August 9, 2019
United Airlines Flight 345
IAD - HNL 8:44AM EDT - 1:06PM HST
N655UA Old Globe Livery
10 Hours 22 Minutes
Seat 21L Economy Plus
I arrived at the gate around thirty minutes before departure, and the boarding area was quite small; in fact, the majority of the passengers were standing due to the lack of sitting space. Our gate was at the far end of Terminal C, where most wide body departures for United are located.
Around five minutes before boarding, the gate agent announced that there would be no free meals in economy, so it is a good idea to go get food. Had they announced this thirty minutes prior, it would have been helpful, but due to the distance from the gate to any of the restaurants on the terminal, it was impossible to get anything to eat in time. Soon enough though, the boarding started and it was quite quick.
I boarded the plane and was rapidly able to get to my seat. Our plane was a 26 year old 767-300ER, which was beginning to show its age. The window looked like it was going to fall apart, and the plane smelled terribly. I was booked in the exit row. If you are booking economy plus on one of United's 767-300ERs, I would recommend getting Seats 21D, 21E, or 21F. These seats have over 40 inches of pitch, 5 more inches than the standard economy plus seat. On long flights like these, the extra legroom is much needed.
We had to sit at the gate for a little while, but we ended up having a quick taxi to the runway. While taxiing, I began to notice that many of the other United jets had large chunks of paint missing. We had a smooth take off, and after reaching 10,000 feet, they announced that there would be a snack and drink service shortly.
I decided to go with the stroopwafel after reading some good reviews online. I was quite disappointed however, it was smaller than what I would get on a 1 hour flight on JetBlue. This was the only free food for the entirety of the flight, which is sub-par, even for the US carriers. Unlike United, both Delta and American offer free economy meals on their long-haul Hawaii flights.
After a few hours in the air, I began to feel quite hungry, so I decided to purchase their classic snackbox. It was nothing of substance, but I felt better after eating it. I had read online that this flight is infamous for running out of food to purchase, so if you plan to fly this route or the one from Newark, bring snacks! As we approached Hawaii, they came around again with another drink service.
While there were no free meals aboard this flight, the IFE was quite nice. It was much larger than many of the planes that I have flown on, and it had a lot of options for movies and TV shows. Keeping everyone entertained, and making the flight feel faster. The Live Map was good, but it had some errors, with the wrong time being shown for our flight
What really saved the flight, though, were the amazing flight attendants, and the views. United has the second largest share of passengers in Honolulu, with more than American and Delta combined. Because of this, the flight attendants are well trained for these Hawaii flights and they actively worked to bring the Hawaiian spirit to the flight.
They were also very nice, which really was needed on a flight like this. They all had something Hawaiian themed on, and made the flight shine. On approach into Honolulu, I had an amazing views of Oahu and the winglets on the plane, which provided some great wing photos.
Our final approach and landing was quite smooth. Because we arrived a little early, we had a short wait for a gate. After a few minutes, we were parked and deplaning.
Although the lack of free meals service was annoying, I would recommend this flight to anyone that needs an easy flight to Hawaii. The convenience of a non-stop truly beats the pain of a connection.
Final Rating: 3/5
August 17, 2019
United Airlines Flight 344
HNL-IAD 3:28PM HST - 6:28AM EDT
N662UA Old Globe Livery
10 Hours 22 Minutes
Seat 21A Economy Plus
After a wonderful vacation in Hawaii, it was time to fly back to DC. I was onboard the nonstop flight back, but this time, it would be a red-eye. The day before the flight, United sent out a warning to all passengers that it's a good idea to arrive to the airport 3 hours early. Once I arrived at the airport I realized that they were quite right.
If you are flying United from Hawaii, do not check your bag. The line to drop off your bag was longer than some security lines. After finally dropping my bag off, I turned around and the security line started right there. It had gotten so long that it went around the entire United/ANA check-in area. I was thankful that I had TSA Pre-Check.
The flight departed from gate G2 which was, luckily, quite close to some shops, so I was able to purchase some food before the flight. We began to board shortly, and there was some confusion among the gate agents because they did not know what group they had called. I found my seat, and was happy to see that my window did not look like it was falling apart this time. Our flight attendant seemed somewhat cranky, but she was also having to deal with many oversized bags that passengers were trying to put in the overhead bins.
Shortly after, we began to taxi, which ended up taking quite a while, but it provided some amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. After a quick take off and some amazing views of Oahu, we were cruising over the Pacific. The flight attendant, who I had thought was somewhat cranky, was actually very nice, and was quite happy to be flying from Hawaii. I decided to get the stroopwafel and classic snack box again because, although it may not have been the best food, I was not hungry for the rest of my flight from Hawaii.
Before I knew it, the sun was beginning to set, and I noticed that many people were falling asleep. I tried to fall asleep, to no success, so I decided to explore the IFE. I noticed that, although the IFE had many recent movies, some parts were very out of date; in fact, it still lists the 747-400 as a part of the United fleet even though it was retired in 2017. As we began to get closer to the US mainland, the flight attendants came around with a water service.
After finishing a couple movies, the pilot announced that we were beginning our final descent into Dulles. The descent was quite bumpy, but it provided some quality views of the Appalachian Mountains and Virginia.
We had a smooth landing and no problem taxiing to Gate C12. Deplaning was quick, and I was very glad that this gate was closer to the AeroTrain than our departure gate. It was also much closer to the shops so passengers could grab a quick snack after deplaning. I got my checked bag, and I was on my way.
Although there were no free meals, I knew to purchase snacks, and the flight attendants were extremely friendly. The plane felt newer, so overall, I felt that this flight was a little better than my flight there.
Final Rating: 4/5
Important tips before flying this flight
Arrive early. Security at Dulles and Honolulu can be very long, so it is important that you arrive early in order to make it to your flight.
Do not check a bag unless you absolutely have to. Checking my bag was quite a long process, and it made waiting for security at Honolulu even longer.
Bring your own food. United's meals are very poor. I was hearing people complaining about the quality of their food. Buy something that you know you will like.
Move around. During the flight, unless you can easily sleep, it is a good idea to move around.