Hawaiian Faces Setback as United Plans To Make Headway

United Hawaii Routes and Plans Obstructed by FAA

United temporarily decreased its Hawaii routes for 2024, especially following the decline in tourism partly associated with the Maui wildfires of last summer. In hindsight, this might not have been the best idea given what’s happened now between United and the FAA.

FAA scrutinizes United after multiple incidents.

The FAA has enforced a temporary growth restriction on United Airlines and that includes Hawaii. This seems to have started largely with the Alaska Airlines blowout that followed 14 Hawaii flights on a brand new Boeing 737 MAX 9 plane.

That was followed by United’s own spate of problems on flights which included a range of anomalies that also drew widespread media coverage and scrutiny. The FAA has made it clear that, in United’s case, their ability to introduce new services to its flight operations has been cut. That was acknowledged in an internal memo to employees.

This appears to also include the suspension of United’s ability to approve and promote pilots to fly different aircraft. These move points to the seriousness of the FAA’s concerns.

United will now postpone launching new routes. The first of those were international including to the Philippines and Europe. The delays will be a setback for United, which also wants to capitalize on travel’s recovery, including to Hawaii.

Any new Hawaii routes, plus the international ones planned, will await the outcome of the FAA’s investigation.

Hawaii-centric United Airlines has 200 weekly flights to the islands.

And, as you’ll see below, United may have been planning to expand their current Hawaii footprint, prior to this safety problem arising. The airline will be forced to delay new Hawaii routes so long as it is undergoing the FAA’s safety investigation. The airline hopes to start introducing new services again globally no later than this fall.

This comes while the FAA conducts an unprecedented, comprehensive review of safety standards at the long-time, Hawaii-focused airline.

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In the context of United’s curtailment of any new route plans amid the safety investigation, it’s relevant to detail just how popular United Hawaii flights are. United is a major player connecting the U.S. mainland and Guam/Tokyo to Hawaii, with nearly 200 flights spanning their mainland hub cities weekly.

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The seven hubs from which United flies to Hawaii include the following:

  • Denver, with up to four-times daily service on both widebody and narrow-body.
  • Chicago, with multiple daily widebody services.
  • Houston, with daily widebody service.
  • Los Angeles, with up to four-times daily service on both widebody and narrow-body.
  • San Francisco, with up to ten-times daily service on both widebody and narrow-body.
  • Washington DC and Newark also have widebody flights to Honolulu operated on a seasonal basis.

The large scope of United’s Hawaii footprint underlines the strategic importance of linking their U.S. hubs with Hawaii, despite the current regulatory constraints affecting its ability to expand new Hawaii routes.

United’s already substantial Hawaii flight schedule and the number of widebody flights it operates demonstrate the importance to them of serving the islands.

Do you fly United to Hawaii, and will you be choosing them for your future travels?

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13 thoughts on “United Hawaii Routes and Plans Obstructed by FAA”

  1. In my humble opinion, the United pilots need to stop playing that “Halfway to Hawaii“ game during the flight and just concentrate on flying the plane and checking for loose rivets and bolts. That’s my opinion.

  2. I have been flying United from Hawaii to mainland for years. Tourism was only down because of the pandemic lock down. It bounced back , and then the Lahaina fires in Maui happened. All of Maui except for Lahaina is open for tourists. The demand for flights to Hawaii will increase.

  3. Been avoiding United for some time now. For the 2 trips (4 legs) back home remaining this year I’m flying Delta twice, AA once and Hawaiian and SW combined. Flew AA both coming and going in Jan/Feb. The seating on the old UAL 772’s up front is medieval and their airworthiness problems are concerning.

    787s are now coming under a lot of scrutiny with new revelations of QC issues being ignored to get airframes out of the factory… Might be time to start taking cruises back to the islands old school style…

    Best Regards

  4. Between my wife and I, we have flown over 3 million miles on United in and out of DEN w/o any major issues, though in all honesty, the latest string of ‘mishaps’ by United/Boeing has given us pause. Sadly, after countless trips over the past 30+ years, flying United to Hawaii is now a moot point as we have abandoned any thoughts of travel to Hawaii due to the over the top price gouging, the misguided negative attitude of the entitled locals and totally inept politicians that only know how to add more taxes on top of the already exorbitant taxes paid by tourist. Essentially you can describe the current state of Hawaii as ‘Paradise Lost’…

  5. I am a Denver to Maui regular and usually don’t spring for the double cost for the United non stop or any United connecting flights. On the Maui to Denver leg the red eye flights are the only available. No thank you. Southwest is my choice for affordable rate and the no redeye options.

  6. Have Flown on United for 19 years to Maui. However, flying out of Arcata CA to SF then Maui has gotten so expensive and now United cut their night flights into Arcata so have to spend a night in SF airport to get the morning flight home . So Sad this is happening. Very Hard on Elderly people. To far to drive to get a direct flight to Maui .

  7. Aloha, We come over to Honolulu 2-3 times a year from the mainland and always fly United and always had great service and on time flights we have used Southwest, Alaska and American before with so-so results so United it is for us

  8. We will continue to use United when traveling from Houston to Guam with layover in Honolulu. When considering price and schedule, it is really the only option for us. So far, we have been pleased with their service, and try not to think about safety issues.

  9. I will continue to fly United to Maui or the Big Island, if and when condominiums become more available and most importantly, when I feel United maintence workers, especially at SFO, are more in compliance, and when the FAA completes their investigation and United meets their requirements.

    I fly from San Francisco first class, saving part of the cost using United Mileage Plus miles. I once flew first class on Hawaiian where the service and food was better, but they use narrow body planes from SFO, and in first class, the seats hardly recline and you only get a foot rest. I am 5’3″ and my feet were barely able to keep the foot rest down, making the 5 hour flight uncomfortable for me.

    So, yes, I will continue to fly United.

  10. We flew United a couple days ago. We are here now! Will be here another two months also on United. Why did we do it? Hawaiian was quite a bit more. Alaska was cheaper, but when the equipment it was a 737 max. Definitely not flying that. This was a 777, it’s looking older and a bit tired. However, with flights getting more expensive and the options narrowing, it is what it is. We flew United for 5-6 years, then switched to Hawaiian Air exclusively for the 10 years. This year is United only so far.

  11. I price shop between United and Hawaiian, especially when I go to Vegas. My next trip is on United – air fare including inter-island travel was 644 round trip on united from ITO-HNL-SFO-LAS with about and 1.5 hr layovers vs 776 via hawaiian from ITO-OGG-LAS with a 7 hr layover in OGG. I really miss the direct ITO-LAX tough

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