As Hawaii ends its Covid travel rules on March 25 with Covid continuing to wane both in Hawaii and on the mainland, airfares will be surging for spring and summer Hawaii travel, as well as to other destinations. Travelers are more eager than ever to return to Hawaii and it once again appears that the “Covid coast is clear.”
Below is what to expect in terms of airfare prices, why they will be going up so much, and where you can find the sweet spots today before they skyrocket. We’ve just been in times of unprecedented Cheap Flights to Hawaii. That, however, is going to quickly come to a painful end. You heard it here first, and it is time for either quick action or to pay the piper later.
Hawaii airfare prices have already increased with the announcement of Safe Travels’ sunset.
Prices are going up rapidly, even since yesterday. And we haven’t even seen the beginning of it. In terms of demand, travel agents are reporting that they are now busier than in years. Travelers are eager to return to exotic travel, after two years of limited or no travel.
Low season spring travel on the most popular routes is getting more expensive. For March travel, as an example, Los Angeles to Honolulu and San Diego to Maui were widely available at $99. As of today, those routes both range from $138 to $229 each way.
Get ready to accept that cost of travel is heading higher, much higher.
It is no different than when going to the grocery store or gas station. Prices are going up quickly and consumers are getting used to significant increases. We see it at Costo, Home Depot, and across the retail board, and now we will see it for travel, including to Hawaii destinations.
The last chance sweet spot for Cheap Flights to Hawaii is now.
There are still deals to be found for Hawaii travel, but from now on this isn’t going to look anything like the past two years. You can count on that. If you want to get the last call for great deals, the time to act is now.
The best Hawaii deals are for the following periods:
1. Mid-April until mid-May. This period hasn’t yet seen as much demand or significant price increases. That is one of the lowest demand periods. We do, however, see cheaper prices eroding even then.
2. Mid-June to mid-August. This is the unique sweet spot to grab fast. It will be a prized time to visit Hawaii, as is always the case. Typically, pre-Covid, prices started at $700 round-trip from west coast gateways and that’s been the case for decades. There are many opportunities to still grab fares starting at just 50% of normal, however. But those won’t last and we’re seeing them disappear as we speak.
Hawaii summer airfares still under $200 on 14 routes
Here are Hawaii summer airfares so good that we’re going to list some of them. They are now mostly just available for mid-week travel in June, July, and August. Prices are each-way including all taxes and fees on Hawaiian Airlines. Check Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines among others for competitive pricing.
Note that some availability is extremely limited at these prices, so you’ll need to be flexible. If you don’t find these prices, then they are no longer available.
Long Beach or San Francisco, or San Jose to Honolulu $189
Los Angeles or San Diego to Honolulu $185.
Long Beach to Kona $194.
Los Angeles to Kona $185.
San Diego or San Jose to Kona $189.
Long Beach or Los Angeles to Maui $189.
Oakland, San Diego, or San Jose to Maui $185.
Flights to Hawaii were as low as $130 round-trip over the past year.
That happened as airlines struggled to get passengers in seats. Then, in the past months, it has been a back and forth whipsaw of prices as the demand for travel ebbed and flowed with caution, then optimism, related to Covid. One day we were going to require boosters in Hawaii, and seemingly the next day we were eliminating Safe Travel Covid requirements entirely.
Hawaii travel cost increases revolve around fuel and labor costs among other things.
Airlines are currently seeing huge increases in costs for labor and fuel. Paired with an enormous increase in demand for the first time since Covid, that equates to higher Hawaii air travel expenses.
Take jet fuel as an example: prices are nearly triple what they were last year.
A gallon of jet fuel is selling for an average of $5.16 per gallon today, by far the highest rate in years, according to Airnav.com. That’s 279% higher than a year ago when the same gallon cost $1.85. Global issues seem to indicate that costs will continue to rise. In addition, fuel prices typically increase each spring until the end of summer.
According to Airlines For America, the airlines’ trade group, labor, and fuel together account for 50% of an airline ticket price. Airlines are raising minimum pay for all workers, with Southwest moving to a minimum of $17 per hour, which comes on the heels of the last increase a year ago which brought it from $13 to $15. Airlines are finding it harder to retain workers at virtually any price.
Southwest said recently, “We just need to get the staffing levels to the point where we can operate our aircraft, operate them reliably, produce the kind of operational performance that our customers need and want and deserve, and it’s just going to take staffing to do that. Which is why you saw us raise our starting wages.”
Airlines may also need to continue to pare schedules to adapt to staffing shortages. American cut its March schedule by 20%, and we’re expecting more of the same for upcoming months.
Bottom line: Look at your calendar and book now!