“I traveled on a United Airlines flight from Shanghai to Guam. The plane was almost empty with perhaps 15 passengers on board. I returned from the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu, China.” This was a report on eTurboNews in September 2017.
Looking at reservation load and seat maps on other flights to Guam on United Airlines, it appears flights from Japan, China, and even Honolulu are flying with very few passengers on board.
According to a 2017 statistic from a UK research company, international arrivals into the US territory went down almost 65% after 2 threats were received by North Korea to send a nuclear bomb to Guam.
The nuclear threat of course is no longer a threat in 2022, but emerging out of COVID-19 and many restrictions still in place in Asia, tourism is slowly improving in the US territory.
What has remained is that United Airlines still holds a monopoly on direct flights to Honolulu and beyond without having to detour outside the United States. Flying from Honolulu to Guam, two US island groups that could be sister islands still cost more than flying to Europe or the Gulf region or Africa.
This price structure changes dramatically when flying from Los Angeles or Honolulu through Guam to Manila or other destinations beyond Guam.
Flying from Honolulu to Manila through Guam is the cheapest option to visit the Philippine capital. United Airlines via Guam will cost less than $1100, while the non-stop on Philippine Airlines charges more than $1600 for a round trip
If one is planning to stop in Guam for a day or two, airfares from HNL to Manila for example jump easily from $1000 to more than $3000.
It makes tourism for Guam by fellow American travelers impossible and is definitely hurting the economy in Guam even more.
Here is the problem.
United Airlines is holding a monopoly by a US-based carrier for direct flights between US destinations and the US territory of Guam. No foreign carrier is allowed to compete with United on this route.
Many airlines like Emirates contribute to stopping over-tourism in Dubai, and Turkish Airlines is the main contributor to stopping over-tourism in Istanbul. It counts for many carriers that show responsibility to their home base, including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Thai, and many more.
Why is United Airlines so hostile and nonsupportive to the travel and tourism relaunch of Guam? eTurboNews tried to ask this question, but there was no response, as there was no response in 2017.
“I will be traveling from Honolulu to Manila to attend the upcoming WTTC Summit and would have loved to relax a day or two in Guam.”
Unfortunately, this is impossible and not affordable, said Juergen Steinmetz, publisher of eTurboNews and a 3 million 1K Flyer at United Airlines.