Preparing for United’s inaugural Hawaii – Dulles flight

After a whirlwind week the time had finally come to head home from Hawaii. And what better way to do so than on my third inaugural flight in 7 days? This time it was Honolulu to Dulles on United Airlines and, much to my surprise, my upgrade cleared 24 hours out from departure. I was quite ready for the celebration at HNL and then the big comfy seat for the flight to the mainland.


When I got to the gate area a few hours early and noticed that there wasn’t much going on I was a bit concerned. Eventually I found out from a local employee that the real celebration was actually planned for the reverse flight – Dulles to Honolulu – rather than this one, even though this really was the inaugural. Still, the local crew in Honolulu put in some great effort to make it a festive and enjoyable pre-flight experience for the passengers. And I helped out a bit, too.

While watching things get set for the party I started talking with the folks doing the work. We chatted about the new route and that’s when I learned the real party was going to be at Dulles. But there would be cake at the gate for this one and that was going to be fun I figured. After a bit more chatting the cakes showed up and they started to get set out for the event.


And then, for no particular reason, they accepted my offer to help cut and serve the cake. There’s only so much to do sitting in the gate area anyways and we were having a great conversation so I figured I’d pitch in. Oh, and they let me make announcements on the PA about the cake, too. That was entertaining. Much like my previous efforts on that front in Tampa a few months back, I was chastised for being a bit too much of a New Yorker. I forgot to finish my announcements with "Mahalo" this time around. Whoopsie.

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The crew showed up and they were mostly in the spirit, happy to be running the first flight but also understanding that it wasn’t really being celebrated as an inaugural.


And then it was time to board and head out on my way back to the mainland. Yeah, the celebration wasn’t over the top amazing, but it was still nice to see some other folks on the flight get excited for the fact that it was something special. And thanks again to the crew in HNL for letting me be part of the festivities.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. I see from the uniforms that this must be a continental operated flight….?
    it’s so weird that they still don’t have a unified uniform for the entire company !

  2. I didn’t know this was a new route. Lucky me that I snagged an award seat r/t for these flights next week a few months ago!

  3. Do you know if their nonstops from IAD to HNL have lie-flat (or mostly lie-flat) seats in first class?

    1. The seats are the old sCO 764 barcaloungers. I think I have some pictures to put in my trip report this week. One of the better F products headed to the Islands but not the best.

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