Flying on United to Hawaii

United sent an email to me about a sale they were having for United’s 35th anniversary so I decided to use my newly acquired United miles from my United MileagePlus Explorer (MPE) card. I ended up not flying one of the discounted flights so my flight ended up being 45,000 points and $11.20.  If I had paid cash I would have paid over $700, which made my redemption of United miles valued at 1.57 cents/point (cpp).

I flew out of SFO and used 1 of my complimentary United Club passes from the MPE to get into the lounge. This was my first time in a lounge so I was excited and nervous. I enjoyed the lounge. The food choices were nice snacks and the espresso machine made a nice latte. A bar is available but I didn’t visit it this time around.

Another benefit from the United MPE card was my 1st checked bag was free.  I saved $50 for my round trip flight because the 1st checked bag on United is usually $25. This card saves $100 for a round trip flight for two people traveling together.

The United Club lounge was nicely furnished with almost no hanging decorations, although the architecture could be considered artistic.  I arrived around 10:30 AM so I barely made it in before the breakfast snacks were changed. I got some yogurt, a blueberry muffin (my favorite), a latte (no mocha options but a hot chocolate + espresso should work), and some fruit. I was listening to music and using my laptop so I was unaware of the switch from breakfast to lunch snacks, but I grabbed some carrots and another latte shortly after finishing my breakfast snacks.

My flight to Honolulu was enjoyable. My United MPE card gave me Priority Boarding Group 2 so I was able to get into the airplane, find my seat, and store my overhead bag quickly and early. I used to only fly Southwest and their 737 airplanes so it was nice flying on a 777 for the first time. The Economy seats on this 777 were just fine for me, at 6’2″ with 36″ legs, even though the person in front of me reclined at one point.

I was thinking about buying Wi-Fi access on my phone so I could talk to people via Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, but I forgot my United password (and subsequently locked myself out) so I only used the complimentary Wi-Fi and entertainment found in the United mobile app. I originally booked my flight before I had my hotel so I needed to make a change to my flight which incurred a $75 change fee. Instead of worrying about eating up $75 of my trip money I used the airline fee credit on my Premier Rewards Gold (PRG) card to have the fee reimbursed.  By having United selected as my airline for my PRG I ordered some food (pasta and meatball) and tea which ended up being “free” because of the airline fee credit.

Pasta and meatball dinner and black tea

When I left I used my 2nd United Club pass at the HNL lounge and I was impressed in a different way. The Club was more spacious because it was longer, but the furniture and decorations were rather dated. There were maybe 15 people in the lounge which meant there were about 4 seats for each person which meant plenty of room for everyone.

For my HNL to LAX flight I was on a 777 again, but from LAX to SFO I was on a 737 which meant de-boarding the plane in SFO took forever. Each flight I was in Economy, no Economy Plus or business for me. Seat E going to HNL was cushioned and comfortable, but going to LAX I was in seat H and that seat was not so soft.  There were plenty of open spaces if I wanted to change to a more comfortable seat but I decided not to.

A TV screen was featured on the backs of each seat during my flight from LAX to SFO so everyone on board the flight was able to either watch the Food Network, courtesy of DirecTV, or pay to change the channel.

The 777 flights were over 4 hours each and we cruised at 36,000 feet, but the LAX to SFO flight was only 55 minutes so we only had about 10 minutes of flying leveled off. My ears hurt more on the shorter and lower flight than on the longer and higher flights which I found strange.


You can apply for the Premier Rewards Gold card from American Express from this link and earn 25,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $2,000.

3 thoughts on “Flying on United to Hawaii

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