On May 1, 1947, the first United service to Hawai’i took flight. This year, we celebrate 75 years of connecting customers to this island paradise.
Back then, traveling to Hawai’i looked a little different than it does today. (You’ll never guess what was served on board before stroopwafel entered the chat.) Here are some interesting facts about the early days of our Hawai’i service:
• United applied for government approval to fly to Honolulu from San Francisco in 1944, a process that’s still required today when we launch a new route. We made our case based on the experience pilots had earned while flying military service across the Pacific during World War II.
• At the time, the flight from San Francisco (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL) was the longest over-water commercial flight in the world, at 2,398 miles.
• A United DC-6 Mainliner 300 carried passengers across the ocean, accommodating about 50 travelers.
• According to a vintage ad from 1949, the cost of a roundtrip ticket would have beenabout$270—equivalent to more than $3,000 today.
• Flight logs from those early trips note an altitude of 12,000 feet, much lower than today’s typical cruising altitude of around 35,000 feet.
• A mainliner menu lists squab as the main course of the inflight meal.
Today, up to 3 million passengers a year fly United to Hawai’i, and our team of more than 1,000 employees on the islands of Oahu, Hawai’i, Kaua’i, and Maui are active members of the community, volunteering and supporting local partners and welcoming you to the place they call home.
Here’s to another 75 years on the horizon!