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Friday, April 28, 2023

United Island Hopper: Recap

I was thrilled to be able to take the United Island Hopper eastbound from Guam to Honolulu – United 155 was a 737-800 series with no internet, however, I had plenty to see and do.  The views overall were excellent with some weather occasionally along the way.  I arrived to Guam Airport plenty early and visited the United Club for breakfast (checkout from the Hyatt Regency Guam was very fast).  There won’t be much food on the flights today so I will snack as we go. 

GUM-TKK (Chuuk):

The plane was fairly full for this segment, although I ended up having a middle seat open next to me which was nice. I reserved 8F for this trip hoping to get good window views.  They didn’t disappoint on arrival and departure:

Our ground time was about an hour with light rain throughout. The reports on landing weren’t kidding – it was a touch hard with heavy breaking though I was ready.  Fire trucks were waiting as scheduled.

TKK-PNI (Pohnpei):

Just an hour or so to get to Pohnpei.  Fast taxi and takeoff from Chuuk was no issue though the flight attendants were asked to stay seated for the first part.  Another bonus of an open middle seat!  Arrival had low clouds…and driving rain.  I attempted a passport stamp but was told no – after a brief wait I was back on the plane and we were ready to depart for Kosrae.  Making the run for a stamp was memorable!

PNI-KSA (Kosrae):

Due to weather our flight path was slightly adjusted after departure – this did not result in any major delay.  Overcast skies meant a limited view during this segment.  On approach there was a bit of clearing so I was able to take some pictures.  And then before we could takeoff, more rain.  We were slightly delayed leaving due to ATC clearance (crazy in my opinion…we’re the only flight out here!).  Best laugher: it was due to Oakland Center.  Only annoyance of the trip – a father and small girl joined my row, child in the middle seat who spent much of the segment kicking.  Patience!

KSA-KWA (Kwajalein):

“Welcome to Kwaj” - no pictures allowed during this stop – Army base!

KWA-MAJ (Majuro):

The sun had already set by the time we landed in Majuro, so no pictures possible.  Overall a quick turn though quite a number of embarking passengers. 


Full flight for this segment so my open middle seat was gone.  I took a nap which was helpful given the late hour.  When I arrived Honolulu at 3am, I quickly ran through Global Entry but didn't realize there wasn't access to the gates once through.  I had to wait for the 4:30am opening of PreCheck and ended up first in line - good to know for the future. 

Overall this was a fun excursion!  I’m so glad my schedule worked out in order to experience the United Island Hopper.  

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