Cracking the UK to Hawaii Market

Hot on the heals of one new Hawaii player, Allegiant Air, comes another potential suitor.  In the near future (2012) we may see United Kingdom’s (UK) Thomson Airways parked at HNL. The carrier is considering offering new long-haul destinations with their soon to be acquired fleet of 250-seat Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Thomson has been considering service to Honolulu for several years, after research indicated it was a top-rated yet unfulfilled UK holiday destination.

Based on unscientific studies of traffic to our website, demand for Hawaii travel from the UK is still very low (representing only 1 percent). In part that is due to the lack of easy and affordable air service. Direct service should appreciably pique British and European demand for Hawaii vacations.

Spanning the distance a lot faster.

Presently, flying from the UK to Hawaii requires a stop, typically on the West Coast. Total transit time is at best nearly 20 hours.

A nonstop flight between the UK and Hawaii takes approximately 14 hours, and perhaps 12.5 hours going back (due to prevailing winds). Think of a polar flight from the UK to Los Angeles, where you just overshoot it westbound. That is barely more time than required for flights to/from the West Coast.

The actual distance between the UK and Hawaii is about 7,200 nautical miles, which has already placed it within the nonstop reach of many jetliners, including Boeing 777, and Airbus 330. So far no one has been able to make a business case for a financial viability service. Making it work will require creative holiday packaging, for which Thomson (like Allegiant) is well-known.

Thomson is the world’s largest charter airline.

As the third largest airline based in the UK, they currently offer both scheduled and charter flights to Europe, Africa, Asia and North America. In May, Thomson Airways received the Best Leisure Charter Airline award at the 2010 World Airline Awards.

Personally, I look forward to seeing better deals and more convenient and direct service from Hawaii to the UK. I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on this possible route.


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4 thoughts on “Cracking the UK to Hawaii Market”

  1. This reminds me of when Virgin Atlantic announced that they are looking at starting non-stop flights from London to Honolulu back in 2007 once they received their B-787.

    …”Richard Branson, the billionaire tycoon who controls London-based Virgin Atlantic, said at a news conference in Chicago yesterday that he was considering nonstop flights to Honolulu and Perth, Australia.”…

    Here is the full article in the Honolulu Star Bulletin dated 4/25/07

    1. Sean,

      Yes, Virgin also indicated a desire to serve Hawaii (actually in the same time frame as Thomson’s announcement). Packaging however is much more inherent in the Thomson business model and thus I believe it is more likely to actually happen.

      Aloha, Jeff

  2. We’ve tried for about a year to use our Hawaiian miles for a trip to Europe on Virgin — the reason we got our Hawaiian cards in the first place. You folks graciously confirmed for me that it is possible, but still we have been completely shut out. Even so, had we the Virgin tickets, we still would have had the stop on the mainland to contend with. So having a carrier take us directly there, even for money, would be a terrific option. Now if they have a credit card with miles….even better!

    1. Hi Soozie,

      Sorry it hasn’t worked to get to Europe on Virgin. Perhaps things changed since the time it worked for us.

      Aloha, Jeff

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