Several years ago, I heard about an intriguing flight. United 154, better known as The Island Hopper. I read an account of someone flying UA154, got excited, showed it to my wife, and she immediately said there was no way she was ever taking that flight. Before you judge her too harshly though, you need to understand exactly what The Island Hopper entails. You see, although The Island Hopper has just one flight number, it is actually a series of multiple flights between Honolulu and Guam. A direct flight between these two cities takes around 7 1/2 hours. The Island Hopper takes almost 15 hours. To experience this, you have to voluntarily decide to add 7 1/2 hours to your travel time. A person would have to be crazy to do that, wouldn’t they?
Well, fast forward a few years and you find me sitting on my couch one morning. My phone buzzes with a notification. Then another. Then another. A couple of friends of mine are writing to me to let me know about a mistake deal on The Island Hopper. The routing is a little bit odd and would require a few positioning flights, but at $318, this is too good of a deal to pass up. I already know Chrissy won’t want to go. The boys will be in school. So I start looking for dates to go with friends. Unluckily, we couldn’t find any dates that worked for all of us. Luckily, I really enjoy solo travel. Within a few hours, my ticket was booked.
The Island Hopper varies depending on what day of the week you fly it. Due to my schedule, I couldn’t make it work with the extra stop at Kosrae (KSA). I was sad to miss it, but I still saw plenty of islands on my trip. My routing for the whole itinerary was Newark (EWR) – Honolulu (HNL) – 18 hour layover – Majuro (MAJ) – Kwajalein (KWA) – Pohnpei (PNI) – Chuuk (TKK) – Guam (GUM) – Manila (MNL) – 5 nights in the Philippines – open jaw – Beijing (PEK) – Chicago (ORD) – Baltimore (BWI). All for $318. Like I said, who could pass that up?
Ok, enough with the words. Let’s get to the pictures. That’s why people really take this flight, isn’t it? I took some hyper lapse videos on takeoffs and landings as we bounced along from island to island. My apologies in advance for the vertical video, but I was working with a handheld iPhone, a very scratched and blurry window, and no good way to hold it steady. I hope you can still enjoy it. Below the video, you will find a few of my favorite photos, all shot with my iPhone 7 Plus, all shot through a cloudy, scratched window. I think they came out well, considering what I had to work with, and that they give you an idea of the beauty you can see on UA 154, The Island Hopper.
I hope this has given you a glimpse into the amazing sights from UA 154. This post was only about The Island Hopper portion of my trip. Keep an eye out for more posts about the rest of the trip, including how I used miles and points for my positioning flights and my open jaw, and my experience diving some World War II Japanese wrecks in Coron. Overall, it was a great trip. Would I fly United’s Island Hopper again just for fun? Probably not. Am I glad I did it once? Absolutely! Let me know in the comments if you have taken UA154, and if so, what did you think?