After United Airlines was chided for high fares to Guam in the aftermath of Typhoon Mawar, the carrier is pushing back, noting its humanitarian efforts and emphasizing that it is offering a “special fare” despite high demand to the US territory.
United Airlines Sends Humanitarian Flight To Guam, Caps Fares
Earlier this week we wrote about how James C. Moylan, the non-voting delegate to the US House of Representatives who represents Guam, penned a letter to United threatening a Congressional investigation for what he viewed as airfare that was too expensive.
We asked United to respond and received the following response:
We have taken steps to remove complicated itineraries to Guam that include other carriers from our website. Additionally, we continue to assist customers with flight changes for their travel to or from Guam. For travel to/from Guam, we have recently launched a special fare between Guam and the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, Japan, Philippines through June 27. Additionally, we have a travel waiver in place through June 5 for those who were scheduled to fly to or from one of the affected airports.
Our first humanitarian flight arrived in Guam on Sunday, our second flight arrived Tuesday, both carrying supplies for relief and reconstruction. We’re continuing to assess additional humanitarian flights and how we can best help our United family in Guam and the broader community. As of May 30, we have relaunched scheduled, commercial service, albeit on reduced schedule, and these flights to key cities like Tokyo, Manila, Saipan, and others to come online shortly will further assist with travel and shipping needs to/from Guam.
In looking at fares, United does seem to be capping or at least discounting fares to Guam. For example, a one-way ticket from Los Angeles to Guam via Honolulu departing in a few hours is $961 and books into unrestricted economy class (meaning it is fully refundable):
Meanwhile, an unrestricted ticket to Honolulu on the same first leg is nearly double the price:
Yes, distance and price do not necessarily correlate and airlines charge a premium for nonstop flights. However, Guam fares are often much higher and the point here is to represent that fares do appear to be capped.
United’s Humanitarian Efforts On Guam
In a separate note, United Airlines also shared about its humanitarian efforts on Guam in the wake of Typhoon Mawar. Earlier this week, a Boeing 777 made a humanitarian mission to deliver needed goods to Guam:
In the wake of Super Typhoon Mawar, today United Airlines launched its first humanitarian flight to Guam, a Boeing 777 from San Francisco, loaded with supplies from its disaster relief partners, including The American Red Cross. Aid in this first shipment includes cases of blood product, each blood donation has the potential to save more than one life; 480 clean up kits including work gloves, trash bags, collapsible mop, cleaning materials, etc.; and 5,760 comfort kits including hygiene products like soap, toothpaste, tooth brush, facial tissues, etc.
United, which has served Guam since 1968, has 800 employees on the island and has been “actively checking on their welfare, assessing damage at the airport, making plans to assist in the humanitarian response and working to provide access to and from the island.”
Despite Congressional uproar over high fares during a period of natural disaster and exceedingly high demand, it appears that United has not only capped fares, but is pouring in humanitarian relief to Guam.
image: United Airlines