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The IRROPS saga of UA154 (Island Hopper) of Friday the 13th

The IRROPS saga of UA154 (Island Hopper) of Friday the 13th

Old Feb 16, 15, 9:08 pm
  #31  
 
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Great story and amazing that passengers kept relatively calm about the entire ordeal!
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Old Feb 17, 15, 10:00 am
  #32  
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Some more photos from Majuro:

Sunset on MAJ's only two lane road:


Travel companions and I getting dinner at Tide Table:


3-pack of those 50-minute Internet cards I got at the store next to the Lojkar hotel & apartments in MAJ:


Back on the plane, view out the window of the rescue plane. What does it take to get a part to Majuro? It takes flying that 737-700 nearly a Transcon's distance and back:


Back on the plane, United worked through the night with a local hotel and restaurant to get together enough of these improvised tray breakfasts for everyone on board:
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Old Feb 17, 15, 11:00 am
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by aoumd View Post
Back of the bus. Regular economy.

Plane does NOT have power nor does it have Wi-Fi, I brought external iPhone battery to keep my phone charged since it's the best camera I have, and helps pass the time (in airplane mode, of course!).

For United to put Wi-Fi on these flights would be huge, since the United connection is better than what's available on land in these islands.
I was just thinking that all the airport employees and passengers would prob try to connect to the plane's wifi since it would be far cheaper than what you describe. UA claims that they will have wifi on every plane so maybe.

I have an external battery, but if they had wifi, I dont know if I'd beable to make it for all those flights.

In a way, its kind of nice you got stuck, giving you a chance to explore the islands a little. I was thinking the same thing when that plane got diverted to midway island.

If they ever get power on board, I think I might seriously consider booking a trip.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 11:10 am
  #34  
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
I was just thinking that all the airport employees and passengers would prob try to connect to the plane's wifi since it would be far cheaper than what you describe. UA claims that they will have wifi on every plane so maybe.

I have an external battery, but if they had wifi, I dont know if I'd beable to make it for all those flights.

In a way, its kind of nice you got stuck, giving you a chance to explore the islands a little. I was thinking the same thing when that plane got diverted to midway island.

If they ever get power on board, I think I might seriously consider booking a trip.
I have an iPhone 5C and used an IntoCircuit PowerBank (Model T5000) external battery which seems to be able to refuel my phone 1.75-2 full charges, so leaving HNL I have almost 3 full charges of my phone available for the 14-hour flight to GUM. I recommend it as it's the best external battery I've had.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 11:12 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by DiverDave View Post
I flew the Island Hopper three times between 1997 and 2005, all HNL-KWA. (In 1997, it was a 727 and had the extra stop at Johnston Atoll.)

I recall the mechanic, but do not recall an extra set of pilots. Perhaps the rules changed in the past 10 years.

Quite a trip!

David
Did they make you have to pull your window shades down at Johnston Atoll? I thought I remembered reading that somewhere, due to the nature of what the USDOD was doing there before it closed.

Also, since your username implies you like to dive, I read that TKK has some of the best diving around, and the diving opportunities at TKK were publicized all over the island (posters in terminals, "Diver's Haven" on the license plates, pax T-shirts, etc.).
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Old Feb 17, 15, 11:18 am
  #36  
 
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Originally Posted by aoumd View Post
I have an iPhone 5C and used an IntoCircuit PowerBank (Model T5000) external battery which seems to be able to refuel my phone 1.75-2 full charges, so leaving HNL I have almost 3 full charges of my phone available for the 14-hour flight to GUM. I recommend it as it's the best external battery I've had.
A few years ago, I started to record gps tracks using my phone, and even in airplane mode, it only lasts about 6hrs (TCON).

I bought a pretty bulky external battery that would probably keep my phone charged long enough. But, I know my phone burns the most energy while the screen is on and while using wifi. so if I spent the whole flight browsing the net or watching a movie, I think I might have an issue.

I guess I should have asked, but I'm assuming the plane doesnt even have any IFE.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 11:20 am
  #37  
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
A few years ago, I started to record gps tracks using my phone, and even in airplane mode, it only lasts about 6hrs (TCON).

I bought a pretty bulky external battery that would probably keep my phone charged long enough. But, I know my phone burns the most energy while the screen is on and while using wifi. so if I spent the whole flight browsing the net or watching a movie, I think I might have an issue.

I guess I should have asked, but I'm assuming the plane doesnt even have any IFE.
The flight does have drop down screens with a movie HNL-MAJ and TV shows MAJ-KWA-KSA-PNI-TKK-GUM. And the takeoffs and landings are spectacular, for the first and last 5 minutes at each stop. I sat on the right side of the plane and loved the views, just pick a seat without too much view obstruction from the wing.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 11:35 am
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by schnitzer View Post
Cool Story! Tell it again! =D

But seriously, that's an awesome adventure.

I will also be flying this UA154 all the way to HKG on April 3rd!
There's some great tips in your story. If there's anyone else doing the same. Please reach out!
Maybe people flying this route should put their date in wiki so others can know and meet up. Maybe a new thread though.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 11:49 am
  #39  
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
Maybe people flying this route should put their date in wiki so others can know and meet up. Maybe a new thread though.
There have been lots of threads on the Island Hopper, and there's even a consolidated Q and A thread somewhere. Sometimes I wonder if there should be a consolidated general Island Hopper thread, but at the same time, each story is so different and "roll calls" for any given date would easily get buried.

As an aside, both this experience and some things I've seen when looking up this flight's OTP beforehand make me debate creating and maintaining a general "Island Hopper Reliability/IRROPS" thread. The historic data chart on Flightstats.com doesn't really show the gravity of what happens when this flight has issues, and the nature of this flight means that passengers can't just rebook on another flight same-day, or even next-day.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:06 pm
  #40  
 
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Thank you for sharing your adventure! I visited Yap and Palau in 2010 and regret not choosing the Island Hopper routing. A return trip to see the other FSM islands is on my to do list.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:14 pm
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by aoumd View Post
There have been lots of threads on the Island Hopper, and there's even a consolidated Q and A thread somewhere. Sometimes I wonder if there should be a consolidated general Island Hopper thread, but at the same time, each story is so different and "roll calls" for any given date would easily get buried.

As an aside, both this experience and some things I've seen when looking up this flight's OTP beforehand make me debate creating and maintaining a general "Island Hopper Reliability/IRROPS" thread. The historic data chart on Flightstats.com doesn't really show the gravity of what happens when this flight has issues, and the nature of this flight means that passengers can't just rebook on another flight same-day, or even next-day.
Is it in at least in the Master Wiki? I admit I did not look at it before posting my last reply.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:32 pm
  #42  
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Originally Posted by eng3 View Post
Is it in at least in the Master Wiki? I admit I did not look at it before posting my last reply.
Didn't see in the Master Wiki, only a reference to a "Best Side to Sit" link for the Island Hopper which does not seem to link to a thread when I tried clicking on it.

I sat on the right and had great views.

Last edited by aoumd; Feb 17, 15 at 12:38 pm
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:38 pm
  #43  
 
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Thank you for sharing!

Island hopper definitely on my bucket list. While your trip was somewhat wrecked, glad you kept a positive attitude and UA was barely (but successful) with making sure you were taken care of.
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:48 pm
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by aoumd View Post
Did they make you have to pull your window shades down at Johnston Atoll? I thought I remembered reading that somewhere, due to the nature of what the USDOD was doing there before it closed.
I don't remember pulling down the shades, but there were armed guards walking around outside of the aircraft.

Originally Posted by aoumd View Post
Also, since your username implies you like to dive, I read that TKK has some of the best diving around, and the diving opportunities at TKK were publicized all over the island (posters in terminals, "Diver's Haven" on the license plates, pax T-shirts, etc.).
TKK is quite the diving destination, though sadly I've never been there. My first trip on the I.H. was a diving trip though. I dove 4 or 5 days out of Ebeye, and then caught an CW (Air Marshall Islands) flight to BII (Bikini) for a week of diving there. That was when the land-based diving operation was still open. A truly unique experience.

David
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Old Feb 17, 15, 12:49 pm
  #45  
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Folks, the FUNNIEST part of this entire trip just occurred in my email inbox less than an hour ago, nearly a full day after returning home:




Last edited by aoumd; Feb 17, 15 at 12:59 pm
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