Being based in New York, I’m normally a Caribbean guy, but I decided to give the non-stop United Newark (EWR) to Honolulu (HNL) flight a try in “First” (it’s a BusinessFirst seat) on the 767-400ER. The trip came about thanks to a Hyatt diamond suite upgrade that I was able to confirm at the Andaz Maui. I redeemed 46,000 United MileagePlus miles for the one-way from New York to Maui (OGG). There are actually quite a few programs that offer a cheaper redemption for that same non-stop United flight outside of MileagePlus, but I wanted the Island Air partner connection onwards to Maui since my friend was already booked on that flight. On United’s own metal, a one-way award would have been 40,000 points, the Island Air connection added an additional 6,000 miles to the price, not really a big deal with my current MileagePlus balance. Buying the last minute one way Island Air flight would have been cheaper, but this was just easier (and sometimes that’s important too…just not often). In any case, I was actually really excited to fly on United’s longest domestic flight (11 hours and 23 minutes and 4,962 miles)…and more importantly, have lie-flat seating all the way from New York to Hawaii.
This is part one of a five part trip report from my recent travels to Maui.
- United Club – Newark Terminal C near Gate 120
- United BusinessFirst – Newark (EWR) – Honolulu (HNL), United’s longest non-stop domestic flight
- Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort – Diamond Suite Upgrade
- American Airlines Flagship Lounge – LAX Terminal 4
- American Airlines Airbus A321 Transcontinental First Class – LAX – JFK
Premier Access priority boarding, though by the time we arrived from the lounge there was no one remaining in the gate area…
As it does on it’s international routes, the 767-400ER has BusinessFirst configured in a 2-1-2 flat-bed seating layout. Seats have a 180 degree recline and a width of 21 inches. I actually found my seat much more comfortable than my recent Delta ONE B777-200LR seat on the longer SYD-LAX flight (see – Trip Report & Review – Delta ONE Sydney (SYD) – LAX (BusinessElite)), though Delta service killed the sub-par United service I received on this flight. Pillow and blankets were provided, but don’t expect any turn-down service!
USB and regular power outlets at each seat as well as a TV with a far superior picture than the worn out Delta 777s. Quite the decent library for this “domestic” flight as well.
Warm towels and OJ/champagne were handed out upon boarding. Besides meal delivery, that’s sort of where the service ended. The flight attendants clearly felt that they were simply working a long domestic flight.
No menus were provided for meal options (again this is sold as a First Class flight, not BusinessFirst), but we were given the following choices:
- Eggs with turkey bacon and spinach accompanied by a fruit platter and Greek yogurt
- Cold cereal accompanied by a fruit platter and Greek yogurt
- Biscuits provided to all
I went with the hot option and was impressed by the amount of food for the domestic breakfast…
- Tomato soup with a chicken wrap
- Tomato soup with a vegetable wrap
Besides meals, we saw the flight attendants 3-4 times for water refills in First…that was all! Snack baskets were in the galleys (as were all the flight attendants). Snacks included kettlecorn, brownie brittle (amazing), bananas, almonds, and chips.
This was my favorite interaction with one of the flight attendants as I walked into the galley about 6 hours into the flight (this was my second time asking for water).
Adam – Hi, can I get a refill of water (only those tiny Dasani water bottles were provided and no one was coming around often enough)
Flight Attendant – Here, just take this bottle (the large Dasani one they use to fill up everyone’s glasses) so you don’t need to keep asking. I’ll kill you if you tell anyone that you got it from us.
My least favorite thing on this flight was the pre-recorded message to ensure that your seat-belt was fastened. This was a long flight and people sleep, some with the headphones on and connected to the IFE system. Each time the announcement would come on (at least 8 times on this flight over the ocean) it would blare through both your headphones and the cabin speakers. Why not just illuminate the light? The volume used for these announcements was unbelievable (see the notice on the TV below).
Despite the above, I’m really happy I selected this flight. I was not expecting international BusinessFirst service or food. I simply wanted the lie-flat seat and a direct flight from New York to Hawaii. I truly enjoyed the seat/bed, IFE system, and the food was fine (I had more brownie brittle than necessary). This flight was by far better than the domestic First options I would have otherwise had to take on any connection from ORD, DFW, DEN, SFO, LAX, SEA, etc. More on the easy connection to Island Air in the next post.
BTW, while this is United’s longest domestic flight on the return, Hawaiian’s JFK flight is actually 19 miles longer.
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