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Home Travel Oops: United Airlines’ “Time Travel” Flight Lands In Wrong Year

Oops: United Airlines’ “Time Travel” Flight Lands In Wrong Year

by Staff

Some passengers who were hoping to celebrate the New Year twice experienced a very poorly timed delay…

United’s Guam to Honolulu flight doesn’t “fly” back to 2023

Thanks to the International Date Line, there are some flights that arrive a day before they depart. While this can be a cool experience any time, it’s especially cool if you take off on New Year’s Day and land on New Year’s Eve, as you’re going back in time by a year (or something like that).

A few days ago, United Airlines was promoting on Twitter/X how “you only live once, but you can celebrate New Year’s Eve twice.” The airline was highlighting its daily Guam to Honolulu flight, which is scheduled to operate at 7:35AM, and land at 6:50PM the previous day.

This is especially cool for those flying on January 1, since you can celebrate New Year’s Eve in Guam, get on a plane, and then celebrate New Year’s Eve in Honolulu. While there are some other flights out there that land the prior day, this is the only flight operated by a US airline that lets you go “back in time” so much.

Well, as it turns out, United was wrong. Not only do you only live once, but you can also only celebrate New Year’s Eve once… at least if you took United’s flight from Guam to Honolulu.

As it turns out, this flight ended up being delayed by just over six hours. Instead of departing at 7:35AM on January 1, it instead departed at 1:49PM. And instead of landing at 6:50PM on December 31, it instead landed at 12:34AM on January 1. Ouch.

United’s Guam to Honolulu flight was delayed

Talk about bad luck!

United’s Guam to Honolulu flight has to be one of the most punctual flights in United’s system. Statistics show that the flight is on-time 95% of the time, and even when it’s delayed, it’s usually very minor. The last time that this flight ended up arriving in Honolulu after midnight was on April 20, 2023, so that was over eight months ago. Talk about bad luck when the next flight to have such a delay is the New Year’s Day flight.

So, what went wrong with this flight to cause the delay? The flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER with the registration code N2747U. Unfortunately the cause of the delay on the Guam to Honolulu flight was the plane simply being late inbound. On December 30, the aircraft operated punctually from Hong Kong to San Francisco, but that’s when the reliability stopped:

  • On December 30, the plane was supposed to fly from San Francisco to Honolulu departing at 9:35AM and arriving at 1:15PM; it ended up being delayed by nearly nine hours due to a maintenance issue, departing at 6:06PM and arriving at 9:17PM
  • On December 30, the plane was supposed to fly from Honolulu to Guam departing at 3:05PM and arriving at 6:55PM the following day; it ended up being delayed by around 17 hours, departing at 7:57AM the following day and arriving at 11:48AM the day after that (I’m not sure if this additional delay was due to crew availability, or some other airport restrictions?)
  • The plane was then supposed to spend around 12 hours on the ground in Guam, so that at least absorbed some of the delay, but the plane ended up being turned around in Guam in around two hours, as it arrived at 11:48AM and took off at 1:49PM
This flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER

Bottom line

You can’t predict when maintenance issues will happen, though the timing of one delay on New Year’s Day sure seems unfortunate. United was promoting its Guam to Honolulu flight that lets you take off in 2024 and land in 2023, as it’s the only such flight operated by a US airline. Unfortunately due to a maintenance delay on a previous flight, the service was delayed by around six hours, and ended up landing in Honolulu just after midnight.

There are certainly worse things that can happen to you, but I just hope most passengers on the flight didn’t specifically book it because they wanted to celebrate the New Year twice.

What do you make of this “year-long” United delay? 😉

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