Programs: *A Silver, AA Gold + Miles Scattered Everywhere.
UA SEA-MNL $730's AI - +Island Hopper return..
I'm seeing on exploretrip.com Oct16-28th for that price with the Island hopper on the return. It doesn't tell you that it's the Island hopper, but looking at the flight number/schedule you can see that it is. (Flight 172).
Supposedly this is a published fare that I can see on ITA, but not sure how to book it.
I am a little confused about the terminology of "island hopper". Does it refer to one specific way of going from GUM-HNL (or reverse), or can you do it by any combinations of segments, as long as you are going from GUM to HNL? Thanks!
The island hopper makes that specific route with all those stops and does it both ways. If you want to go from one of those islands to another, you can take the hopper and price the trip individually. It is like Liat in the Caribbean that hits a bunch of islands on its way from one major island to another; you can get on at any point along the way. But to go GUM to HNL or vice versa, I would skip the hopper as it just wastes time and there is no advantage for miles.
I did the island hopper last year for fun. Once is enough though. You stop at each island for about 40 minutes. On one island the left side of the plane gets off for a security sweep. On another island the right side. Most people don't believe me when I tell them that. It is a long day. Also, upgrades are not easy to get. I think you need to clear the entire island hopper trip and not island by island.
The trip report by Michael El is a good one.
Booking it isn't always simple. You may need to use a booking engine with multicity capability and choose the appropriate days for each segment, keeping transfer connections at <24 hours. I did LAX-HNL,HNL-GUM,GUM-NRT when I did mine. Crossing the date line makes it a little tricky. I think I booked on Orbitz.
As a diver with a WWII interest, the Island Hopper is amazing. You can go to Palau (Pelilieu) to dive and visit the sites of the vicious battles there, and then make a stopover on the way back at Truk and dive the Japanese wrecks, or explore Pohnpei or Majuro. Some have even made the stopover at Yap and taken the missionary plane over to Ulithi. There are hundreds of different combinations. I have been lucky on Island Hopper trips. All have been partly cloudy so you can see a thousand different atolls below with various shades of blue and purple. It is so worth the inconvenience to take it, as opposed to the non-stop to Guam. It seems UA has removed Cairns from that itinerary. Pre-merger, I was able to book a reward from Honolulu to dive the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea and do stopover at Truk on the way back for 40,000 miles. The same is true of Nadi, where you could fly on the return to Honolulu NAN-GUM and choose your stopover on the Island Hopper. As I see it, for just a few less hours of sleep, one could take the 6am to Guam via the Island Hopper and and have some fun, or take the afternoon non stop to Guam and read a boring book. Both flights arrive in Guam at about the same time.