United Airlines has opened its upgraded Inflight Training Center in Houston which, following a US$32 million expansion project that has more than doubled the available training space, is now the airline’s largest training facility. The investment has been made to support the airline’s plan to hire and train a total of 15,000 people in 2023, including 4,000 flight attendants. United plans to train more than 600 flight attendants per month at the Houston facility.
The 56,000 sq. ft. facility is part of the United Next growth plan, and includes new classrooms, additional cabin and door trainers, inflight service training spaces with mock seats, a 400+-seat auditorium, and a public address room where trainees can practice onboard announcements. The centrepiece is a state-of-the-art aquatic centre with a 125,000-gallon pool and a mock fuselage for simulating evacuations from water landings.
New United flight attendants will go through a six-and-a-half week training course at the Houston facility and then return every 18 months to stay current on their qualifications.
“The best flight attendants in the industry deserve the best, most modern training facility in the country,” said United CEO, Scott Kirby, at the opening. “This expansion project is yet another example of an investment we made during the depths of the pandemic that will support our employees, further improve our ability to deliver great service, and set United up for success in 2023 and beyond.”
As part of the construction of the facility, and in support of Houston Mayor Turner’s plan to build local storm-resilient infrastructure, United specified an underground prefabricated storm detention vault for the facility, which can hold more than 268,000 gallons of water and store stormwater runoff in large underground pipes or vaults.