Review of United flight Honolulu San Francisco in Economy

Airline United
Flight UA396
Class Economy
Seat 35L
Aircraft Boeing 777-200
Flight time 04:32
Take-off 31 Dec 19, 22:19
Arrival at 01 Jan 20, 04:51
UA   #89 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 320 reviews
By SILVER 2021
Published on 16th July 2020

PERfect MEDIOCRITY - United 777-200 domestic economy


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After 7 days in the paradise, it's time to return home to gloomy and frigid California. I could have chosen the non stop HNL-LAX that lands at 0600 but where's the fun in that? Decided to fly into my neighborhood airport of John Wayne (SNA) with a stop in San Francisco, where I will stop by the Amex Centurion lounge. 

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Before entering the check-in area, all carry ons and checked bags must be scanned for agricultural products and prohibited species being carried away from the island of Oahu. 

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After a short interaction with the very friendly agent (aka the kiosk), I received my boarding pass for both HNL-SFO and SFO-SNA legs. Didn't want to pay $35 for the overweight and oversized carry-on bag so decided to volunteer to gate check for free… Let's be honest, if you have 330 vacationers packed in a 3-4-3 777 returning home from Hawaii after Christmas, there will not be enough room in the overhead compartments.

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Lost my pre check earlier 2019 due to expired green card and USCIS's waiting period of almost 4 years to renewal… First time ever on my life my TSA experience that is swift, polite, and made me feel welcome. 

Hawaiian airlines plumeria lounge (interisland terminal)

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Located just 10 minutes away from the G concourse by shuttle at the interisland terminal, the Hawaiian Airlines Plumeria Lounge accepts priority pass (in my case given by my Amex Platinum). It's not worth paying for the visit, but definitely worth the ride from the G concourse.

It has a good selection of drinks, snacks, and budget alcohol. 

Comfort: 10
Meal/catering: 8
WIFI: 10
Services: 9


Boarding ua396 hnl-sfo

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Here's my ride today, N778UA, a 24 year old Boeing 777-222.

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Boarding was done by groups and surprisingly organized and free of gate lice… Guess people (even gate lice) don't want to leave Hawaii.

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There were two sets of aerobridges; however, only one was used for boarding.

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Taking my last gulp of fresh-ish air before sitting 5 hours in a metal tube. Last flight of 2019, first flight of 2020 (flying through the new year)

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As advertised, this 777 was in a 3-4-3 in Economy, and 2-4-2 in Business. 

united b777-200 domestic economy

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Seat pitch was (35 in.) at Economy Plus rows. A blanket was provided at every seat. Of course, when I say blanket it means sliver of polyester that's lighter than air, but still better than nothing.

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Seat pitch was 31 inches at regular economy rows,  enough with room to spare for my 170 cm / 5'6" and 46 kilos / 106 pounds frame.  

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The PDE holder works well with my ipad. If I take my glasses off, it looks just like if it were a part of the seat. Sidenote: United abbreviates personal device entertainment as PDE, which in math means Partial Differential Equations… 

Our route today was estimated at 4 hours and 39 minutes, with the actual flight time being 4 hours 33 minutes and 12 seconds.

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Tracked the flight via ForeFlight using ADS-B receiver Sentry Mini for accurate flight data.

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17 minutes behind schedule, we took off from 08R and climbed to 35,000 feet. 

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Wifi was provided at an additional charge of course. I chose not to purchase one because the service was very spotty on my last LAX-KOA flight, also serviced by Panasonic. $14 for the full flight seems a bit high.

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Some not so interesting movie options to fall asleep with

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About 70 minutes before arrival, flight attendants came by for the only drink and snack service on this flight. Sorry for the blurry picture it was really dark and I didn't want to turn on lights and wake up my snoring seatmate(s). 

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Got 2.5 hours or so of "sleep" before descending into San Francisco. 

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Short final for 28R at SFO

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THE end

See more



Cabin crew7.5

Hawaiian Airlines Plumeria Lounge


Honolulu - HNL


San Francisco - SFO



It was a very standard domestic economy flight. It got me from point A to point B on time, in one piece, in overall good condition. The cabin was fine, but not great. The cabin crew was doing their job, but nothing more. The entertainment is there, but not easy to get and was not refreshing. The catering was normal, but nothing remarkable.

Rated 7.8/10 for an efficient oceanic crossing.

Information on the route Honolulu (HNL) San Francisco (SFO)


  • Comment 558766 by
    ThomasDutch GOLD 509 Comments

    Hey Harry,
    Thanks for the report, but only one drink service with a stroopwafel served on a flight of 5 hours? I think you are very generous with your 7 as a mark, even for US standards.

  • Comment 558770 by
    Harry_He SILVER AUTHOR 66 Comments

    Hi Thomas
    I wouldn’t have rated a 7 if it were a day time trans con flight. However, since it was an overnight flight, most people would have wanted to sleep and it is totally understandable for the flight attendants to provide only one service. Thanks for reading!


  • Comment 558771 by
    grenouille 192 Comments

    A snack bag offer at boarding would be a good option..

  • Comment 559320 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5318 Comments

    Hi Harry, very nice and thorough report as always! It's cool to see a review on the UA 777 domestic subfleet as there aren't many out there. Though I'm not a big fan of UA, I do like that they still have a dedicated domestic widebody fleet; whereas all other makor US carriers have gotten rid of them. Overall, a pretty decent experience compared to the competition. The lack of seatback IFE is pretty consistent with competition on Hawaii-West Coast runs and the seats are well-designed with the tablet/phone holders at eye level. 3-4-3 on a 777 sucks, but it's the norm these days so no better or worse than most other 777s out there and the 35" pitch in Economy Plus makes it bearable.

    Thanks for sharing!

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