United Will Invest $200MM In Hawaii Airports And Change When They Fly To Hawaii

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I’ve flown to Hawaii 8 times since my first trip out there when I posted and grabbed a deal paying just $87 for airfare and hotel. It’s one of my favorite places to travel within the US.

Every trip to Hawaii has involved leaving early in the morning and arriving into Hawaii in the afternoon. It’s a lot of flying and I’ve often wondered why there aren’t redeye options that would allow me to sleep on the plane.

The Honolulu Star Advertiser writes today that my wish will come true.

United plans on investing $200 million into Hawaii airports and they will shake up their schedules. United is the largest carrier into Hawaii and has been expanding service there.

“The carrier is shifting schedules to make it easier to connect to Hawaii via its seven domestic hub cities: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, New York, Houston and Washington, Munoz said. United plans to shift scheduling at hubs so consumers can leave the mainland overnight and get to Hawaii in the morning. The carrier is expected to launch a major scheduling change at its Denver hub in February to allow for shorter connections between flights to Hawaii.”

Here are United’s current flight times from the mainland (east of California) to Hawaii on 1/6:

  • Newark-Honolulu: 8:30am-2:49pm
  • Washington/IAD-Honolulu: 8:40am-2:21pm
  • Houston-Honolulu: 9:40am-2:23pm
  • Chicago-Honolulu: 10:00am-3:30pm
  • Chicago-Maui: 10:10am-3:41pm
  • Denver-Honolulu: 11:30am-4:11pm
  • Denver-Kona: 11:50am-4:44pm
  • Denver-Maui: 11:50am-4:48pm
  • Denver-Kauai: 11:55am-4:54pm

A redeye flight could work for any of those. A Newark-Honolulu flight leaving at midnight would arrive into Honolulu at 6:20am. You could then connect to any of the other Hawaiian Islands.

The real question is what will such a shift mean for their return flights. Currently the return flights head back to the mainland as redeye flights.

Will United keep their aircraft on the ground in Hawaii for a redeye return? It’s not great for aircraft utilization, but they do it in markets like South America where all of the demand is for redeyes in both directions.

Or will they have morning return flights from Hawaii to the mainland?

Personally I’d love to see redeye flights as options in both directions, but they may be too costly for United.

Could United pull off both daytime and redeye flights to and from Hawaii? It’s possible to try it from different hubs, but it’s hard to see United adding capacity like that from a far-flung hub like Newark.

Of course with Southwest joining the Hawaii market next year, we can expect more changes to come as well.

Would you prefer a daytime flight or a redeye flight to and from Hawaii?

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26 Comments On "United Will Invest $200MM In Hawaii Airports And Change When They Fly To Hawaii"

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Would it make sense for them to turn Hawaii into a hub for transpacific (Asia, Australia/NZ) flights, so they might be able to get better aircraft utilization while doing Hawaii-Mainland as redeyes in both directions?

OTOH, anyone flying such a long flight in economy, might actually prefer to arrive in late afternoon, so they can get a good night’s rest, and then start the day fresh.

Sam Finkelstein

Redeyes are my preferred option when possible.


If only they could bring JFK-HNL service


They will have to get creative on this. But I can see these planes do early morning flights back to SFO/LAX/DEN. I don’t think they can do a same day turn back to Hawaii to do the east coast red eye. So perhaps some hub to hub flying back to the east coast then return to Hawaii/other international route again. A separate group of planes may be doing everything in reverse order.


I think Newark could probably support a 2nd flight seasonally, in peak summer and winter travel time. I think most people would probably prefer to connect to other islands in HNL vs. a mainland hub since it gives people the most options in case of IROPS.


Good luck checking into your hotel. Occupancy at 90%+ more often than not.


I wish UA would make Hawaii flights to PDX. AS hoses us on their monopoly flights to Hawaii.


Do we have any idea when some of these red-eye flight out of EWR will start? Heading to OGG in Jan

Ed Travel

That is what I really dislike that Delta has only red eyes coming to the mainline. I’ll take the day flight 100 to 1 any time…It is easy to shift your circadian rhythms if you do a day flight (and keep your window open)…

Moishe Masugana

arrive at 6:20 am and then wait until you can check in to a room at 3 pm…no thank you, 6 hours of waiting in the lobby


is there such a thing as direct nyc to hawaii flights without having to stop?


Yes, definitely. I flew Hawaiian JFK-HNL non stop.


I hope they can make this work. I would think a redeye flight to HNL from EWR would be popular. It would kind of give you a jumpstart on your Hawaiian vacation.


This is very exciting.


The 830 to 130 PM flight direct from ewr is perfect in my opinion you get in right in time for check in and you have a nice portion of your first day when youd probably just relaxing anyway


Worst idea ever. Having to wait for hours to check into your hotel will make for some very angry passengers. I can see this drive passengers to other airlines.