The Hawaiian Islands: Sand, Surf & Tropical Trails - United Hub

The Hawaiian Islands: Sand, surf & tropical trails

By Bob Cooper

Why travel far away when you can enjoy beautiful beaches, water sports, snorkeling, rainforest hiking and tropical weather close to home? Hawaii has all that and more on its five major islands, known worldwide for their array of outdoor activity indulgences.

Oahu

Oahu, the state's most populous island, might be the best choice for people-watching, international cuisine, shopping and nightlife, but it also offers plenty of outdoor fun. Right in Honolulu, you can hike to the top of Diamond Head, the volcanic bluff that overlooks the city, or trek through a rainforest to Manoa Falls. Afterward you can cool off by body-surfing, boogie-boarding, stand-up paddleboarding or outrigger canoe paddling at Waikiki Beach. Elsewhere on Oahu, you can do the short hike to Makapuu Lighthouse, watch big-wave surfing at a North Shore beach, or ride horses or ATVs at 4,000-acre Kualoa Ranch, where dozens of movies have been filmed. All are within a 40-minute drive of Honolulu.

Beach path in Maui

Maui

Many activities besides sunbathing can be enjoyed at Kaanapali and Wailea, Maui's two major beach resort areas. At Kaanapali these include snorkeling right from the beach at Black Rock and a full menu of ocean sports. The long, wide beach at Wailea is fringed by a boardwalk beach path ideal for walking or jogging and world-class golf courses for perfecting your swing. Once you tire of the resort crowds, head to Hookipa Beach for the surfing scene or Haleakala National Park. The two most popular activities on Haleakala, a 10,023-foot dormant volcano, are hiking to or across the crater or biking down its twisty road—a 23-mile, 6,000 vertical-foot thrill ride on fat-tire bikes supplied by bike-touring companies.

Aerial view of the island of Kauai

Kauai

Intermittent year-round deluges in Kauai make the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which offers a variety of guided and self-guided tours, seem almost unnecessary. All that rain makes the whole island a tropical paradise. Hikers with sturdy boots and raingear adore the dozens of miles of trails that lace Waimea Canyon, the 3,500-foot-deep “Grand Canyon of the Pacific." When it's not closed by torrential rains, cliff-hugging Kalalau Trail on the rugged Napali Coast is an even more dramatic Kauai hike. River kayaking on the state's longest navigable river, the Wailua, is another great option. And when you're all tuckered out, you can still relax on the beach, as Kauai boasts the most miles (50) of beaches of any island.

Tropical beach on the "Big Island"

Hawaii

The “Big Island" of Hawaii offers many outdoor activities even during closures of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park for volcanic activity, which only covers one small corner of the island. The island is more than twice the size of Oahu, Maui and Kauai combined, with most activity locations found near the two large towns, Hilo and Kona (also called Kailua-Kona). Two black-sand beaches, New Kaimu and Punaluu, and the short hike to Akaka Falls are near Hilo, while Kona is best known among outdoor lovers for golf, snorkeling and the Hawaii Ironman course, which super-fit visitors are welcome to try.

Lanai Island

Lanai

Seekers of solitude eventually find their way to Lanai, with its single small town and handful of hotels. Most visitors reach Lanai via passenger ferry, which leaves five times daily from Maui. Sightings of dolphins and whales are common during the one-hour ($30) crossing. Besides golf and snorkeling, popular activities include horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking on the island's web of hundreds of miles of dirt roads and trails.

Getting there

After more than 70 years of service, we're proud to offer an expansive network with the most nonstop flights between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii. United offers numerous flights to Hawaii, including 18 nonstop routes and up to 37 daily departures from multiple U.S. mainland cities to Honolulu (Oahu), Kahului (Maui), Lihue (Kauai) and Kona (Hawaii), as well as flights from Los Angeles to Hilo (Hawaii). From premium cabins with flat-bed seats on select routes and an Economy Plus seating option with extra legroom and in-seat power to overnight return flights - for one more day at the beach, we are trying to make your journey as relaxing and seamless as possible. MileagePlus® Rewards can help pay for your beach resort once you arrive. Go to united.com or use the United app to plan your Hawaii getaway.

Search flights

10 tips for spring travel

By The Hub team, February 24, 2021

Whether you haven't flown with us for a while or just need a quick refresher before your spring trip, read this list of tips to know before your flight and arrive at the airport travel-ready:

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, travel assistance and more

Before your flight, download the United app to view your flight status, check in, sign up for flight notifications, locate departure gates, access our free personal device entertainment when available and more. We've also updated our app with new features that can make your trip a little safer, including contactless bag check.

Don't forget to use Agent on Demand for help with any and all questions you may have before your flight. This new capability is available at all our U.S. hub airports and allows you to use your own mobile device to contact a customer service agent via phone, video or chat to help with day-of-travel questions while you're at the airport. Learn more about Agent on Demand here.

2. Check out the Travel-Ready Center

Our Travel-Ready Center makes it easy to get a personalized overview of everything you need to do in preparation for your flight. Just enter your confirmation number or MileagePlus® number and you'll find detailed information on all the documents, tests and more that you'll need for your trip.

3. Read and sign the Ready-to-Fly checklist

Before completing check-in, all United travelers will need to read our Ready-to-Fly checklist and confirm that they understand and agree to our policies. These include:

Acknowledging that you haven't had any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 14 days

Agreeing that you will not fly if you have tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 21 days

Confirming that you will follow all policies regarding face masks, social distancing and other health and safety measures we've adopted

4. Arrive early; avoid the stress

Airports can be busy, especially during peak travel periods like spring break season. The TSA advises arriving at the airport two hours before your flight for domestic travel and three hours for international travel in anticipation of long security lines. This can help ease the stress when navigating busy check-in areas, security lines and crowded boarding gates.

5. Get familiar with CleanPlus

United CleanPlus℠ is our commitment to delivering industry-leading cleanliness as we put health and safety at the forefront of your experience. We've teamed up with Clorox to redefine our cleaning and disinfection procedures and Cleveland Clinic to advise us on enhancing our cleaning and disinfection protocols, like:

Disinfecting high-touch areas on board and in the terminal

Using electrostatic spraying, Ultraviolet C lighting wands and more advanced measures to clean aircraft cabins before boarding

Redesigning our mobile app to allow for touchless check-in and contactless payment, along with enhanced travel assistance features

Implementing high-efficiency (HEPA) filters on our aircraft that completely recirculate cabin air every 2-3 minutes and remove 99.97% of airborne particles, including viruses and bacteria

Studies show COVID-19 exposure risk is minimal when air filtration systems and masks are in use, so you can rest assured that the steps we've taken to keep you safe truly make a difference.

6. Wear your mask

Federal law requires all travelers to wear a face mask in the airport, including customer service counters, airport lounges, gates and baggage claim, and on board during their entire flight. Make sure you review the requirements for face masks, including what an acceptable face mask looks like.

7. Get ready for a safer boarding process

To make boarding even safer, we now have travelers board their aircraft from back to front. At the gate, just listen for your row number to be called – we'll ask a few rows at a time to board, starting with the last row of the plane. This helps everyone maintain a safe distance from each other during boarding without slowing things down. As you step onto the plane, flight attendants will hand each passenger a sanitizing towelette, which you can use to wipe down your seat to ensure it's extra clean.

8. Pack smart

Before packing your bags, check to see what exactly you can carry on and what you should plan to check. You can also copy your confirmation number into our Baggage Calculator tool to learn about the bag allowance included with your reservation, as well as the cost of checking any additional bags.

9. Check your flight status, important notices and weather

Check the United app regularly for the latest updates on weather conditions, flight status, gate numbers and seat assignments. You can also visit our Important Notices page to find essential information and updates about travel waivers, international travel, TSA and security, airports and United Club locations.

10. Relax and enjoy your flight

Once you're on board, it's time to sit back and enjoy your flight. Our flight attendants will be happy to help you with anything else you need.

United joins UNICEF COVAX initiative

By The Hub team, February 19, 2021

This week, we were honored to become the first U.S. airline to join the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to combat the COVID-19 pandemic by transporting the vaccine and other critically needed supplies to underserved areas of the globe.

"We are committed to helping the global community in any way we can, and we all must work together to do our part to bring this health and humanitarian crisis to an end," said Director of Cargo Specialty Products Manu Jacobs.

We will leverage our expertise to transport these critical pharmaceutical and healthcare shipments around the world safely, efficiently and expediently. We are proud to partner with the United Nations to support this global effort and provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

United cargo-only flights transport critical goods

By The Hub team

When the pandemic began, United Cargo knew it would be critical to utilize its fleet, network and industry-leading pharmaceutical handling processes to transport a COVID-19 vaccine when the time came.

Connecting vaccines to the world: United responds to mass distribution effort

December 22, 2020

On November 27, United Airlines became the first commercial airline to safely deliver the first batch of Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine into the U.S. thanks to a coordinated effort between United's cargo, safety, technical operations, flight operations, regulatory and legal teams.

Now as the entire shipping and logistics industry bands together to widely distribute vaccines, United is leveraging all of its flights, including cargo-only and those carrying passengers, to transport millions of vaccines to destinations throughout our network, including Honolulu, Guam and Saipan – the first of any carrier to do so.

Scroll to top