Your typical airline headquarters 和 operations center is somewhere near a major hub airport, usually in some nondescript building with views that don’t really inspire much of anything. United, however, couldn’t be any further from the norm. Inside 芝加哥威利斯大厦这座曾经是世界上最高的建筑，而世界上曾经是最大的航空公司，全天候由积极进取的人管理。
I have been to a few airline operation centers in the past, but never the control center of an airline quite as massive as United. Hundreds of people, across an entire floor of the Willis Tower, are dedicated to keeping United 和 United Express moving efficiently 和 safely, a task that is far from easy.
The 网络运营中心, or NOC, is split right down the middle of the floor. One half is in charge of narrow-body operations, the other side handles wide-body flights. There is a strict division of labor in this respect, 和 employees sort of “graduate” from one side of the room to the other.
The airline has grown so large, in fact, that they have run out of room on this floor of the Willis Tower. Plans are being discussed to break through the ceiling 和 move some NOC employees up to create more space (one might say that United needs to 继续攀登）。
位于两侧中心的是所谓的“桥梁”。 ”在这里，高层决策者监督整个操作。与之相对的是一大堆监视器，这些监视器具有各种运行状况衡量指标，从美联航枢纽的状态到可能推动航班运行的航班清单。 停机坪延迟规则。乍一看，任何员工都可以实时获取整个航空公司运营的快照，以及一天中其余时间的预测。
One station caught my eye in particular. During irregular operations 和 flight disruptions, the task of getting every passenger re-booked 和 on their way is complex 和 critically important. A relatively new tool used by United can automatically re-book all passengers from a wide-body aircraft in just a few minutes.
但这不’只是随机地或按座位号重新预订乘客。实际上考虑了每位乘客’s airline status 和 gives those passengers priority over others. A passenger with 1K Premier status is going to be given preferential re-booking over those with lesser status, or no status at all.
The United NOC is staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, 和 the work never stops. It literally takes an army of people to keep the operation moving, or in this case, an entire floor of a massive skyscraper.
All of this happens behind the scenes, isolated from the front-line staff 和 airport employees. The next time your flight is a little bit delayed, pause for a moment 和 think about about how complicated it is to juggle so many flights 和 how the fine folks in downtown 芝加哥 are trying to get you to your destination.