The Island Hopper is an airline route between Guam and Honolulu, Hawaii, via several small islands in Micronesia and the Marshall Islands. The route, currently operated by United and originally by Continental Micronesia, is the only scheduled service for many of the islands visited en route.
This route began in 1968. At one point, the route was flown by Boeing 727 and had seven stops, one more than the current route. In 2008, the route accounted for 30% of Continental Micronesia's business.
The flight operates three times weekly as United Flight 155 from Guam to Honolulu, and Flight 154 from Honolulu to Guam. A mechanic and extra set of spare parts is carried on board the Boeing 737-800. Other peculiarities include having four pilots working on each flight. A pair of pilots fly the leg between Honolulu and Majuro and the other pair fly the remaining legs. Flight attendants also receive crew duty time exemption from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Since many runways in the islands are short, fire trucks are staffed and lined up beside the runway ready to cool the brakes and tires after each landing. The front rows of the economy class can be collapsed to accommodate stretchers in case of medevac.
From east to west, the airports served are:
|IATA code||ICAO code||Airport name|
|HNL||PHNL||Daniel K. Inouye International Airport||Honolulu, Hawaii, United States|
|MAJ||PKMJ||Marshall Islands International Airport||Majuro Atoll, Marshall Islands|
|KWA||PKWA||Bucholz Army Airfield||Kwajalein Atoll, Marshall Islands|
|KSA||PTSA||Kosrae International Airport (twice weekly only)||Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia|
|PNI||PTPN||Pohnpei International Airport||Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia|
|TKK||PTKK||Chuuk International Airport||Weno, Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia|
|GUM||PGUM||Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport||Guam, United States|
As Kwajalein Atoll is an active military base, passengers cannot deplane or take photos.
The total time from Honolulu to Guam, including time on the ground, is 16 hours. It takes 4.5 hours to fly from Honolulu to Majuro, followed by a 45 minute flight from Majuro to Kwajalein. From Kwajalein to Kosrae, the flight takes one hour. Kosrae to Pohnpei flight takes another hour. From Pohnpei, it takes 70 minutes to fly to Chuuk. The final leg, from Chuuk to Guam, takes 90 minutes.
- Drescher, Cynthia. "The United Island Hopper: Seven Islands, 20 Hours, One Plane". Condé Nast Traveler. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
- Dwyer, Chris (December 4, 2018). "Pacific Island Hopper: The world's most scenic flight?". CNN Travel.
- "'Air Mike' a rare bright spot in local aviation". Pacific Business News. Jun 1, 2008. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
- "Short Runways, Quick Turns, Wide Smiles: Island Hopper Is 'Lifeline' to Remote Communities". United Hub. 2017-05-23. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
- "Micronesia: Scenic island-hopping and a lesson in letting go". Honolulu Star-Advertiser. 2018-06-02. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
- Hanauer, Eric (2001). Diving Micronesia. Aqua Quest Publications. p. 13. ISBN 1-881652-19-X.
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