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United Airlines and OTG Announce Plans to Enhance the Airport Experience at Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport

Award-winning design firm Rockwell Group will transform the dining and retail space in United's terminals
Local chefs and local products will give travelers a true taste of Houston

May 11, 2016

Restaurant interior with bar and tables and chairs

Houston, May 12, 2016United Airlines and OTG announced plans today to elevate the dining and retail experience in United’s terminals at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, a key hub in the airline’s global network.

The innovative in-terminal experience will include the creation of restaurants inspired by some of the region’s most notable chefs, thousands of iPads equipped with OTG’s award-winning customer experience platform, flo®, farm-to-terminal offerings from local markets and spaces designed by renowned architecture firm Rockwell Group.

OTG will oversee all food, beverage and retail operations for Terminal B South, Terminal C (including the new C North Concourse which opens in 2017) and Terminal E.

“United is pleased to bring this industry-leading airport experience concept to our Houston hub,” said Gavin Molloy, United’s vice president of corporate real estate. “The collaboration with OTG will provide exceptional food, beverage and retail options with the comfort and high-tech amenities that travelers today want.”

“Our OTG team is excited about working with United to transform the airline’s terminals at George Bush Intercontinental Airport into a hot spot for wonderful food and great shopping,” said Rick Blatstein, OTG’s chief executive officer. “This will be a brand new airport experience for Houston travelers including restaurants inspired by local chefs, the addition of modern amenities such as iPads, redesigned gate areas and world-class shopping. We are thrilled to be part of this partnership.”

New concepts have already begun to open with five of OTG’s award-winning CIBO Express Gourmet Markets and the Republic Grille - all in Terminal E. The markets feature an array of healthy options and offerings from local purveyors.

United’s customers and employees will see the biggest transformation with the opening of the new C North Concourse planned for early next year. Details of the chefs and designs were released today.

Chef-Driven Dining with Unique Local Flavor: Plans for C North include a variety of new dining venues with five local and notable chefs set to consult on the restaurant concepts and menus. They include:

  • Chef Roland Laurenzo will create a Taqueria reminiscent of famed El Tiempo Cantina. Laurenzo and his family are a dynasty in Houston - his mother, Mama Ninfa, is credited with introducing fajitas to the United States via Houston in the 1970’s.
  • Chef Ryan Pera will bring local, seasonal pizzas to the terminal, a reflection of his strong dedication to sustainable practices as demonstrated at his celebrated restaurant Coltivare. Named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit, Coltivare, inspired by Pera’s Italian heritage, uses Gulf Coast ingredients. 
  • Chef John Nguyen is famous in Houston for merging Cajun seafood staples with Vietnamese flair at the Cajun Kitchen.
  • Chef Monica Pope will create a locally-inspired Panini Bar. Pope shares her passion for connecting local farmers and consumers with cooking classes as well as owning Houston’s own Sparrow Bar + Cookshop and Beaver’s restaurants.
  • Chef Chris Shepherd, 2014 James Beard Best Chef Southwest, will open a Houston-focused tavern, featuring the flavors of the city’s diverse population. His restaurant, Underbelly, is inspired by the city and aims to tell the story of Houston food. 

More on these local chefs can be found here.

Innovative Design: World-renowned architecture and design firm Rockwell Group will lead the cutting-edge transformation of the dining and retail spaces, which will include social media moments to provide an eye-catching backdrop for travelers to snap and share photos of their travel experience.

Renderings of the designs can be found here.

Leading-Edge Technology: Another unique offering will be OTG’s 2U™ feature that allows customers to order food, retail and other amenities from an airport iPad and have it delivered, whether within a restaurant or at the gate. The nearly 8,000 iPads throughout the terminals will also offer a variety of entertainment options for travelers to enjoy before their flight.

United and OTG have collaborated to enhance benefits for MileagePlus members at Bush Intercontinental by enabling them to use award miles to purchase items at select CIBO Express Gourmet Markets in Terminal E. Together, United and OTG will roll out this capability to more locations in the airport in coming months. 

OTG is investing significant capital to transform current and future spaces, including the development of tech-enhanced gate areas featuring lounge-style seating, USB power outlets and iPads from which guests can order food and amenities, browse the web, play games and more.

These plans will also continue to meet or exceed United’s ACDBE and minority-participation goals and commitments to the City of Houston. United will work with OTG to develop these plans, which are expected to roll out over several years.

In 2014, OTG began transforming United’s Terminal C at Newark Liberty by introducing cutting edge technology, chef-driven dining and trendsetting design. The full experience at Newark Liberty is expected to be completed at the end of 2016.

More on the United Experience at Newark can be found here.

About United

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of 5,000 flights a day to 336 airports across six continents. In 2015, United and United Express operated more than 1.5 million flights carrying more than 140 million customers. United is proud to have the world’s most comprehensive route network, including U.S. mainland hubs in Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, New York/Newark, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. United operates more than 715 mainline aircraft, and this year, the airline anticipates taking delivery of 21 new Boeing aircraft, including 737 NGs, 787s and 777s. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, which provides service to 192 countries via 28 member airlines. Approximately 86,000 United employees reside in every U.S. state and in countries around the world. For more information, visit united.com, follow @United on Twitter or connect on Facebook. The common stock of United’s parent, United Continental Holdings, Inc., is traded on the NYSE under the symbol UAL.

About OTG

OTG is a high-growth company that is transforming the airport travel experience for millions of travelers every year. OTG combines world-class hospitality and award-winning cuisine with innovative design and state-of-the-art technology. OTG's restaurant concepts are complemented by the Company's tablet experience, which was the first of its kind in its industry. Since 1996, OTG has been redefining the guest experience in airports, transforming the way passengers interact with the terminal. The Company is currently one of the leading airport food and beverage operators in North America with more than 200 restaurant and retail locations across 11 airports.