Facing a steady climb in domestic demand but border closures restricting international travel, United Airlines may soon start utilizing Boeing 737s from its Micronesia fleet on domestic flights. These aircraft are quite different than the rest of the United 737 fleet in terms of onboard amenities.
United Airlines May Utilize Micronesia 737-800 Fleet On Domestic Flights
United has told employees that the 737-800s (73U) typically based at Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport in Guam (GUM) may “temporarily” fly on domestic routes. United operates a subfleet of 737 aircraft for its “island hopper” service between Guam and Honolulu as well as to other destinations in Micronesia and East Asia. Air Micronesia (more colloquially and affectionally known as Air Mike) merged into Continental Airlines, which merged into United Airlines.
While the 73U has the same layout as two other 737-800s operating domestically (73Q and 73Y – 16 seats in first class, 42 seats in EconomyPlus, and 108 economy class seats), it is missing a trio of amenities passengers may be accustomed to:
- No Wi-Fi available
- No DirecTV available
- No streaming in-flight-entertainment (IFE) available
The seats do have pre-programmed movies available on the seatback screen. Power outlets are available in first class and EconomyPlus, like other United 737-800s. Placards are in English and Japanese rather than English and Spanish.
United Airlines may operate its Micronesia 737s on domestic routes in order to meet growing demand. Should that be the case, keep in mind that your flight will not have internet or streaming IFE onboard. Aircraft assignments are typically finalized 24 hours before departure, so check the “amenities” tab for your flight under flight status on united.com or the United mobile app to see if you have been assigned one of these aircraft.
What will they do to compensate for lack of cargo capacity in that region? I imagine these are just as important for cargo there as they are for passenger movement.
That’s a fair question. Just speculating, but the island hopper will continue to run, even if empty, for exactly that reason. I believe these aircraft were directed toward Japan and probably will return to Japan as soon as possible.
Its a grand total of two 737-800s (out of eight). You also fail to mention that United rotates their 737 fleet in/out of the GUM based on regular internals due to sea air corrosion mitigation. This is not unusual. We also don’t know if they’ll do any modifications as they enter service in the Continental US.
I think these are somewhat germane to the story don’t you?
This is new information to me. Thanks for sharing. The email I received did not mention number of aircraft or that this is part of a regular rotation. It did have a fairly long section on the tricked out Seats 1A/B.
I’ve flown one of these from GUM to MNL. And also ‘enjoyed’ the tiny United Club at GUM. It was a fun experience. A future goal for me is to visit more of Micronesia.
This does seem to be a special subfleet though since 1AB get a very large recline for the pilots since they fly 2 crews to operate all of the legs over the same flight. As a result, they don’t sell 2AB. I’m wondering if this is the case as well.
They will sell 2AB, but flight attendants have been instructed not to let passengers recline the seats all the way (apparently, there is a special button to make it “fully” recline — this I have to see!).
Cool leg rests on a couple of the F seats right? I think I flew this NRT ICN once and enjoyed it.
I flew one of these from HKG-SIN once. I was on an AC routing that got me to HK with a transfer to a United flight. I assumed that I’d be flying on a wide-body tag-on flight that went something like SFO-HKG-SIN, but they switched out the planes in HKG and put us on a micronesia 737. It was a bit of an odd experience flying from HKG-SIN on a United 737!