The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has selected United to be the official airline of the 2020 presidential debates. Beginning September 29th, the US legacy carrier will be responsible for transporting CPD staff and crew to the four pre-election discussions across the country.
Four debates over the next month
As reported by Aerospace Technology, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) has chosen United as the airline that will transport 65 members of their staff and crew to and from the four 2020 United States presidential debates before the country’s election on November 3rd. Three of these will be between Republican President Donald Trump and his Democrat challenger Joe Biden, with the other seeing Vice President Mike Pence taking on Democrat nominee Kamala Harris.
The first of these will take place on September 29th, with the remainder spanning a 23 day period as follows:
- Tuesday, September 29th – Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio.
- Wednesday, October 7th – The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah (vice presidential debate).
- Thursday, October 15th – Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami, Florida.
- Thursday, October 22nd – Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee.
Health and safety as a key factor
A key factor in the decision to award United the role of the official airline of the debates is likely to have been its renewed commitment to health and safety under the present circumstances. In a statement, airline President Brett J. Hart underlined how his team has “overhauled [their] cleaning measures through a program [they] call United CleanPlus” while also encouraging employees to “engage in the democratic process” of voting.
Indeed, Simple Flying recently reported on the latest example of this commitment, namely the airline’s use of robots to sanitize aircraft cabins. In order to provide guidance on health and safety protocols concerning the debates and their logistics, Aerospace Technology reports that the airline has collaborated with Cleveland Clinic, a Health Security Advisor to the CPD.
Engagement beyond the debates
United’s political engagement also reaches beyond its logistical involvement in the 2020 presidential debates. As observed by Live And Lets Fly, the airline is “providing resources to employees to ensure all who wish to are signed up to vote and can exercise that right on November 3rd.”
Specifically, United is “encouraging staff to take time off so that they may head to the polls early or on November 3rd”, according to PR Newswire. Employees are also “organizing several volunteer initiatives in Chicago and their local communities to help get the word out about how to vote in the upcoming election.”
Our mission is to connect people and unite the world — and one of the most important ways to do that is to engage in the democratic process.
— United Airlines (@united) September 22, 2020
The airline took to Twitter to announce its role as the CPD’s official airline and, in doing so, also called upon its passengers to exercise their democratic right to vote. Following a “20 year low” in voter turnout of just 55% at the 2016 election, as reported by CNN, it is refreshing to see United using their platform to encourage increased political engagement among its customer base.