United’s 2 newest Hawaii long-haul routes just got a big boost

Feb 23, 2021

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If you’re looking for a domestic island escape, United has you covered. The Chicago-based carrier has been busy adding new Hawaii flights, bringing its summer 2021 route total to 21.

United isn’t just adding new routes, though. It’s also boosting its newly announced service.

In September 2020, United unveiled two brand-new domestic long-haul jaunts, one from Chicago (ORD) to Kona (KOA) and another from Newark (EWR) to Kahalui/Maui (OGG). Both were slated to begin on June 3 and end on Aug. 15.

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Now, before the service even starts, UA is giving both routes a three-week extension. The new flights will end on Sept. 5, covering most of the Labor Day holiday weekend, as confirmed by the carrier and Cirium schedules.

This service boost underscores United’s confidence in launching these two new routes. As the carrier explains,

“United remains a pioneer to the Hawaiian Islands with the launch of first-ever service between Chicago and Kona and between New York/Newark and Maui this summer. The new flights enable convenient travel times for customers connecting in Chicago and Newark from across the Midwest and East Coast.” 

United plans four-weekly flights in each direction on both of the aforementioned routes. Though flights now end as of Sept. 5, they’ll pick up again just in time for the winter holiday season on Dec. 17.

United’s “old” 2-1-2 business-class arrangement on the Boeing 767 (Photo by Wallace Cotton/The Points Guy)

The Chicago and Newark flights will be operated by a 219-seat Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and a 214-seat Boeing 767-300, respectively. Neither flight will be guaranteed the “real” Polaris business-class lie-flat pods, though there’s always a chance of a last-minute aircraft swap for a newly retrofitted jet with the latest cabins.

Paid one-way fares start at $224 in coach and climb to $904 in biz. Award availability is scattered — there’s plenty of saver coach space starting at 22,500 miles each way, though saver biz seats are almost entirely nonexistent. United is dynamically pricing business-class awards at roughly 95,000 miles each way.

Despite the pandemic, airlines have added a slew of leisure-focused routes to capture pandemic-weary travelers looking for an escape. Some of these initiatives, like United’s point-to-point LaGuardia flights or the carrier’s reentry to New York-JFK, have either been cut early or postponed.

Others, like United’s Hawaii push, are clearly outperforming original expectations.

In fact, United is also busy tweaking another flagship Hawaii route: Washington/Dulles (IAD) to Honolulu (HNL). This 4,817-mile route was suspended due to the pandemic, but it’ll take off once again early this summer.

Related: Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Hawaii right now

Daily flights were originally scheduled to end on Aug. 16, but they’ve now been extended through Sept. 7. United will continue flying the route once-weekly on Saturdays between the Labor Day and Christmas holiday seasons.

As for other Hawaii flights, UA recently announced a new year-round service between Orange County, California (SNA) and Honolulu beginning on May 6.

Technically, the Orange County flight is a service resumption for the carrier. United inherited two legacy Continental routes, one from SNA to HNL and another from SNA to OGG when the carriers merged in 2010. United stopped the Maui flight in January 2012, followed by the Honolulu one six months later.

Nearly ten years later, however, there’s seemingly more confidence than ever — not just in the Orange County flights, but in all of United’s new Hawaii routes.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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