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.

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Why we fly

By The Hub team, November 27, 2020

In October 2019, we launched a first-of-its-kind airline miles donation platform, Miles on a Mission. In the inaugural year, MileagePlus members donated over 70 million miles, with United matching over 20 million miles, to 51 organizations. These miles have allowed for these organizations to do important, life-changing, life-saving work in the communities we serve around the globe.

United cargo connects products to people all over the world this holiday season

By The Hub team, November 23, 2020

Critical medical shipments – Check.

High-tech electronics – Check.

2.7 million pounds of lobster? Check.


While this year's holiday gatherings will look a little different, millions of people around the world will still carry on the tradition of celebrating the holidays with a meal.

As the appetite for different types of food from all over the world increases, so does the need for safe and reliable transport. Fish caught in the United Kingdom can depart at breakfast and arrive in Washington D.C. in time for dinner. Thanks to United Cargo's expansive network, we are longer constrained by global distance or the seasonality of a product,

United Cargo plays a big role in transporting shipments with a limited shelf life around the world. Packed in between the latest electronics from Asia and the hottest fashion items from Europe, our aircraft carry a variety of perishable shipments like flowers, fruit, meat and vegetables, where speed and careful handling keeps them fresh. Whether it's cherries from Washington State or vegetables from Peru, our temperature-controlled shipping processes and vast global network helps move these commodities all over the world.

While the holidays are an exceptionally busy time of year for shipping perishable items, United Cargo transports these critical goods for people all over the world year-round. Earlier this year, United Cargo moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to support communities impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, with the holiday season here, we anticipate the cargo holds of our aircraft to be full of grocery store replenishments, including staples like turkey and ham, hitting shelves across the globe.

We take pride in our role to make sure perishables and produce arrive on time and at the peak of freshness. These products sustain, feed and nurture the world, and consumers around the globe depend on them every single day.

Since March 19, United has operated nearly 8,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 272 million pounds of cargo on those flights alone. United Cargo is proud of the role we play maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access commodities from all over the globe.

Bon appetit!

10 travel tips for the holiday season

By The Hub team, November 19, 2020

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

1. Download the United app for contactless bag check, payments 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 and touch-free onboard payments.

2. 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 coverings, social distancing and other health and safety measures we've adopted

3. Get familiar with CleanPlus

United CleanPlus℠ is our commitment to delivering industry-leading* cleanliness, plus putting health and safety at the forefront of your experience, in partnership with Clorox and Cleveland Clinic. We've implemented CleanPlus in a number of ways that you'll notice throughout your trip, as well as with some behind-the-scenes enhancements 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

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.

4. Don't forget essential documents

We've made a list of travel requirements and restrictions for every destination that you can check twice, or as often as you need before your trip. Just visit united.com/travelrequirements to get the details on COVID-19 testing, health documents and other things you may need before you fly.

5. Wear your mask

You may not notice our smile behind our face covering, but you can be sure that we're appreciative of all our travelers who arrive to the airport with their mask on, and continue to wear it over their nose and mouth at all times in the airport and on board. Make sure you review our requirements for face coverings, including what an acceptable face covering looks like. Bonus points if your mask infuses some holiday cheer!

6. A better boarding process for your safety

If you haven't flown with us in a while, you might want to get familiar with our new 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.

7. 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.

8. Check your flight status, important notices and weather

Check the United app regularly for the latest updates, weather conditions, flight status, gate 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.

9. Arrive early; avoid the stress

Airports can be busy, especially during the holidays. 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.

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.

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