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.

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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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How to change your flight, or cancel and rebook later

By The Hub team , April 04, 2020

We know people are taking a second look at their travel plans right now. If you're scheduled to travel March 10 – May 31, 2020 and would like to change your plans, there is no fee to do so, regardless of when you purchased your ticket or where you're traveling. This is in addition to our previous waiver, which waives all change fees – domestic and international – for tickets purchased March 3 – April 30, 2020. This is available for any of United's published nonrefundable fares. If you decide to cancel your flight, you can retain the value of your ticket to be applied to a new ticket without a fee. These electronic travel certificates are now valid for 24 months from the date they were issued. This includes all currently valid electronic certificates and all new ones issued on or after April 1, 2020. You might not see this policy change reflected everywhere right away – we appreciate your patience as we work to make that happen.

Eligible travelers on domestic flights and international tickets can request a refund on united.com or may call our contact centers if their flights have been severely adjusted or service to their destination suspended either due to government mandates or United schedule reductions related to COVID-19.

Certain tickets cannot be changed on united.com or the mobile app, including tickets booked through another airline (if the ticket receipt does not begin with 016). Please contact the original ticketing airline for changes.

Follow the steps below to stay up to date, change or cancel your flight.

Change your current flight:

  1. On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your flight information to retrieve your flight.
  2. Select "Change flight" and then "Edit" to make the following changes:
    • Date of travel or destination
    • Add a flight
    • Remove a flight
  3. Select "Continue" and choose a new flight option
  4. Continue through booking to confirm your new flight

Note: The change fee will display as waived, but any difference in fare may apply.

Cancel your flight and rebook later:

  1. On the united.com homepage, select "My Trips" and enter your reservation information to retrieve your flight
  2. Select "Cancel flight"
  3. Confirm flight cancellation
  4. If you have future flight credit, when you return to the reservation, select "Use Future Flight Credit" to shop for new flights and apply the credit towards a new flight.

Canceling or changing an award flight:

When you select "Cancel flight," you will have the option to cancel your award reservation and redeposit the miles or to cancel your award reservation and use those miles for another trip in the future.

*We're currently experiencing heavy traffic to united.com. If you experience an error while trying to change or cancel your flight, please try again later.

Click through the slideshow below for more detailed instructions:

​Start on the United homepage: ​

User can select 'My Trips' on the homepage widget to find and retrieve their reservation.

  • If you're not signed in or you're a guest user, enter your confirmation number and last name.
  • If you are signed in, you can select a trip from your current trips or select the 'Find another trip' link.

Working to bring people home – repatriation flights underway

By The Hub team , April 03, 2020

When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.

We have operated more than 68 repatriation flights from Panama City, Guatemala City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, bringing nearly 9,200 people home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles and beginning April 5, we will begin operating multiple charter flights between Delhi and San Francisco. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.

Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.

Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Managua, Nicaragua
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Munich
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo-Haneda
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Melbourne, Australia

We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.

United Zoom backgrounds for AvGeeks

By The Hub team , April 02, 2020

Calling all AvGeeks and travelers! Here's a fun way to take your next video call….from a United Polaris® seat, the cockpit or cruising altitude. We're introducing United-themed backgrounds for use on Zoom, a video conferencing tool that many people are using to stay connected.

So for your next meeting or catch up with friends and family, download the app to either your computer or mobile device to get started. If you've already downloaded Zoom you can skip ahead to updating your background image (see instructions below).

  1. Start here by downloading your favorite United image to your computer or mobile device. Just click "download" in the bottom left corner of the image.
  2. Next go to your Zoom app (you'll need to download the app to access backgrounds) and click on the arrow to the right of your video camera icon in the bottom of the screen.
  3. From here select, "choose virtual background" to upload your uniquely United photo.







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