United teamed up with Columbia College Chicago Department of Fashion Studies to find a unique new use for the giant “Fly the Friendly Skies” banners that once adorned ORD.
The large fabric banners that once invited passengers to “Fly the Friendly Skies” no longer hang around the United Airlines hub at Chicago O’ Hare International Airport (ORD). These out-of-service banners aren’t destined for the landfill, however. Thanks to a joint project with Columbia College Chicago Department of Fashion Studies and the Re:new Project, a non-profit organization that benefits refugee women around the globe, the old advertising will find new purpose as one-of-a-kind travel accessories.
United challenged students to design carry-on bags using material from the discarded banners as a main component. The bags were required to be economical yet fashionable, rugged as well as durable and of course the bags were required to meet United carry-on size restrictions. The best designs were chosen from among dozens of entries and the selected designs were produced to become part of the airline’s new line of hand-sewn “upcycled” luggage.
“United is committed to operating sustainably and responsibly, and that means finding creative ways to further reduce our impact on the environment,” United Airlines Managing Director of Environmental Affairs and Sustainability Angela Foster-Rice said in a statement announcing the product launch. “As part of our Eco-Skies commitment, we are excited to give these banners a second life, and know our customers will enjoy taking home a piece of the friendly skies.”
The “upcycled” bags are available for purchase at unitedshop.com. Proceeds from the sales of the distinct carry-on luggage will benefit both the Re:new Project and the Alto Mayo Forest Carbon Project in Peru.
[Photo: United Airlines]