This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
For the past couple of years, United’s been running a video series called “Big Metal Bird,” offering a mix of aviation and promotional content. Some of the episodes are more interesting than others — I really liked the segments on turbulence and how to turn a plane, but the video focused on basic economy (ugh) got a big thumbs down from me (and many other YouTube viewers, it seems).
United’s now fully recovered from that video promoting its dumpster-fire-of-a-fare-product, though, thanks to this week’s segment focused on one of my absolute favorite aviation topics: the Island Hopper.
While I have yet to join the Island Hopper myself, several TPGers have had the privilege — most recently, Katie and JT Genter, who penned 12 Things to Know Before Flying the United Island Hopper.
The Island Hopper is operated by a small subfleet of five Boeing 737-800s, based in Guam (GUM). They’re also used for flights between Guam and some of United’s destinations in Asia, including Manila (MNL) and Tokyo (NRT). Inside, they’re almost identical to the 737s United flies within the US, with 16 seats in the first-class cabin, and new slimline seats in economy and Economy Plus. There’s no Wi-Fi, though hopefully it’ll be added to this fleet at some point.
Operating as United 154 on the westbound legs and United 155 on the return, the Guam-bound Island Hopper flies five hours from Honolulu (HNL) to Majuro (MAJ), then 90 minutes to the army airfield in Kwajalein (KWA), one hour on to Kosrae (TTK), another hour to Pohnpei (PNI), one more hour to Chuuk (TKK) and finally another two hours to Guam.
Generally, the Island Hopper is the only major link these islands have to the rest of the world. In addition to carrying passengers, who come and go at the various stops, these 737s also haul mail and packages, plus items passengers are bringing along to loved ones on other islands.
In the video above, a United pilot even details the concept of the “Micronesian Suitcase” — essentially a cooler that customers load up with fish in Chuuk, which they bring to family in Guam, then load it up with meat for the trip back.
So, as you can see, United 154 is far more than an item near the top of each Avgeek’s bucket list — it’s a lifeline for Micronesia.
For more on the Island Hopper, see:
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points Terms Apply.
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: Delta Sky Club and Centurion lounge access, $200 annual airline fee credit and up to $200 in Uber credits annually
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
- Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
- 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
- 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
- Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
- Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
- $550 annual fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees