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United Airlines Expands Hawaii Options With Three New Routes

A United 737-800 in San Francisco (Photo: AirlineGeeks | Ben Suskind)

United Airlines has announced new flights from the United States mainland to the Hawaiian Islands. The airline will add three new routes, including two completely new routes that have not been previously operated by another airline. The additional flights to Hawaii continue the industry-wide trend of expanding flight options to warm, open destinations where social distancing is easier to accomplish. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, leisure destinations have been the one bright spot for airlines struggling to find revenue.

New Route to SoCal

Beginning May 6, United will start daily nonstop flights from John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California to Honolulu. The flights will be the only nonstop flights from Orange County to Hawaii, and will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 737-700 aircraft. United currently operates nonstop flights to Hawaii out of Los Angeles International Airport.

The expansion will allow travelers in the eastern Los Angeles metropolitan area another option to reach the popular tourist spot rather than making the long drive west to LAX. Previously, Aloha Airlines operated flights to Orange County before the airline ended operations in 2008. United currently serves Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, and Houston from Orange County. Cross-country service to the airline’s east coast hub in Newark is currently suspended.

Cross Country to Hawaii

On June 3, the airline will start two new Hawaiian routes that have not been previously served by any airline. The first will be a nonstop flight from the airline’s headquarters in Chicago, operating from O’Hare International Airport to Kona International Airport on the big island of Hawaii. The flight will be operated four times a week, on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and will be operated by the airline’s Boeing 787-8 aircraft.

The other new, nonstop route will be from the United’s east coast hub of Newark to Maui. The flight will also be operated four days a week on the same frequency as the Chicago to Kona flight.

However, these flights will be operated by the airline’s older Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. While the aircraft may be older, over half of the airline’s fleet of Being 767s have been retrofitted with their Polaris business class. This new route is in addition to United’s already operating nonstop flights between Newark and the Hawaiian capital of Honolulu.

Hawaii Covid-19 Travel Response

Although Hawaii is currently open for tourists, travelers are required to have a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of their departure for Hawaii. If they do not, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days or the length of their stay if it is less than 10 days. United recently launched a digital solution for quarantine and testing requirements called “The Travel-Ready Center”. The service will allow passengers to upload test results for an easier and more convenient experience related to testing requirements.

The move is similar to American Airlines, which last month announced a partnership to use a digital app to allow travelers to keep track of testing and quarantine requirements. The decision to digitize and centralize quarantine, testing requirements, as well as storage of test results will likely become more widespread. Internationally, Copa Airlines recently announced the use of the IATA Travel Pass, to begin in March. The app is designed to allow customers to upload itineraries and stay updated with government regulations in regards to Covid-19 while on their journey.

Daniel Morley


  • Daniel Morley

    Daniel has always had aviation in his life; from moving to the United States when he was two, to family vacations across the U.S., and back to his native England. He currently resides in South Florida and attends Nova Southeastern University, studying Human Factors in Aviation. Daniel has his Commercial Certificate for both land and sea, and hopes to one day join the major airlines.

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