Supplier diversity program

At United, we are dedicated to helping connect not just places but people, and foster a more open, prosperous and tolerant world. In order to fulfill that mission, our people and processes must be as diverse and far-reaching as the communities we connect and the customers we serve around the globe.

We make this commitment not merely because we believe it creates value for our company, though it does; but because it derives from our fundamental values as a company.

The phrase, “We are United,” though expressed in many languages by our more than 86,000 employees spread around the globe, articulates a shared purpose to make a lasting, positive impact everywhere we operate.

This commitment to diversity, inclusion and empowerment extends from our workforce and continues in our relationships with our suppliers. As a global operating company, with countless moving parts, we know the scale of impact we can make on local communities around the world by reaching out to suppliers of all backgrounds and sizes.

When a young, female entrepreneur can compete on a level playing field with larger companies, and have access to business opportunities with United, that makes our own product better. When ambitious start-ups can break barriers of race and religion that held previous generations back from achieving their dreams and make the best bid for our business, then progress is made. When a veteran can apply the world-class skills and experiences in order to make us safer and better, we can fly a little friendlier each day.

We hold true to these commitments because they are right, and because they elevate the quality of the service we provide - which is to deliver the most safe, high-quality, on-time, customer-friendly experience in the industry.

On behalf of the entire United family, I hope that you recognize the pride we take in opening doors of opportunity to all types of businesses and entrepreneurs around the globe and helping to build a more united economy.


United's commitment to providing equal business opportunities is expressed through our Supplier Diversity Initiative. Over the years our program has grown into an integral part of United’s business operations. Today we view all of our suppliers as key business partners who contribute to the bottom line.

Our program objective is to ensure that certified minority-, women-, veteran and service disabled veteran-, LGBT- owned companies, business enterprises owned by persons with disabilities, small businesses, and historically underdeveloped regions (HUBZone) businesses have the opportunity to compete to provide products and services within United’s extensive supply chain. United encourages all viable minority- and women-owned businesses to become part of our Supplier Diversity Initiative.

United is a member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and many of their local affiliate councils such as the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (CMSDC), the Houston Minority Supplier Development Council (HMSDC), the Women’s Business Enterprise Alliance (WBEA) and the Women's Business Development Center (WBDC).


United Airlines utilizes a robust competitive/total cost of ownership (TCO) bid process to deliver products and services to our customers worldwide. Our TCO process ensures suppliers add value to our supply chain by understanding our business. We look for:

  • Quality products and services
  • Best overall value
  • Reliable delivery
  • Customer service and effective follow-through
  • Financial stability
  • Innovation and continuous improvement

Ownership classifications and certifications guidelines


Women-owned business

To qualify, a business must be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more women who are U.S. citizens.

Minority-owned business

To qualify, a business must be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more of the minority groups listed below.

  • African-Americans: U.S. citizens having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa
  • Asian-Americans: U.S. citizens who originate from Japan, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Korea, Samoa, Guam, U.S. Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands (Republic of Palau), Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Laos, Cambodia (Kampuchea), Taiwan, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Macao, Hong Kong, Fiji, Tonga, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, the Maldives Islands or Nepal
  • Hispanic-Americans: U.S. citizens of Spanish descent whose origins are Mexico, South or Central America or the Caribbean Islands
  • Native-Americans: American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts and Native Hawaiians

Veteran and service disabled veteran-owned business

To qualify, a business must be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more veteran or service disabled veteran. See the U.S. Veteran Business Alliance website for more information.

Business enterprises owned by Persons with Disabilities (BEPD)

For-profit corporations must be at least 51% owned, operated and controlled by one or more persons with disabilities and certified as a BEPD to qualify. Non-profit organizations must directly or indirectly serve persons with disabilities, employ people with disabilities, pay at least minimum wage, and have management and daily business operations controlled by one or more persons with disabilities to qualify.

Small business enterprises

See the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website for more information regarding qualifications.

Lesbian-, gay-, bisexual- and transgender-owned businesses

See the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) website for information regarding qualifications.


See the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) website for information regarding qualifications.

  • National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
  • Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
  • National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
  • City, State, Federal and Local Government Certifications
  • The Small Business Administration (SBA)
  • 8(a) Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB)
  • Association of Service Disabled Veterans (ASDV)

Suppliers should also be listed with the System for Award Management (SAM).

Types of goods and services purchased by United Airlines

United requires a broad range of goods and services. The following is a partial list:

  • Advertising
  • Aircraft interiors and parts
  • Aircraft appearance supplies and disposables
  • Aircraft services
  • Aircraft ground support equipment
  • Armored car services
  • Audio visual equipment
  • Baggage delivery services
  • Baggage repair
  • Baggage system maintenance and parts
  • Boxes (custom and stock)
  • Cargo services
  • Computer peripherals/supplies
  • Computer/business hardware
  • Computer services
  • Construction services/products
  • Crew lodging/transportation
  • Chemicals
  • Electrical commodities and repair
  • Environmental services and solutions
  • Extermination services
  • Exterior aircraft services (cleaning, painting, etc.)
  • FAA-certified products & services relating to commercial airline industry
  • FAA-certified repair stations
  • Food beverage services and supplies
  • Food ingredients and related products
  • Freight forwarding
  • Fuel
  • Ground service and equipment (GSE)
  • GSE maintenance and repair
  • Hardware, misc.
  • Hotel accommodations
  • HVAC service/supplies
  • Inflight catering services (national capabilities)
  • Inflight food tray liners
  • Interior aircraft cabin cleaning
  • Inflight linens (blankets, pillows, etc.)
  • IT and non-IT staffing and consulting
  • Janitorial services and supplies
  • Laundry services
  • Legal services
  • Locksmith services
  • Maintenance contracts (airport)
  • MRO supplies
  • Office supplies and equipment
  • Plastic manufacturers (injection, thermoforming and vacuum forming)
  • Plumbing
  • Promotional items
  • Printing
  • Scavenger services
  • Security services
  • Signs
  • Skycap services
  • Specialized and industrialized truckers
  • Transportation
  • Uniforms
  • Vending services

Prospective suppliers/program participation

Database enrollment

The supplier diversity database is used to identify qualified small businesses and minority-, women-, LGBT-, veteran- and service disabled veteran-owned businesses that meet our procurement needs. Inclusion in the database does not guarantee that you will receive a contract from United.

How to enroll

Please prepare the documentation below before you proceed to the register. You will not be able to continue without this information.

  • Basic company information
  • Federal tax ID number or EIN
  • Basic contact information
  • Company insurance information including provider and limit
  • Annual sales for the past three years
  • Customer reference(s)
  • Minority- or women-owned business certification information

Register your business

Please register your business in our supplier diversity database.

Please note: We are updating our supplier diversity database registration form for veteran and service disabled veteran-owned businesses, business enterprises owned by Persons with Disabilities (BEPD) and lesbian-, gay-, bisexual- and transgender-owned businesses. We’re sorry for the inconvenience. Please print the registration form and then email the completed form to

We utilize our registration database to identify candidates to participate in our bid opportunities as well as to share information with our key business partners to be considered for second-tier business opportunities. These opportunities include a wide variety of products and services (see the "Types of goods and services purchased by United Airlines" section above).

Please ensure that you include enough information regarding your company’s capabilities so that we may identify potential opportunities that may be appropriate for you. You may upload this information as well as your certification. You must include your certification to be considered. Upon review of your submission, your company’s information will be forwarded to our Strategic Sourcing department as appropriate.

If there is a business opportunity that matches your capabilities, we will reach out to you. If there is a current contract in place, or if we do not have an opportunity for you at this time, we will retain your information in our database for future consideration.

If you have any questions, please contact our Supplier Diversity Team at a phone number listed below or at Thank you for your interest in doing business with United Airlines.

Second-tier supplier diversity participation program

At United we encourage our key business partners to participate in our supplier diversity efforts by working with diverse suppliers to support the work they do for us. This allows United to maximize opportunities in the supply chain and further support the communities we serve.

Second-tier supplier diversity results are due 15 days after the close of each quarter. To report your second-tier supplier diversity results, please visit

Supplier diversity awards and recognitions

A number of organizations have recognized United for our efforts to diversify suppliers.

  • The Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council (CMSDC) chose United as its Corporation of the Year in 2013 and 2016
  • Women’s Enterprise USA magazine named United a Top 100 Corporation in 2013, 2014 and 2015
  • Minority Business News magazine recognized United as having one of the Top Supplier Diversity Teams in 2013 and 2014
  • Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) named United one of America’s Top Corporations for Women’s Business Enterprises in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015

The following publications have written about United’s supplier diversity program:

  • Chicago Minority Business Review (December 2012 cover story)
  • Minority Business News (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Women’s Enterprise USA (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Crain’s Chicago Business/Chicago United (2016)

Contact the United supplier diversity team

You can reach the supplier diversity team by emailing