Hidden City Tickets to Hawaii

Hawaii Deals Coming to Kauai and Big Island

Beat of Hawaii visitor and friend Joan asked this morning why Kauai is continually left out of virtually all mainland to Hawaii deals. It is a question we’re asked quite frequently and that undoubtedly others are wondering about too. So here’s the answer together with some very good news for those of you planning a Hawaii vacation.

Why Maui and Oahu Hawaii Deals Reign Supreme for Now

These two islands are the most popular for Hawaii visitors. In the chart below, it is clear that these are the destinations of choice for the majority of Hawaii visitors. As a result the routes to these two islands are intensely competitive across multiple airlines. The volume of traffic also warrants flights to Hawaii using wide-body aircraft from many locations.

Tip: At this time Maui is even more competitive than Oahu making it the ideal destination for a 2016 value oriented Hawaii vacation.

Traffic by Island 2007-2014

This graphic from the state of Hawaii sums it up:

Hawaii air traffic by island

Big Island and Kauai Hawaii Deals – Very Good News Ahead

Problem: Spectacular Hawaii vacation destinations in their own right, these islands get only a fraction of the state’s visitor traffic. With a few minor exceptions, both islands are served entirely by direct narrow-body flights only from the west coast. Some of these services are not daily but rather operate only several times per week.

Hawaiian Airlines, which is obviously a driving force in Hawaii travel, has very limited direct flights to Kona and Kauai. The ones they have now are limited and seasonal. The issue here is that Hawaiian until now has not had the narrow body fleet required to serve these “thin” routes. But that is all about to change.

Solution: Starting in the 2nd half of 2017, Hawaiian Airlines will take delivery of its fleet of new single-aisle Airbus A321neo planes. These will largely be the workhorse fleet for the entire west coast and will be used for all their future nonstop flights to and from Kona and Kauai.

We expect to see many new routes using these planes including from places including Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, the Bay Area, Sacramento, Southern California and beyond.

The new planes have longer range capability compared with current generation 737-800 planes, such as those that are used by Alaska Airlines. Not to be left out, in 2017 Alaska will also begin delivery of Boeing 737 MAX8 planes, which have extended range capabilities, thus bringing even more routes and greater competition to these markets.

20 thoughts on “Hawaii Deals Coming to Kauai and Big Island”

  1. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that American will be flying DFW-KOA non-stop on the 763. I believe it will be December 15 – January 8th. I hope it is a route they will decide to commit to. If you hear of any more detail on this, I would love for you to post about it. Thanks,

  2. Managed to snag some August Kauai flights on Hawaiian for $548 RT from LA, which I thought was a good deal for this island. Looking forward to more deals in the future, thanks for all the info!

  3. As a resident of Kauai, I feel like we’re already busting at the seams. I understand the economic impact of tourism, but there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to go without being overrun by tourists who want an “authentic” experience. Our infrastructure is not set up to handle such large amounts of people. I fear more direct routes will exacerbate the overcrowding of our little island.

  4. sHello,

    Thank you for compiling and providing Hawaii fare information. It’s been very helpful. The 6/15 article on fares to the Big Island hit a nerve. I understand the economics of not providing non-stop flights to Hilo. Still, sometime ago, there was a bit of fanfare over the announcement of UA non-stop flights to Hilo from SFO and LAX. The flights from SFO seem to have been more hope than substance and the flights from LAX seem to have disappeared or have dwindled to almost nothing. Airline staff was not able to provide information when I inquired a while back. Can you confirm that these flights have been eliminated or let us know what’s happened? Thank you.

    1. Hi Vivian,

      Thank you. The Hilo nonstops from LAX operate on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.


  5. Aloha,
    I’m trying to fly out of Sacramento this November 7 to Maui and was wondering if anyone knew when Alaskan airlines would go on sale? They are over one hundred dollars round trip verses Hawaiian. We would like to go Hawaiian, no direct flights is the issue.
    should we wait for Alaskan to go down or should I book the cheapest flight now?

  6. Cheaper routes to Kona and Hilo would be a welcome sight indeed. I would think that the number of individual Island visits might be different if the same was true.

  7. Does Hawaiian Air have a kamiana rate for us locals that go to Mainland a lot? When does Hawaiian Air start their nonstop flight Kona to LAX and back.

  8. We are heading to the big island November 1st. Have our hotel/timeshare booked for our 10 day trip. When is the best time to book the cheapest airfare?

  9. Thank you SO much for all the info you give us. We travel to HI yearly from San Jose CA and have been disappointed that there are so few flights and such expensive ones to Kauai. That is our favorite island but we often go to Maui too. I always follow your tips when booking our trips,

    1. Hi Jennifer.

      Thank you. Yes it has been especially bad in the past year and had been getting progressively worse before that. Should see some relief in not too distant future.


  10. This is great news for those of us in the Sacramento market. After a wonderful vacation in paradise, it’s no fun to make the 2+hour drive at midnight from Oakland airport! p.s…..love all the helpful info you share!

  11. I read your blog voraciously while planning our first trip to Hawaii this past May. It was as dreamy as I’d imagined and really appreciated your tips and input on everything from getting a decent price on airfare to avoiding jet lag. I just wanted to say Mahalo!

  12. Looking for the best times/deals to fly to Hawaii (Disney) in 2017.
    Any feedback would be very much appreciated! Love your newsletter. Thank you.

    1. Hi Diane.

      Thanks. This is the definitive information that we have on when to travel to Hawaii: https://beatofhawaii.com/the-cheapest-time-to-fly-to-hawaii/. As for Aulani, we don’t follow their prices, but can be pretty sure it will match with the low seasons for airfare. So in a nutshell, come in the spring after spring break or in the fall between labor day and Thanksgiving.


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