June 17, 2017

United Increases Service to Hawaii

Earlier in the week, United announced a massive increase in service to Hawaii.  United's long (this is actually the 70th anniversary of Hawaii service) had a large presence in Hawaii but this announcement takes things to the next level.

The airline announced both an increase in service from all United hubs as well as the introduction or lie flight seats on all overnight flights from Hawaii to the mainland to 5 United hubs including Denver!  While the flight from Hawaii to Denver isn't that long (~7 hours) the red-eye back home after a great vacation is always challenging.  The option to upgrade, purchase, or book an award ticket in first class with a lie flat bed is pretty awesome.  Denver's also getting a nice bump in service with seasonal service to several Hawaiian cities moving to daily, year-round.

The five hubs include Chicago, Denver Houston, Newark, and Washington, D.C.  While these flights won't get the full Polaris treatment, they will include the duvets and pillows provided by Saks Fifth Avenue also provided on long haul international flights with Polaris service.

The changes won't kick into until December 20th so now is the perfect time to start thinking about holiday travel or spring break 2018!

Award availability is spotty at best but there are some saver first class seats available for 80,000 United miles round trip.  There are other ways to book (i.e. Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles) for slightly less miles.

At least from Denver (focusing on the Maui route) it looks like lie-flat beds will be available in both directions.  Round trip first class tickets come out as low as $1,800 in January.

United lie-flat service from  Denver to Maui (OGG)
My strategy is to book a one-save award ticket in first and use cash for the other leg.  That will make the round trip in first 80,000 United miles and ~$1,800 in cash for two.  I have plenty of United miles and $1,800 is about what a round trip coach ticket would cost.  It's easy for me to rationalize using a chunk of miles to ensure we're in the front cabin for both legs of the trip.

This is an exciting development from United - can't wait to take advantage next year!

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