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United's 2 flagship Hawaii routes just got renewed for another season

April 14, 2022
4 min read
United's 2 flagship Hawaii routes just got renewed for another season
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United has seemingly hit the jackpot with the two flagship long-haul Hawaii routes that it launched during the height of the pandemic.

In September 2020, the carrier unveiled plans to connect Newark (EWR) and Maui (OGG) as well as Chicago (ORD) and Kona (KOA) with new nonstop service. At the time, Hawaii had proven to be a popular pandemic-era destination, and United was ready to try its hand at connecting two of its largest hubs with additional cities in Hawaii.

Both routes launched with plenty of fanfare, and they've kept the momentum going long enough to be coming back for another season.

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Specifically, the Chicago-based carrier just renewed both routes for winter 2023, as first seen in Cirium schedules and later confirmed by an airline spokesperson.

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United will operate the two flights on Saturdays from Jan. 7, 2023, to Feb. 4, 2023. Service from Chicago will continue to operate once weekly through February, while the Newark route will be flown four times a week for much of February.

Then, in March, as spring break vacations ramp up, United will fly the Chicago and Newark routes five and six times a week, respectively.

United isn't ready to call these routes a "permanent" addition, though it certainly appears that there's been enough demand to warrant bringing them back for another season. "We continue to keep a close eye on these routes and will adjust our schedule as appropriate," a United spokesperson shared.

(Map courtesy of Cirium)

Interestingly, United has experimented with several new long-haul routes throughout the pandemic.

When the first batch of European destinations started opening to vaccinated Americans, United was the first to announce limited-time long-haul routes to three popular countries (Croatia, Iceland and Greece). These flights quickly became a hit, and they're all slated to return this summer.

Additionally, United's planning eight new transatlantic flights for the summer, including five all-new European destinations, such as Ponta Delgada in the Azores and Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

As much of Asia remains closed and off-limits to tourists, United has opportunistically been looking for routes that could be a good fit for its widebodies. (The airline has the most twin-aisle jets of the Big 3 U.S. carriers.)

Plus, with a recovery in business travel still lagging, the airline has extra planes to deploy on leisure-focused routes.

Hawaii has been an especially popular choice, with its plethora of outdoor-friendly activities and access to many of the conveniences found on the mainland. Plus, there's no testing requirement before heading home.

Related: Traveling to Hawaii just got a whole lot easier; TPG was among the first to try it out

United will continue flying a 243-seat Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on the Chicago route, which features 28 Polaris business pods, 21 Premium Plus recliners, 36 extra-legroom coach seats and 158 standard coach ones.

Meanwhile, the carrier will deploy the swanky "high-J" Boeing 767-300 from Newark to Maui. The jet sports a massive 46-seat business-class cabin that spans 16 rows, along with a 22-seat premium economy cabin, 43-seat extra-legroom coach cabin and a 56-seat standard economy one.

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The "high-J" 767 was originally configured for high-value business routes, like those between London and both Newark and Chicago, but the airline has seemingly found a great fit with this leisure route as well.

While United's focus on long-haul leisure travel is seemingly paying off, it's anyone's guess how long it'll last. Once business travelers return to the skies, the airline may shift gears to chase those higher margins and stronger yields.

For now, though, it means expanded access with nonstop connectivity to popular tourist destinations.

That said, it's not entirely good news for United's Hawaii network. The carrier pulled back its newest Hawaii route, from Orange County (SNA) to Honolulu (HNL) as part of this weekend's schedule adjustment.

United was planning to fly the 2,584-mile route once daily this fall, though it'll now be operated on a once-weekly basis on Saturdays between Sept. 6, 2022, and Dec. 14, 2022.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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  • Annual Fee

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

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Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

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  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases