Well, UAL got its name back in the early 1930s when Boeing put together a huge aviation conglomerate. Originally, Boeing owned the rights to the Chicago-San Francisco air mail contract and its subsidiary Boeing Air Transport operated this route. Later, Boeing bought up Pacific Air Transport and its Seattle-Los Angeles contract, National Air Transport and its New York-Chicago contract, and Varney Air Lines and its Seattle-Salt Lake City contract. It merged these four airlines into a single subsidiary, United Air Lines. In 1934, Congress passed the Air Mail Act which forced Boeing's conglomerate to break up, making Boeing's airline operations an independent company. That company kept its name, and ever since has been United Air Lines.