Hawaii Christmas Sticker Shock: What To Do

My friend and Beat of Hawaii fan Trudy called this weekend. She wants to bring her teenage grandson to Kauai for the holidays and is looking for a great Hawaii airfare deal. After checking the fares I nearly needed resuscitation. Below you’ll see the screen shot of what I found for her dates and preferred airline.  The price was an unfathomable $1,812 round trip from LA to Kauai in economy. The only good news I had out of her call was the idea for this post.

This morning, we also hard from Facebook fan Betty, who’s wanting to fly to Honolulu from Portland over the holidays, doesn’t have flexible dates, and has discovered the exact same problem.

Today’s Sticker Shock

Below is:

  1. What’s actually available at this time from some key cities during the time period December 18 through January 2. There are a few good deals hiding in there.
  2. My best advice.


Bay Area airports (SFO, OAK, SMF, SJC)

  • Honolulu $800+.
  • Neighbor Islands $900+.

Best bet:  Cheapest pricing is low $700’s from SJC on limited dates, but stopping in LA.

Los Angeles

  • Honolulu $800+.
  • Neighbor islands  700+.

Best bet:  There isn’t one right now.

Orange County

  • Honolulu or Maui $474+.

Best bet:  $474-$494 fares to Honolulu and Maui on Continental are only available a couple of days; otherwise prices range up to $800’s.

San Diego

  • Honolulu $770+
  • Neighbor islands  $729+.

Best bet:  $700’s to Maui, Kona and Kauai are on Delta with stops in Los Angeles.

Pacific Northwest


  • Honolulu and Neighbor Islands $750+.

Best bet:  There isn’t one right now.


  • Honolulu $550+
  • Neighbor Islands $750+

Best bet:  Cheapest fares have very limited availability.


New York

  • Honolulu or Kahului $800+
  • Neighbor Islands $950+

Best bet: $800 on Continental’s HNL non-stop is excellent value and still available on several days. It won’t last long.


Honolulu or neighbor islands $950+

Best bet:  There isn’t one right now

My advice: Just Wait

I told both Trudy and Betty to wait until after Labor Day and we’ll see what develops.  I really don’t believe these prices will stick.  It isn’t the right economy for people to be spending the amounts the airlines have in mind for holiday travel to Hawaii. The prices may either start drifting lower, or we could see some outright airfare wars that include the Christmas and New Years holidays (yes we’ve had them before).  Consider me on alert; please stay tuned.


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7 thoughts on “Hawaii Christmas Sticker Shock: What To Do”

  1. I am helping my sister plan her honeymoon. Unfortunately, the only week they can go is Christmas week. Right now, airfare is $1300+ from the NYC area. We are hoping it drops back to $800pp so they can afford to go on a honeymoon.

    1. If you fly on the 26th and stay about one week, assuming you are inquiring about Honolulu, the price is about $950 (all-inclusive). The following day it drops to about $850.

      Aloha, Jeff

  2. Well, with the demise of the ferry that would have revolutionized travel between the islands, the airlines have a deathlock, and will try and squeeze every drop of blood out of their customers that they can!

  3. This is truly outrageous. I am still disturbed by the $269 Kauai/Maui roundtrip fare I just had to pay for an Ocober trip. What are we consumers to do?????

  4. I’ll be glued to your posts as we have family coming for our wedding week (dec 6-13 which isnt yet on the christmas vacation time frame) and the only decent far to Hilo was through Daisy @ TWHawaii.com – $506 including their $40 booking fee! (four of our wedding guests bought them and the rest are waiting and holding their breaths to see if they came down at all – from LAX and Chicago both).

    1. Hi Cat,

      Yes those fares are terrible because they sit on the shoulder between low season and Christmas. It certainly seems like we’ll see better deals for those dates.

      Aloha, Jeff

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