United puts its swankiest jet on new flagship Hawaii route
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Update 3/21/21: United is now pricing Premium Plus as a separate cabin, starting at $719 in each direction.
If you’re looking to head to Hawaii in style, you might want to fly with United.
The Chicago-based carrier made a notable aircraft swap this weekend, putting its swankiest jet on its newest flagship route, as confirmed by Cirium schedules.
When nonstop Newark (EWR) to Maui (OGG) service launches on June 3, United will fly its “high-J” Boeing 767-300 outfitted with a whopping 46 business-class pods, 22 premium economy recliners and 99 coach seats.
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This premium-heavy aircraft replaces the previously scheduled “standard” 767-300 wide-body, showing United’s confidence in capturing deep-pocketed travelers looking to fly in comfort and style.
Not only does the “high-J” plane offer 16 additional Polaris pods, but it also offers a Premium Plus cabin. United’s other 767-300s aren’t outfitted with premium economy, so this move will be great for those looking a bit more space, at prices between coach and business class.
The airline is currently selling Premium Plus as a separate cabin, with fares starting at $719 each way. For comparison, basic economy is priced from $428 in each direction, and Polaris business class is available for $1,108 and up.
United’s “high-J” 767 launched back in 2019, and it was designed to fly some of the strongest business-focused routes, such as Newark and Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to London-Heathrow (LHR). The pandemic has, of course, cut much of that demand leaving United with spare 767s to deploy on other routes.
Newark to Maui, which was first announced back in September 2020, seems like an ideal candidate because of the strong demand for Hawaii travel during the pandemic, especially from flyers looking for some extra onboard social distancing in the form of a business-class pod or premium economy recliner.
In fact, when the Maui route was originally announced, United planned to run the flights from June 3 to Aug. 15, before picking up again for the holiday season in December. The schedules were recently extended to Sept. 5, covering most of the Labor Day holiday weekend, thanks to strong demand.
For now, the “high-J” 767 will only fly the Maui route through Sept. 5. When the route resumes on Dec. 17, a standard 767-300 is slated to operate the domestic long-haul jaunt.
This news is also promising for award and upgrade availability. With a higher percentage of premium seats, there’s a chance that United releases additional saver availability. For now, however, business-class award availability is limited to the dynamically priced one-way awards starting at 95,000 miles each way.
The move follows another recent “high-J” 767 route announcement. In February, United confirmed plans to launch service between Boston (BOS) and London using this swanky plane. The new BOS to LHR flight is an apparent jab at JetBlue, which also plans new U.K. flights for later this year.
United also flies another nonstop route from Newark to Hawaii — to Honolulu (HNL). Historically, this flight has been operated by the 767-400 variant. The pandemic has caused United to ground that 767 sub-fleet, so the carrier plans to use the standard -300 variant in the meantime.
It’s anyone’s guess if United will swap the “high-J” 767-300 variant for the EWR-HNL route. That’ll likely depend on the evolving demand for Hawaii travel, especially as other international markets recover.
Until then, customers traveling from the East Coast to Hawaii should look no further than United’s new Newark to Maui service for the best possible onboard experience.
Featured photo courtesy of United Airlines
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