MIAMI – United Airlines (UA) will expand its services to the Aloha State this summer, announcing today that it will offer the only nonstop route between Orange County’s John Wayne Airport (SNA) and Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye Airport (HNL).

Customers can begin purchasing tickets for the route beginning February 13, with the first flight scheduled for May 6.

The flight will be serviced by a Boeing 737-700, departing Orange County at 8:30 a.m. local time and arriving in Honolulu at 11:30 a.m. The return flight will depart Honolulu at 12:50 p.m. local time, arriving in Orange County at 9:10 p.m.

The route joins the Chicago-based airline’s previously announced service between Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Kona International Airport (KOA), and Newark-Liberty Airport (EWR) and Kahului International Airport (OGG) in Maui. UA will operate a total of 21 different routes to Hawaii this summer.

“We know customers are dreaming of summer getaways and we want United to be their top choice for travel to Hawaii,” said Patrick Quayle, United’s vice president of International Network and Alliances. “Our new Hawaii routes from Chicago, Newark and Orange County….offer travelers even more options, greater convenience and shorter travel times to the fantastic outdoor offerings Hawaii has to offer.”

United Airlines Boeing 737-824. Luke Ayers/Airways – @texas.jets

Hawaii Safe Travels Program

The news comes in the wake of a devastating year, both for UA and Hawaii’s tourism industry.

United Airlines posted a $7.1 billion revenue loss in 2020. Meanwhile, in the first nine months of 2020, total visitor arrivals to Hawaii dropped by 71.6 percent compared to 2019. There was also a 71.7% decline in arrivals via air travel. This dip in visitors has hit tourism-dependent Hawaii hard, resulting in the nation’s highest unemployment rate.

“United is committed to helping safely restore travel to Hawaii and has introduced a number of solutions to make it easier for customers to understand and follow safety requirements throughout the islands,” the airline said.

Under the current Hawaii Safe Travels program, visitors are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken within three days of travel in order to avoid a 10-day mandatory quarantine. UA recently announced a new digital solution called “The Travel-Ready Center,” where customers can review COVID-19 entry requirements, find local testing centers, and upload vaccination and test results to a single database.

Featured image: United Airlines N24715 BOEING 737-724(WL). Photo: Liam Funnell/Airways