Passengers on the same airplane
pay a wide range of fares. Tickets are sold for what the market will bear so smart
shopping can save you a lot of money on airfares. It takes some time and effort but
you will have the satisfaction of knowing you got a bargain and can use the savings for
lodging and activities in the Islands. Note that sometimes your best buy will be a
package deal that includes airfare, hotel, and car. These are available from sources
that can sometimes include two, or all three, things for less than either airfare or
lodging would cost individually.
|Interisland Plane at Kona's Keahole Airport
Many airlines offer service to
Hawaii. We do not consider first-class, business-class, or full coach fares
here. Economy class fares will save you a lot of money that you can spend on other
"needs" during your stay in the Islands. These guidelines will reduce the
cost when you purchase airline tickets individually or as part of a package.
||Book ahead -- you will
normally pay much less if you book at least 14-21 days ahead, but bargains are rarely found more
than 3-4 months ahead.
||A Saturday night stay is
sometimes required for the lowest fares.
holidays -- The fares are usually more expensive around holidays and
the airlines have black-out days so that you cannot use frequent flier
miles or get discounts from coupons.
right days of the week-- generally
the best fares are offered on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday afternoon. Sunday, Monday,
Friday travel generally costs more.
||Season of the year-- tickets
to Hawaii will generally be less expensive from mid-April through May and from September
||Pick less popular flights that
depart mid-morning or late evening.
||Choose the same airline for
all legs of your itinerary.
||Keep your eye open for sales
which are held periodically by the airlines.
||Use the internet -- virtually
all the airlines have web sites and at times fares are offered lower
than those shown to their reservations agents. Some airlines charge a fee for ticket purchase made by phone or at the airport.
Many airlines offer e-mail notice of specials if you sign up for them
on their web site.
the airline on baggage weight, size, and the charges per bag. This
information is normally available on their web site and charges per bag
vary between airlines. Also, the charges for bags over the weight
limit (normally 50 pounds) or size limit can cost you an additional $25
to $80 depending on the airline.
Generally the cheaper your ticket, the
tighter the restrictions. You will almost always be charged a fee to change your
flight schedule with the advance purchase discount tickets. Make sure you know
exactly what restrictions apply before you commit to buying.
Web Based " Travel Agents"
These are great because they are open 24-hours a day and don't get impatient with you if you
want to make yet another change or check the price or availability for the 100th
time. Enter the dates you want to fly and the departure and arrival cities to
receive fare and availability information. Or, if you can be flexible in your schedule you
will save considerably because some sites will list least expensive fares without regard to schedule
so you can see how prices vary by date
and time. The least expensive fares are often less than 20% of the cost of
fares for the same airline and flight. Realize, however, that some
sites are biased toward specific airlines they have marketing
agreements with and some do not display fares of cut-rate
We never rely on only one source to
find the best fare. Cheap Tickets,
are examples of internet travel sites. We also use
to research fares and
purchase tickets. Kayak searches the airline's web sites and displays
their fares. The advantage is that if an airline lists internet
specials only on their own site, Kayak will show you those fares while
other internet travel sites we have used do not. You can do the same thing by
checking 10-15 airline web sites, but using Kayak is much faster.
If you click the "Select" button for a flight, you are presented with a list of airlines and fares. When you click "Go" for an airline you are automatically
connected to the airline's own web site to purchase the ticket. However, continue to do your
research because we still occasionally find lower fares on other sites.
|Fees charged by Internet travel sites
Since airlines stopped paying commissions to Internet travel sites,
charge fees of $5 to $18 per ticket to make a profit. Recently however,
these sites are also advertising no booking fees added. Many airlines advertise "you won't
find a lower fare anywhere else" realizing other sources have to charge a fee.
Priceline can sometimes provide lower
fares if you want to bid for your tickets. We have not used the site
because of their "blind" booking method where you are told the
airline and schedule only after picking dates and paying for the tickets,
which are nonrefundable. If your schedule is totally flexible, it might work for
|Save money with
Split-ticketing: Unless we want to stop over in a city along the way,
most of us would rather take non-stop flights. It may take a little
time, but checking the cost of two round trip
tickets instead of one non-stop flight can sometimes save you money. Here's an example:
- If you're flying from Chicago to Honolulu,
the cost of a round trip ticket from Chicago to Los Angeles or San Francisco, plus a second round trip ticket
from there to Honolulu. The total of the two tickets compared to the
cost of a non-stop ticket is
sometimes hundreds of dollars less.
flying from the West Coast, we've seen numerous times when flying from Los Angeles, or an outlying airport,
to San Francisco and from there to Honolulu is more than $100 less expensive than flying directly from Los
Angeles to Honolulu. If the whole family is traveling, the $100 per ticket adds up
Four airlines offer scheduled service between the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian Airlines is the old standby for inter-island travel since Aloha
Airlines went out of business but Island Air, go! Airlines, and Mokulele Airlines also
offer inter-island service between the major islands. Flights to Molokai and Lanai are less frequent and cost
somewhat more. When you are traveling between several islands on one trip you can
sometimes purchase coupon books for multiple flights at a discount.
Hawaiian Airlines was Hawaii's first inter-island airline
and offers jet service between the islands, as well as service from several mainland cities.
They fly Boeing 717 aircraft which are full-sized jet planes as opposed to
the regional jets and turboprop planes used by the other inter-island
flies Dash-8 aircraft that are turboprop and carry 37 passengers.
Although it takes a little longer to get between the islands, they fly lower than the jets and mention
that passengers can see more of
the scenery on flights.
flies regional jets that seat 50 passengers, which is fewer than the Boeing
717's flown by Hawaiian Airlines. There are no middle seats, it's two
seats on each side of the aisle.
Mokulele Airlines offers turboprop service between the islands. Their commuter flights
use Cessna Caravans that hold only nine passengers so some will not care to
fly on a small propeller driven plane instead of a jet engine.
Any of the airlines will do baggage transfer for you in either direction. Just tell the
ticket agent when you check-in you want to check your baggage through to your final
destination. However, on departing from a neighbor island and connecting to a
mainland flight on another island be sure your luggage goes through the agriculture
screening or you will have to retrieve your bags, have them screened, and recheck
them. This especially applies to the smaller airports so be sure to check because at Molokai, Lanai, and the West Maui airports,
agricultural screening may not be available.
We are pleased to see multiple airlines offering alternatives
for inter-island travel. We've seen
a number of low-fare airlines come and go in Hawaii over the past 25 years.
When it was only Hawaiian and Aloha, the inter-island fares were high and not competitive.
We've flown Island Air and were pleased with their service. We've also heard good reports
about go! and Mokulele, so you might want to give them a try.