Review: United Airlines B777-2: Guam – Honolulu
With one of the most bizarre routes connecting the United States and a United States Overseas Territory, United Airlines offers regular wide body service between Honolulu, Hawaii and the Island Territory of Guam. The distance between these two places is 3,801 miles, making it beyond the comfortable reach of most narrow body United Airlines Boeing 737 products. I would test out this long haul flight on their Boeing 777-200 product on my return trip to Honolulu.
This post is one chapter on our trip on the United Island Hopper and to Oahu & Kauai, Hawaii, United States. This trip was redeemed through Alaska Mileage Plan, United Airlines Mileage Plus and Marriott Bonvoy. It was further enhanced through Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.
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Read more from this trip:
- Introduction: The United Island Hopper via Honolulu & Kauai, on United Airlines and Alaska Airlines First Class
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Vancouver – Seattle
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Seattle – Honolulu
- The Sheraton Waikiki, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #1: Honolulu – Majuro
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #2: Majuro – Kwajalein
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #3: Kwajalein – Pohnpei
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #4: Pohnpei – Chuuk
- The United Island Hopper – Flight #5: Chuuk – Guam
- The United Island Hopper – Top 5 Tips and Tricks
- The Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort, Guam
- The Sagan Bisita VIP Lounge, Guam
- United Airlines: Guam – Honolulu
- Bill’s Sydney, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
- Hawaiian Airlines The Plumeria Lounge, Honolulu, USA
- Hawaiian Airlines First Class: Honolulu – Lihue
- The Sheraton Kauai Resort, Poi’pu, Hawaii, USA
- Visiting Kauai Coffee Estate, Kauai, USA
- The Views at the Waimea Canyon State Park, Kauai, USA
- Sailing the Napali Coast, Kauai, USA
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Lihue – Seattle
- Alaska Airlines First Class: Seattle – Vancouver
Review: United Airlines B777-2 Guam Agana Antonio B Won Pat International Airport – Honolulu, Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Honolulu
At the time of writing, this was the only non stop flight between Guam and Honolulu for the day. Most irritatingly, at the time that I booked this trip at about three months before travel, United was showing Business Saver availability at 45,000 miles for this segment, or economy saver reward availability at 27,500 in economy.
To pay for this trip, I had transferred points in United Mileage Plus from Marriott Bonvoy. Thanks to the Marriott Bonvoy and United Mileage Plus preferred relationship, they offered a 30% bonus with an additional fall promotion promise of an additional 30% bonus. Unfortunately, United must have calculated the bonuses in batch processing and although the regular 55,000 United Mileage Plus miles arrived in my account almost immediately, the 30% bonus equaling 16,500 miles (that would have allowed me to qualify for the business fare) did not arrive for another 2 months.
Naturally that business class rewards saver availability evaporated by that time and I didn’t fancy spending 102,000 miles for Business “Anytime” Award space. I set an expert flier seat alert but the saver availability never came back for my date, even up to the date of travel with one seat left in the cabin.
Thanks to Micronesia being a specific zone, United Mileage Plus Unlimited Domestic Upgrades don’t qualify in this part of the world as a United Airlines Mileage Plus Premier. That left me with my best outcome in this scenario was an economy plus seat redeemed at the 27,500 United Mileage Plus award price point, before the change to United Dynamic award pricing. It turned out that there were over 6 passengers boarding with 1K status anyway, making any operational upgrades unlikely.
Boarding the Plane:
I had an overnight stay at the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort and a visit to the Sagan Bisita VIP Lounge at the Guam International Airport. The Sagan Bisita VIP Lounge visit was brief, but a better alternative than waiting out on the Guam Departures Concourse which was pretty uninspiring.
A boarding time was posted as 6:50 AM on the boarding card. However, it was already starting when I walked by the gate at 6:30 AM. After the briefest of lounge visits, I boarded through Gate 7 during Boarding Group 2.
Immediately after our boarding cards were scanned at the podium, we queued up for an additional screening before the jet bridge by US Customs and Border Protection. I am not sure on the whole Guam being part of the US or not for US Customs / Immigration.
I initially though that this was considered a domestic flight between a USA Territory and the United States. We then had a border screening prior to getting on and a customs card to fill out in flight. My United Airlines boarding card also read “INTL”.
UA 200 – Economy Class (XN)
GUM – HNL (Agana – Honolulu)
January 31, 2020
7:40 AM – 6:55 PM – 1
Booked: Boeing 777-200
Flown: Boeing 777-222A
On Board United Airlines:
After the US Customs and Border Protection agent stamped my boarding card with the US CBP stamp, I boarded directly onto the jet bridge and onto the flight.
It’s been a while since I’ve been on a wide body United wide body jet. The United Airlines Boeing 777-200 has five different versions and configurations. The configurations vary between having a 3 – 3 -3 across in economy class up to a 3 – 4 – 3 configuration in economy, which is much tighter in the seat. The version I was flying today was set up in a 3 – 4 -3 configuration in economy class.
I crossed through the galley and located my economy plus seat near the back at 39J. I was able to get myself assigned to the bulkhead seat at check in, courtesy of United Mileage Plus Silver status that allowed free economy plus upgrades at 24 hour prior to the flight.
The plane slowly filled up. Most of the passengers were older retiree travellers or younger islanders with short military styled haircuts who all looked like the new version of the current Magnum PI.
I chatted with my seat mates and learned that they were returning to Arizona in United States from the Philippines via Guam and Honolulu. That seems like a long way around, but perhaps it was more of a comfort thing by flying an American carrier.
Rarely and unusually, I was wearing Teva Sandals for today’s flight. It’s something I never get to do in Canada. Despite my comfortable leg room, the views of the crew station and the washroom aisle consisting of three washrooms wasn’t all to aspirational. The advantage was that there was no other passengers reclining into your space as a result of no seat in front of you.
We were underway fairly quickly from Guam International Airport. I didn’t get a look out the window being in the aisle seat. As we were underway, US Customs and Border Services cards were passed out, along with the announcement that passengers would have to pass through Customs on arrival into the United States and prior to any subsequent connecting flights.
Food and Beverage: Buy on Board
I wasn’t sure whether United would consider this to be an international flight where meals were provided as complimentary, or whether it would be a buy on board experience, as it seemed to be a pretty hybrid approach to everything else. The crew eventually came around with buy on board.
Given that I hadn’t even had a coffee or snack this morning before getting on the plane, I ended up taking a coffee and an $8 USD egg white flatbread with chicken sausage with a red pepper hummus that was reasonably tasty for buy on board.
This was paired with a Pacific Daily News newspaper (proudly part of the USA today network) that I picked up from the Sheraton Laguna Guam Resort on my way out.
A Biscotti cookie was also provided on a complimentary basis.
In Flight Entertainment:
Courtesy of the United App on your Smartphone
There were no in seat screens on this flight. The entertainment was provided through the united app. I eventually got into some older movies such as Pretty Woman running in the background.
Throughout the flight, the crew offered regular tap water service in the usual United cups. I had two small glasses. It’s never enough but at least it’s something.
Arriving to Honolulu:
After we touched down, I had a very brief entry process into the USA. I used Global Entry without issue. The US CBP officer asked if I had been to China due to the Coronavirus-19 (which was in it’s infancy at this point) and waved me through collecting my stub after I had replied in the negative.
I picked up a Hertz rental car from the Honolulu depot for the evening and drove myself to The Sheraton Waikiki. We were driving back to the airport the very next day to head over to Kauai on Hawaiian Airlines First Class Honolulu – Lihue so i figured we would take a car rental instead of two Ubers or two taxies. I got a nice Hertz President’s Circle upgrade to a Chrysler 300 in gangster white with black rims which was waiting in an assigned stall.
My Thoughts on the United Service between Guam and Honolulu:
The United flight from Guam to Honolulu was a pretty straight forward experience. There wasn’t much to report on, although I was surprised at how little food I found outside and inside the airport prior to getting on the plane.
There isn’t much on board in the form of economy food so I’d be prepared (as always) to pack food in advance or eat before you leave the hotel. The most exciting part of this journey is flying through one of the more remote air corridors in the world as you cross the Pacific Ocean.