It’s time to review our 2018/2019 predictions, so we’ve dusted off the crystal ball. Beat of Hawaii has been talking about 2018/2019 Hawaii airfare deals and what is happening for some time. In recent months other media outlets joined the conversation. You’ve probably seen headlines saying that Hawaii airfare deals are going to be the cheapest ever. That’s exactly what we’ve been saying would happen for years. Following are our revised predictions of what you can expect and why you definitely want to plan a Hawaii vacation in 2018/2019!
A huge shift is underway in Hawaii travel. It comes with a shakeup in competition as airlines new to Hawaii, and existing ones with new fleets, arrive on our tropical shores.
First, Hawaiian Airlines has already begun delivery of 18 Airbus A321neo planes. Unfortunately a problem with the jet engines resulted in a multi-month delay. We now expect fleet deliveries to resume within the next 60 days.
Some new Hawaiian Air routes using the planes have already been announced. The Airbus 321neo fleet allows Hawaiian to compete head on with Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines and others on many routes for the first time. These other carriers already use efficient, narrow body aircraft for all but the heaviest traveled routes to Honolulu and Maui. Hawaiian has not had similar planes until now. The new Hawaiian planes will soon replace both the legacy wide-body Boeing 767 aircraft and the current generation wide-body A330 planes on these less traveled routes.
Southwest Airlines is also re-fleeting with 737MAX that started arriving in 2017. Southwest Hawaii flights have been proclaimed by the company with specific Hawaii route announcements to follow later this year. Actual Hawaii flights on Southwest will start at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.
Alaska Airlines is beginning delivery of its next generation, longer range 737MAX fleet this year. They are also getting new A321neo planes.
New fleets mentioned above will in many ways benefit the neighbor islands more than Honolulu or even Maui. The reason is that until now, there were more routes and better competition those two primary airports, compared with the Big Island and Kauai.
Prediction 1: Flights to all four islands from $200 round trip.
2018/2019 Hawaii airfare deals will be at or near all-time lows. There have already been two rounds of low season $99 airfares this year, from Alaska and United. $99 to $149 each way is what we’re predicting will keep popping up intermittently in key markets. Cities with heavily discounted fares may include the entire west coast from San Diego, Los Angeles, and Bay area airports, to Portland and Seattle in the Pacific Northwest.
West coast cities are just for starters. Places further afield including Salt Lake City and Phoenix, for example, are set to benefit as well. On the other side of the country we also expect an easing of Hawaii airfares. Thus most aggressive east coast to Hawaii routes will start in the $400’s off-season.
Some routes may have less than daily service by Hawaiian. Instead they may utilize a model similar to Alaska, wherein certain Hawaii flights only operate 3 to 4 days each week. As a precedent, Hawaiian often operates their JFK nonstop just four days a week.
Prediction 2: More new Hawaii routes.
New flights to Hawaii will start springing up again soon. In recent months we saw a new Long Beach route from Hawaiian, Alaska started San Francisco/Kona, Scoot started Honolulu/Osaka/Singapore, United added flights from five cities, and Delta commenced Seattle/Lihue.
West coast. A wide range of new routes is possible from Hawaiian, as well as from others. New routes on Hawaiian may include the Pacific Northwest, Western Canada, Bay Area, Southern California, Las Vegas, and Phoenix, to name a few. We expect San Diego flights to be among the next announcements.
Further east. There remains the distinct possibility of additional flights from Denver, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque and/or Texas. Chicago continues to be talked about as a future route for Hawaiian. These are more likely for 2019.
East coast. By removing the need for wide-body planes for the west coast, there are more Hawaiian aircraft for flights to the east coast and elsewhere. New York was a very challenging route to crack for Hawaiian, however, so we’ll wait to see which of these they make a run for in the short term.
International. The A321neo’s will surely replace the A330 wide-body between Tahiti and Hawaii. That is already indicated in future schedules. We won’t be surprised to see some new international routes as well, including someone finally announcing flights between Hawaii and UK/Europe nonstop. In that regard, we just saw a new fleet order for Hawaiian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Those are capable of nonstop service between Hawaii, southeast Asia and Europe.
Prediction 3: Southwest Hawaii flights will be announced by fall.
Southwest will announce route specifics of their Hawaii flights soon! Cities served may include Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose, San Diego. Then later Las Vegas and Phoenix. Service on the first of these routes could begin as early as very late 2018, or may come early in 2019. We’re awaiting word on completion of their over-water ETOPS certification and other logistics. Read the latest Southwest Hawaii updates.
Southwest Hawaii flights will begin on their 737-800 aircraft and will transition to new 737 MAX 8 and perhaps 737 MAX 7. The MAX 7 brings cities like Denver and beyond into range.
Inter-island. Southwest connecting flights are a possible entry point to test inter-island. Full-on inter-island service is something Southwest says they are very interested in. Verdict is out on that.
Prediction 4: Free Food on All Hawaii flights.
Hawaiian has always included free food. Delta recently starting offering complimentary meals in coach. United and American will end up doing the same on Hawaii flights, leaving Southwest as the only company without a food offering.
Prediction 5: WiFi on flights to Hawaii.
Delta offers WiFi on flights to Hawaii, and United and American largely do as well. Alaska is adding it to Hawaii flights this year. Hawaiian is the only carrier not to have announced the availability of satellite WiFi over the Pacific.