United States

United Airlines' New Year's 'Time Travel' Flight Lands Passengers In The Wrong Year

In a quirky turn of events on New Year's Day 2024, United Airlines flight UA200, which promised passengers a journey back in time to celebrate the new year twice, faced a six-hour delay, leaving travelers landing in Hawaii just 30 minutes after the start of the new year, disrupting their unique time-travel experience.

Passengers on a United Airlines flight, faced an unfortunate beginning in 2024.
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Passengers on a United Airlines flight, aiming to kick off the New Year with a journey back in time, faced an unfortunate beginning in 2024.

Flight UA200 was initially planned to take off from Guam at 7:35 a.m. on January 1, 2024, and arrive in Honolulu, Hawaii at 6:50 p.m. on December 31, 2023, traversing time zones to transport passengers back a year.

For individuals traveling on this route in the morning of January 1, it offered the opportunity to celebrate the new year twice within a 24-hour period.

“You only live once, but you can celebrate New Year’s Eve twice!” United Airlines had tweeted earlier that week. In a separate Instagram post about Flight UA200, it wrote: “Time travel is real.”

However, an unusual delay for this flight disrupted those plans.

United flight 200 experienced a six-hour delay, leading passengers to land in Hawaii just 30 minutes after the start of the new year, as reported by the travel news site One Mile at a Time.

This unforeseen delay appears to be a stroke of exceptionally unfortunate luck. According to the outlet's report, typically, this route boasts a remarkable punctuality rate, with 95% of flights arriving on time. The last instance of this flight landing past midnight was eight months ago, precisely on April 20, 2023.

The flight's schedule was affected by delays during the aircraft's two previous journeys.

On December 30, the plane was initially scheduled to travel from San Francisco to Honolulu and then proceed to Guam on the same day, with an expected arrival in Guam around 7 p.m. on December 31. 

However, a maintenance problem in San Francisco caused a nine-hour delay, causing the plane to not reach Guam until noon on January 1, several hours after it was supposed to depart for the "time-traveling" flight.

After the incident, a number of passengers expressed their grievances on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“I booked this flight specifically so I could do this,” one person wrote under the original United Airlines tweet. “I got a delay notification and we aren’t scheduled to get in until 1/1.”

“Great idea, too bad it got delayed! I was supposed to be on this flight. Double new year isn’t happening anymore,” read another comment.

The airline addressed the situation on X by extending rebooking assistance to the passengers.

The practice of jumping time zones for New Year's isn't a recent phenomenon. Every year, a few flights provide passengers with the opportunity to relive their New Year's Eve festivities, and airline crews occasionally commemorate the occasion multiple times on a single route.

Passengers on other flights had a better fortune. For instance, Cathay Pacific's flight CX872 left Hong Kong just after 1 a.m. on January 1 and arrived in San Francisco at 8:22 p.m. on December 31. Similarly, All Nippon Airways' flight NH106 took off from Tokyo at 12:48 a.m. on January 1 and touched down in Los Angeles at 5:12 p.m. on December 31.
 

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