Hawaii Airfare

Finding the best Hawaii airfare can be a daunting task. Airfare in general is a very complicated system. I should know...I've worked for a major airline for the past thirteen years.

I could ask every person on a plane how much they paid for their ticket and come up with a hundred(s) different fares. This is due to what the airlines call "yield management" where some guy in an office sitting behind a computer with some elaborate software program figures out how to squeeze the most money out of each seat...

And that is just one flight...If you take into consideration all of the other variables such as time of day, day of week, number of stops, etc., the possibility of truly comparing apples to apples is very difficult.

Today, there are so many different companies, online and off, fighting for your business. They all advertise the cheapest Hawaii airfare or some form of “cheap airfare to Hawaii”.

In a way, that is a good thing…more competition means better prices for us.

However, the downside is it can mean more work, especially if you are intent on finding the absolute best price.

I’ve done a ton of research on Hawaii airfare and the big travel sites that advertise cheap airfare to Hawaii. Let me share what I’ve found and save you the headache...

Airfare TO Hawaii

Honolulu Airport

  • Hawaii, like Florida, is a very popular vacation destination, so there is fierce competition. There is no one airline that has a hub or monopoly there...that means no one can jack up the fares without losing market share.
  • All the different sites offer or advertise pretty much the same flights with few exceptions. There is very little difference in price between sites so you don’t have to check all of them to get the best deal on Hawaii airfare.

    There are certain exceptions though...websites only list those airlines that pay to work with them. For example, Southwest Airlines will not show up on Expedia.com because they do not work together.

So what is my conclusion...

Trying to understand the "why" and "how" of Hawaii airfare is quite frankly...not worth it in my opinion...not for the actual savings realized. More work means more time, and your valuable time is worth money.

If you are looking for just Hawaii airfare, to make the best use of your time, I suggest you:

  • Check a few of the major travel sites such as Travelocity.com, Expedia.com, Hotwire.com, Orbitz.com and compare them to the airlines' direct websites (which often advertise their best available fares).

    If you have a frequent flyer account, you probably already know which airline(s) you are willing to fly.

  • Check with your local travel agent that does "airfare only" (I don't...sorry).

Airfare WITHIN Hawaii

Interisland airfare in Hawaii is much less complicated...There are two major airlines that fly between the islands:

  • Aloha Airlines
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • and more recently

  • go!--a subsidiary of Mesa Airlines

Interisland airfare in Hawaii typically runs about $100-$150 per person roundtrip.

April 2008 Update--Aloha Airlines has declared bankruptcy and ceased all operations.

Hawaii Superferry--An alternative to Hawaii Airfare

NEW--In August 2007, a new player in interisland transportation emerged...the Hawaii Superferry. The ferry was designed to hold 866 passengers and almost 300 vehicles. Fares run from $40 to $60 for adults.

October 2007 Update--Unfortunately, just as the Superferry started business, their service has been suspended due to legal issues involving enviromental concerns (possible harm to migrating whales and other animals). As of October 31, 2007, they are awaiting a court ruling on their future fate.

November 2007 Update--The court has ruled that the Superferry may operate while tests are done as to the effects on the environment. Service will begin on December 1, 2007 between Oahu and Maui. Eventually, there will be service between Oahu & Kauai, and Oahu & the Big Island. Stay tuned...

Late November 2007 Update--The first day of service has been pushed back 5 days to December 6, 2007 due to a problem with one of the boats.

March 2009 Update--The Superferry has officially ceased operations due to a Hawaii Supreme Court ruling that the company cannot operate without an environmental impact report...the main concern was the migrating humpback whales

The Superferry makes the most sense for residents who want to take their own vehicle with them. It can be a fun way to travel interisland for visitors, but not all rental car companies allow travel on the Superferry so be sure to check their website at www.hawaiisuperferry.com for complete details.

If you are looking for any kind of package deal meaning Hawaii airfare, room, and car in any combination, you will get a better price if you contact a travel agent (like me). It won't cost you anything extra and we have access to unpublished Hawaii airfares as opposed to the published fares I mentioned earlier.

Below is a sample booking engine if you would like to check on fares or any type of package deal.

Here are the airports in Hawaii and their city codes:

  • Honolulu, Oahu -- HNL
  • Kahalui, Maui -- OGG
  • Lihue, Kauai -- LIH
  • Kona, Big Island -- KOA
  • Hilo, Big Island -- ITO

Search for Flights or search by Advanced Options
Departure City:
Arrival City:
Adults(12 - 61) Seniors (62+) Children (2-11)

A non-refundable service fee will be charged at the time of booking.

One thing I do highly recommend you doing if you have not done so already is join an airline mileage program.

Most mileage programs have many partners so you can get miles not only from the air portion of your trip but from hotels and rental cars as well. If you do this now, you can start accumulating miles for your next trip to Hawaii!

Now, let's look for Hawaii accommodations.

Are you looking for a good Hawaii travel agent? Please contact me at any time!

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