Old United Airlines banners turned into eco-friendly travel bags

More than 20 large banners that encouraged United Airlines customers to “Fly the Friendly Skies” at Chicago O´Hare are finding new life.

The company worked with the Columbia College Chicago Department of Fashion Studies and the Re:new Project — a nonprofit that provides employment opportunities for refugee women — to transform the large fabric signs into 100 eco-friendly carry-on bags.

Customers can purchase the upcycled backpacks and duffel bags by visiting the United Shop at unitedshop.com. The proceeds will benefit Re:new and the Alto Mayo Forest Carbon Project in Northern Peru.

United challenged the students at Columbia College to create a carry-on bag from the banner material that could:

> Fit under an airplane seat (9″x10″x17″)
> Be economical to make, yet attractive
> Be durable and wearable

After United selected the winning designs, Re:new stepped in to produce the one-of-a-kind, hand-sewn bags featuring distinct skyline images from the airline´s hub cities.

United Airlines and United Express operate an average of nearly 5,000 flights a day to 373 airports across six continents. More than 84,000 United employees reside in every US state and in countries around the world.