Why is United Airlines hostile to Guam tourism?

“I flew on a United Airlines flight from Shanghai to Guam. The plane was nearly empty with maybe 15 passengers on board. I just came back from the UNWTO General Assembly in Chengdu, China. was a report on eTurboNews in September 2017.

Looking at the reservation load and seat maps on other flights to Guam on United Airlines, it appears that flights from Japan, China and even Honolulu are flying with very few passengers on board.

According to a 2017 statistic from a British research firm, international arrivals to the United States fell by almost 65% after 2 threats were received by North Korea to send a nuclear bomb to Guam.

The nuclear threat is of course no longer a threat in 2022, but emerging from COVID-19 and the many restrictions still in place in Asia, tourism is slowly improving in the US territory.

What has remained is that United Airlines still has 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 costs more than flying to Europe, the Gulf region or Africa.

This pricing structure changes dramatically when traveling from Los Angeles or Honolulu via Guam to Manila or other destinations beyond Guam.

Flying from Honolulu to Manila via Guam is the cheapest option to visit the Philippine capital. United Airlines via Guam will cost less than $1,100, while the nonstop flight on Philippine Airlines charges more than $1,600 for a round trip

If one plans to stop in Guam for a day or two, airfares from HNL to Manila, for example, easily jump from $1,000 to over $3,000.

This makes tourism to Guam impossible by other American travelers and further hurts Guam’s economy.

Here is the problem.

United Airlines holds a US-based carrier monopoly 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 are helping to stop over-tourism in Dubai, and Turkish Airlines is the main contributor to stopping over-tourism in Istanbul. This matters to many carriers who show responsibility to their home base, including Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, Thai and many more.

Why is United Airlines so hostile and unsupportive of reviving travel and tourism in 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 next WTTC Summit and would have loved to relax a day or two in Guam.”

Unfortunately, that’s impossible and not affordable, said Juergen Steinmetz, publisher of eTurboNews and 3 million 1K Flyer at United Airlines.

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