my many many wonderful customers and colleagues. They can still hear my smile. I feel if you so hate who you work for go work for someone else. I'm still thrilled and look forward to working for the Airline Industry.

  12. rjb Guest

    Great idea! Now I know which employees to avoid. The longer they have been there, the more entitled they are and there less they do. Gotta love a union!

    1. Proudtoserve Guest

      That’s a very sad narrow minded sterotype that is untrue of the many long term loyal and dedicated team members at United!

  13. Jake Guest

    A visual reminder of how airline jobs are the antithesis of the American dream: they recognize squatting on the job, not the having earned a higher grade position because they have done their job well.

    Disgusting.

    1. AGrumpyOldMan_GA Diamond

      While I might not have put it quite as harshly, I agree with the spirit of his post. Do customers really care how long an employee has been working at United or how well that employee does their job? Isn't merit, i.e. how well they do their, job what is more worthy of recognition? This whole thing smacks of unions which always seem to prioritize longevity over doing things better than one's peers.

    2. Flight Attendant Guest

      Having been a Flight Attendant with United I can tell you that you are wrong. First of all, the pins are awards for length of service. A way for the company to recognize and thank the employee for length if service. Not for passengers to decipher, and pick apart length of service verses your opinion of how the job should be performed.
      Second. United always did this for all employees, however it was done...

      Having been a Flight Attendant with United I can tell you that you are wrong. First of all, the pins are awards for length of service. A way for the company to recognize and thank the employee for length if service. Not for passengers to decipher, and pick apart length of service verses your opinion of how the job should be performed.
      Second. United always did this for all employees, however it was done with diamonds and in different intervals.
      Third. When you work for an airline for that long you're not a squatter. Squatter's don't have the gumption, dedication, or the right stuff to be a front line employee for that long. Passengers, especially post covid, tend to be spoiled, rude, and confrontational. And frequent flyers - The higher a business persons frequent flyer account becomes the more they look for handouts. Interesting, because, I don't see Jiff sending me cases upon cases of free peanut butter and I've been buying it for years! So, those employees aren't squatters, they're riddled with battle scars from people who think they're so entitled that common decency doesn't apply to them. Yet they stick it out, because they love airplanes and flying. So,don't worry about the jewels, they're really not there for you to be concerned with. Oy!

    3. Arrowspace90 Guest

      That's complete BS of course. A good employee is a good employee.

  14. COramprat Guest

    We've always gotten seniority pins, at least as far as legacy Continental was concerned. I just received my thirty year pin this year.

    1. Ex-Con Guest

      My 35 was in 2020. No recognition yet. Maybe I'll be one of these people. Not proud of my time.

    2. Pchy4opa Guest

      Congrats ExCon colleague 30 years. If you don't like what you do fine.. why not go and find something else , somewhere else that makes you smile and feel good inside. Makes no sense to stay and complain and complain..and complain. Think about it. It's really .

  15. Joyce Richard Guest

    I'm a senior employee at the Customer Contact Center will I receive a pin?

  16. Eve Guest

    This comment section is full of people taking things way too seriously *facepalm*

  17. Sean M. Diamond

    How many long term employees would even wear these? It seems that the longer an employee has worked at United, the more disgruntled they appear to be with their employer.

    1. Mark D Guest

      Sounds like you know nothing about how United employees feel

    2. DW Guest

      I would! I am proud of my time with UNITED AIRLINES!! I earned every tiny lump of pressed coal and every sapphire, and if I am here that long, EVERY EMERALD!! Please don't disparage this program. There are those that appreciate the recognition. We aren't peons, we do our jobs well, and should be noted for it!

  18. Loretta Jackson Guest

    Ben, you write:

    "Admittedly people make a lot of jokes about how senior employees at some US airlines are".

    The word you're looking for is "old". We don't joke about their tenure with the airline, though the two often correlate. :)

  19. D3kingg Guest

    Kind of a joke. Just like @Jon NYC who just recycles news stories ten minutes before they break.

  20. D3kingg Guest

    Ten years is nothing in terms of flight attendant seniority. It’s should start at 15 and up. To be honest this is an insult to airline employees being given stickers as if they are children. Very tacky.

    1. Jordan Guest

      Disagree. The sticker system works wonders on children: just imagine what it could for adults!

      This is UA's halfhearted attempt to boost employee morale and retention without actually sacrificing anything. This program will eventually be discontinued when the amount of excessive social stratification among flight crew becomes unmanageable.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

JonNYC Gold

You're a moron

6
Mark D Guest

Why be such an asshole?

4
Former UA Employee Guest

Interesting selection of comments. For many years I was a very proud UA employee cherished the milestone years when pins or medals were awarded and regretted those when they were not (they have come and gone in the past as well). I still have the ones that I received. I am no longer a proud UA employee as UA was sadly no longer proud of me, but I still support the airline and the employees. For those who are so negative, a symbol of pride is a positive thing for many - please do not try to deny them this symbolic gesture.

3
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