Jan 15, 2024

Lujan asks United to ease travel through Hawaii with new baggage handling procedure

Sen. Jesse Lujan on Monday wrote to United Airlines officials to take advantage of an additional baggage recheck point to make traveling through Hawaii easier for Guam passengers.

Lujan is another local elected official who has reached out to United about traveling through Hawaii.

Del. James Moylan held a virtual meeting with the United corporate team to address the inconveniences Guam residents face when traveling through Hawaii to get to one of the contiguous states.

Passengers arriving from Guam at the Honolulu International Airport must retrieve their luggage at the carousel, walk through Customs and Border Patrol, drag their luggage to the second floor, and re-check in their bags.

The passenger would then have to go through the entire Transportation Security Administration clearance process before heading to their gate, a release from the delegate’s office states.

Lujan wrote to United Airlines Guam Managing Director Sam Shinohara and United Airlines Global Managing Director Dan Weiss to use an additional baggage recheck point made available by TSA, which will significantly reduce the burden endured by Guam-based flyers transiting through the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport, in Honolulu, a release from the senator’s office said.

“By making use of the additional baggage recheck area provided by TSA, United Airlines can significantly enhance the travel experience for Guam passengers, ensuring a smoother and more efficient transit process. This small adjustment can go a long way in demonstrating United Airlines’ commitment to customer satisfaction and convenience,” Lujan wrote to Shinohara.

On Dec. 16, 2023, Lujan was one of several island leaders who met with the acting Deputy Commissioner for U.S. Customs and Border Protection Pete Flores and other U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials who were visiting Guam and touring the A.B. Won Pat International Airport Authority.

After asking about what procedures or policies could be changed to eliminate the long walk imposed on Guam-based travelers, Lujan and the other local officials were informed that TSA made an additional baggage recheck area available to United Airlines and its use would remove the extensive hike across the airport and the time it takes for Guam-based passengers transiting through Honolulu to recheck their baggage in the current procedure.

“It is my hope that you will consider this suggestion and explore the possibilities of utilizing available resources to benefit your valued Guam passengers transiting through Honolulu,” Lujan communicated to the managing directors in his letter.

Lujan also reminded United top management that it wasn’t too long ago that meals were not being served to Guam-based passengers during the eight-hour flight between Guam and Hawaii, and stressed this current baggage recheck inconvenience is an example of Guamanians being treated like second-class citizens by the airline.

In addition to the letter to Shinohara and Weiss, Lujan emailed CBP’s Flores and other officials who participated in the meeting to reiterate his support for the new TSA baggage recheck area solution and thanked them for their time and cooperation.

“I was thrilled that Saturday’s discussion and dialogue brought to light a satisfactory remedy that can significantly improve the transit and travel experience for passengers traveling from Guam without compromising any security concerns at the Honolulu Airport,” Lujan wrote in his email.

He went on to reiterate his support for the solution discussed “and believe if United Airlines effectively prioritizes baggage check-ins and utilizes an additional baggage re-check in station, my constituents will be saved from a very stressful long trek we are currently subjected to.”

Throughout this past year, Lujan has been writing to various entities and Hawaii leaders, trying to resolve the situation as his office continues to receive complaints about the unfair treatment received when transiting through the Hawaii airport.

“I’m glad that we now have a viable solution to move forward with. It is my hope that United Airlines will consider this recommendation and implement a more efficient and convenient travel procedure for the sake of our Guam-based passengers,” the senator said. “Our people deserve it.”

Source: Pacific Daily News