As we contemplate the likelihood of Southwest Airlines flying to Hawaii, it gives us reason to pause and reflect on the airlines already serving our island state. Among the three players which now control Hawaii air lift, here’s how each is distinguishing itself.
Hawaii Airlines | How Do Hawaiian, Alaska and Allegiant Compare
Hawaiian. Will London be its first European destination?
Known for reliable, on-time service, the legacy company has been quickly upgrading to a new long-range fleet of Airbus planes. Most recently they’ve also added ATR turbo-props to the local mix, which depending on customer acceptance, may in time lead to a new inter-island fleet. Hawaiian has been on an expansion tear the past few years, most notably in the Asian and Australian markets. With the carrier’s new fleet comes the ability to serve Hawaii nonstop from virtually anywhere in the US, an example of which is their JFK-Honolulu flight. Hawaiian’s upcoming Airbus 350 XWB planes will provide them the ability to fly to Hawaii from even more distant locations including non-stop from Europe. We expect to see London as the first European destination.
Hawaiian has also further differentiated itself by adding more free meal choices, an additional free snack, and even complementary wine and signature cocktails in coach.
Alaska. Can they find new West Coast to Hawaii routes?
Alaska has a large and loyal following from the Pacific Northwest, which ranks only behind California in its importance to Hawaii tourism. Known for reliability and on-time service, Alaska’s Hawaii air offerings also include the San Francisco Bay area (Oakland and San Jose), Sacramento and San Diego. While some of these Hawaii air markets are relatively new to Alaska, these services are becoming well accepted and popular.
With Hawaii representing 20% of Alaska’s business, they are here for the long haul. Their competitive entry has helped bring lower priced Hawaii deals across all of the Hawaii markets they serve. Alaska’s 737 fleet limits its ability, however, to serve Hawaii from anywhere much beyond the west coast.
Allegiant. Are you ready to pay for overhead storage?
This is Hawaii’s newest and most unique bird, quite literally. Allegiant’s product is designed for the customer who is ultra cost-conscious. Their model is based on offering the lowest fare (and they do) with an a la carte menu of options allowing customers to customize their experience based on the amenities that are of value to them. Some of their paid options include carry-on bags.
Allegiant Hawaii air service is still new and the company is working hard to achieve a cost-effective mix of mostly second-tier mainland origination cities, Hawaii destinations, and schedules.
Southwest. When will they arrive?
When Southwest Hawaii service finally becomes a reality, look for it to be another game changing event. The carrier has a well known and widely accepted business model which includes 2 free bags per person, a standout in today’s aviation marketplace. They may announce Hawaii service at any time, and when they do, we look for Oakland to be their mainland to Hawaii gateway. As with Alaska, their 737 fleet will limit their Hawaii service to near the west coast.