Currently, you can fly from Honolulu to three cities on the U.S. East Coast non-stop year round. However, that’s changing next year as it seems that United taking Newark-Honolulu seasonal. This is, of course, United’s longest domestic flight, along with their longest Hawaii flight.
With the exception of the deep, dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic, United Airlines has operated its Newark-Honolulu flight without interruption since they merged with Continental Airlines back in 2012. Of course, that’s the same years that Hawaiian Airlines took a bold leap and began operating direct flights between Honolulu and New York JFK, which is, arguably, the better “New York” option when compared to Newark. But the two have operated simultaneously for over ten years. However, that’s about to change.
United is Taking Newark-Honolulu Seasonal
According to The Points Guy (TPG), United is taking its Newark-Honolulu flights off its schedule as of April 13, 2024. While they weren’t able to find a restart date, TPG was able to confirm with an airline rep that they do intend to bring this route back in winter 2024, meaning that, so long as nothing changes, United is taking Newark-Honolulu seasonal.
But why? No reps have given a reason as to why United is taking Newark-Honolulu seasonal, but it’s not hard to see what their mindset is. Looking at their recent Q3 2023 earnings results, United posted a record-high profit of $1.5 billion (pre-tax). Of course, a number of things got them to that number – strong domestic demand certainly helped, but rapid growth in international flying helped to push them to these heights.
Sure, demand across the Pacific remains soft, especially with travel between the U.S. and Japan and China remain soft, but United has been bullish on expanding international. Part of that is opening new routes to Asia, including flights from the continental U.S. to the Philippines. However, there are only so many birds to go around, so what are you to do? You cut under-performing routes.
Was the Newark-Honolulu route underperforming? I’m not sure, as I haven’t looked at its load factors. That said, as I mentioned earlier, it’s a LONG route. At 4,962 miles, it’s United longest domestic flight, and is only Hawaiian’s Honolulu-JFK flight at 4,983 miles, and Hawaiian’s Honolulu-Boston route at 5,095 miles. To put that into perspective, Honolulu-Haneda is only 3,854 miles, while Honolulu-Sydney is 5,066 miles.
A route that long can be difficult to fly profitably, especially when you consider the fact that United uses old Boeing 767s on the route, and there’s competition from Hawaiian at JFK. For these reasons above, that’s why I believe United is taking Newark-Honolulu seasonal. To free up jets so that they can focus on opening new international routes.
Look, news that United is taking Newark-Honolulu seasonal isn’t the end of the world. United serves Honolulu via many gateways across the Continental U.S. You could also opt for a one-stop connection somewhere like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, or Houston. Of course, you could always fly Hawaiian direct to JFK, though I wouldn’t recommend that. Then, there’s Delta, which still offers Honolulu-Atlanta, which means you can easily connect there, or even via Salt Lake City. And these options are before we begin discussing others such as Alaska (I did EWR-SEA-HNL before), American, and Southwest.
The point is, unless you really need a direct flight between Honolulu and Newark, this isn’t the end of the world.