Forces Driving Upcoming Hawaii Flight Price Hikes Next Year

With this week’s announcement that Alaska Airlines will raise checked bag fees by 17% in the next week, there’s a very clear indication of cost increases about to hit Hawaii travelers among others.

Alaska Airlines new checked baggage fees will be in effect for tickets purchased on or after Jan. 2. The hiked rates will increase the cost of a first checked bag to $35, a second checked bag to $45, while a third checked bag will stay at the rate of $150.

Alaska said that this is due to rising operating costs it is incurring, including high fuel prices.

While there is no doubt about big and fast-rising operating costs at Alaska and other airlines, jet fuel prices don’t seem to be at the front of the line, as least as far as 2023 is concerned. While average jet fuel costs were up in 2022, they were down in 2023.

As an aside, those who are premium (frequent) flyers, and those with paid, airline branded credit cards from Alaska, Hawaiian, United, Delta or American, can avoid the checked bag fees.

This is the first such checked bag increase in about five years and is likely to lead to all other airlines matching Alaska’s lead this week

Southwest stands alone in no checked bag fees to Hawaii.

Southwest remains the only airline that doesn’t charge for checked first and second bags for all passengers. That is clearly a strong value proposition, offering the equivalent benefit of $35 for those checking one bag, and $80 for those checking two bags, each way. It’s an undeniable factor to consider, that’s for sure.

Labor costs will drive airfare increases to Hawaii and elsewhere.

Southwest pilots reached a new tentative agreement that would provide for a 50% cumulative pay increase to pilots. That makes the relative Hawaii-newcomer the last of the airlines to reach pilot deals that all include huge pay hikes. The SWAPA union said the deal has a value of $12 billion, which is more even than the United pilots’ deal. The pay rate for a captain with 12 or more years of service will rise to $368 per hour. A new Hawaiian Airlines pilots contract was also achieved earlier this year.

Alaska flight attendants picketed for wage increases this week.

As pilots finish their airline deals, flight attendants still have further to go. Those at SW rejected a proposed deal recently. United flight attendants held picketing at 19 airports just last week. That, while at Alaska, flight attendant picketing took place this week at eight airports. And American flight attendants seek a 35% wage increase, together with added benefits and 9% more annually.

It’s clear that when it’s done, flight attendants will be in for wage raises similar to those that the pilots have been able to achieve. And, you can be sure that these increases will make it to the bottom line here in Hawaii travel.

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13 thoughts on “Forces Driving Upcoming Hawaii Flight Price Hikes Next Year”

  1. Didn’t I just recently read an article here explaining how the acquisition of Hawai’in Airlines by Alaska was going to somehow Reduce cost of flying to/from mainland? Age and experience has taught me that any change in the airline industry is an excuse/reason to raise fares. New pretzel bag supplier? That will raise fares $2.14 per person per leg.

  2. We are frequent Maui visitors. As if we were gambling in Las Vegas, we set a limit on what we will be able to spend and then look for prices that fit our budget. It has served us well for decades. When I looked at prices for travel next March (we like whale watching), my eyes popped out of their sockets. Much higher than anticipated. What might cost us under 800 dollars round trip from the west coast was now $1,300-$1,700. Each ! Not to worry. We adjusted our dates (no whales this year for us) and the price is back under $500 each. And if you have a companion coupon, even better. We always negotiate a better price for accommodations (we don’t ask for much) and presto- budget achieved. With a little effort you don’t have to abandon Maui.

  3. Expecting travel costs to remain the same while prices of everything else rise is not rational.

    Airline employees need to be able to afford rising prices along with everyone else.

  4. I am currently in Hawaii on vacation and will not ever return. The cost of travel and the hassle of getting through customs is ridiculous and no longer enjoyable.

    1. Oddly, the cost of a roundtrip flight from CA to HA is less expensive and less intrusive than flying roundtrip from one CA major city to another. I’ve never had a flight issue with Hawai’i trip, but almost 100% of trips within the continental USA have had issues, sometimes major. Are you coming in from another country?

  5. The deals you advertise for Hawaiian are grest. However, when I go the the website I am quoted full price airfare. Is there another way to get the deals you post? I did call the airline and was told first come-first serve. I really didn’t get any help at all from the agent.

    1. Hi Barbara.

      The way that airfare deals work, you need to buy them within hours of when we post them. It is highly unlike for them to last even 24 hours. Airlines change prices up to five times daily.


  6. Good…people deserve to earn a livable wage, no matter what their profession may be. But especially in the airline industry, where you are responsible for keeping your passengers safe, especially in an emergency. I welcome the wage hikes and the fare hikes that will cover them.

    I want my pilots, flight attendants, ground crew, air-traffic controllers and any ancillary workers related to the airline industry to all be satisfied and unstressed about their pay so that they can be freed up to worry about getting me across the pacific to my destination safely.

  7. People aren’t traveling to Hawaii as much because they are nickel and dimeing us to death.we went to Kona in November you have to pay to park at the beach. You have to pay to go shopping or eat in a restrauant. It’s gotten way out of hand. And then there is talk of a visitor fee Really???? When is it gonna stop

      1. There has been negative changes to the parking situation in Kailua-Kona village. The owners of these lots of have decided to convert their free parking to paid parking. There is only one free parking lot in Kailua-Kona now. The problem is this lot is usually filled capacity most of the time.

        1. That free lot is full because, as we witness, residents from nearby condos park there, turo cars are swapped out there and unhoused folks living out of their car are there, from what I have observed

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