Jan 16, 2024

Lujan seeking to improve transit through Hawaii

Sen. Jesse Lujan has written to United Airlines Guam Director Sam Shinohara and United Airlines Global Managing Director Dan Weiss about an opportunity “to improve the travel experience” for Guam passengers transiting through Hawaii, by using an additional baggage recheck area at the Honolulu Airport. 

According to Lujan, various local leaders met with senior officials and U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Dec. 16, 2023.  

“During our discussion, it was discovered that the Transportation Security Administration has provided an additional baggage recheck area in the Honolulu Airport that could serve Guam-based travelers, as was previously done before. I would like to urge United Airlines to join the other airlines currently utilizing this baggage recheck area immediately. As it currently stands, United passengers from Guam face the burden and inconvenience of trekking a considerable distance to reach the current baggage recheck point, causing unnecessary stress and discomfort during their journey,” Lujan stated in his letter.

The senator added that the current process is particularly difficult on the elderly and families with young children, who prefer to transit through Honolulu because it is a shorter flight compared with others. The experience is deterring many Guam passengers and forcing them to choose alternate routes and carriers, Lujan added.

“I would like to emphasize that Guam passengers have not always had the best experience flying the Guam to Honolulu and Honolulu to Guam routes with United Airlines. Not too long ago, the issue our travelers faced was that with Guam being previously designated as a ‘domestic’ flight, meals were not served to passengers during the eight-hour flight. While we are grateful that it has since been resolved, this latest issue adds to a list of unfair and discriminatory actions towards Guamanians that treat us like second-class citizens. When we know we are not,” Lujan stated.

In addition to discomfort, current procedures also compromise security by having passengers take their baggage out of the designated sterile area, according to the senator.

“By adhering to the recommendation I mentioned earlier, United Airlines can collaborate with TSA to completely comply with airport safety and security regulations,” Lujan stated in his letter.

In a press release regarding the letter, Lujan stated that he had been writing to various entities and Hawaii leadership throughout the past year in an attempt to resolve issues with transiting through Hawaii, as his office continues to receive complaints regarding unfair treatment for Guam passengers.

“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,” Lujan stated in the release.

The senator’s letter and release follows statements from the office of Guam Del. James Moylan last week, which stated that Moylan met with the corporate team at United Airlines to address inconveniences faced by Guam residents transiting through Hawaii. 

By: John O’Connor

Source: The Guam Daily Post