When it comes to finding the best airfares deals to and from the Islands, it takes a lot of time. That will come as no surprise to our fellow travel deal diehards.
Sometimes for me, it’s a game, and I’m willing invest a lot more time than it is probably worth. But you have to take into account just how much your time is worth and how how far you are willing to go to attain the savings.
“Point is – deals are there but boy it was a lot of work. I was practically in tears by the time I spent an hour + on the phone with United trying to sort their web site out and book the reservation. Can’t wait till I start on the summer trip, yikes!!” Ann T.
One reader’s story
A loyal Beat of Hawaii reader, Ann T., emailed me this weekend to report what she’d done recently in order to score the best deal. Ann lives in Hawaii and wanted to buy tickets to go to San Francisco in June.
” I kept tracking Kayak @ $750+.” Then, United.com for 3 days showed fares in the $600’s that did not really exist (so they gave me a $50 coupon for my patience)! “Today listed fare on United site was $575 – with $50 off, $525!!!! We scored! Further added Ann: Kayak still said $700’s+; United, Hawaiian and Alaska were all less than Kayak, Expedia, Priceline, etc.
My questions for Ann: 1) How did you extract $50 from United and how long did that take? 2) What was the total amount of time you spent to achieve the savings?
Here are just some of the types of sources that I scour regularly for airfares. I typically do that checking at least a half dozen times each day for our Post Alerts.
- Airline websites
- Online travel agencies (e.g. Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz)
- Airfare search engines (e.g. Kayak)
- Deal alerts (e.g. Expedia’s Airfarewatchdog)
- Social Media (e.g. Twitter feeds and Facebook fan pages)
What do you do, other than receiving our updates, to watch for possible drops in Hawaii airfares? And how much time do you spend getting your Hawaii vacation on the cheap?
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Sharon Parker says
Ann, I commend you on securing that coupon from United! As you have had only good experiences with them, I have only had the opposite, one nightmare after the other! I’ve been a Mileage Plus member for 25+ years and used mileage to travel to Maui and Honolulu this past February. I travel annually to Hawaii and have always flown United. The flights were okay but reservations, schedule changes, confirmation for the wrong flights on the wrong days, spending our entire last day and night online and on the phone to clear up check-in issues, etc. the list goes on and on. I wrote them a letter with everything that happened and they were not that apologetic or concerned. I will still use United to travel as I have worked hard at earing my points. This was just another bad experience with United, whether flying to Hawaii or on the mainland. I will be giving American my business as no one could be worse and I’m hoping for a long relationship with them, something that I do not feel United cares about. But, again, I truly am happy that you have had good experiences and they did seem to value your business.
MORE IMPORTANTLY, I love this website and thank you for a world of knowledge to become a better and wiser traveler to the place we all call Paradise!
Hi Rob and Jeff,
My family (parents, sister, and I) are visiting Oahu and the Big Island from November 7th to 21st. I know Hawaiian Airlines just had their low airfare sale just to Honolulu but when do you think lower prices will be for the other islands? Is it better to do separate flights like round trip from Sacramento to Honolulu then buy separate inter-island tickets to the Big Island? Or do a multi-city plan trip (through HA) as a package? When do you think I should buy tickets for November (since I missed the last HA fare sale). Any other info you could provide would be great. Thanks so much.
I have a feeling that flying into Oahu and then out of B.I. might be the most cost effective way to go. that way you’ll only have to pony up for one expensive inter-island flight. We definitely haven’t seen the last of the Fall airfares. In fact, it was most unusual to see a fall airfare happen in early May. We typically see those in July or August, so stay tuned for more.
Barney H. says
I want to thank Beat Of Hawaii for obtaining the best deal ever for my upcoming flight from DFW Airport to Honolulu for $450 in July, 2011, round trip. I also obtained my interlsland trips to Hilo and Kauai and back to Honolulu for a very good price. Additionally, I just obtained a rental car for half of what was listed going through Beat of Hawaii!! Thank you so very much.
II always check for the airlines’ vacation packages in addition to checking the flight alone using the above recommended sites. For example, our travel to HNL last June from SLC was $900/person for flight alone. When I checked Delta Vacations for the same dates and flight, I got the direct flight plus a rental car for $700/person and we are a family of four. This August, United had pretty good prices to Kauai from SLC for $789. However, United Vacations, though crappy flight times, I was able to book rental car/flight package for $615/person for family of 4.
I have found that Expedia’s package deals with airfare and hotel can be lower than the airfare alone. We just bought 5 tickets and 1 night (2 rooms) at the Hilton Waikoloa for $650/person. On Expedia, you can book a hotel stay for shorter than your trip (we had already reserved a condo for our 10 day trip). The airfare alone on Expedia from LAX to Kona on the same flights was almost $1,000/person.
I have not had good luck with Kayak.com – I had heard they had some low fares and hotel prices, but I ended up paying $20 more for a hotel through them (non-refundable) than I could have gotten from Orbitz. Don’t think I’ll use them again…
I had tried the United web site with the flexible fare schedule about 3 different times. They listed a fare for the days I wanted and said “see below for details”. Well….below the fare was $250 more than the above listed fare.
I called United to ask what was going on and the very kind man offered me a coupon for my patience. I did not ask. He was just very nice.
I would like to say this is typical of my experience with United. They have always been kind and very helpful to me, especially when there is an emergency!
How long did the whole thing take – too long! (2-3 hrs total?) But I am quite willing and even happy when I search out the best fare. My husband calls me “the finder”.
Thanks for your great site
I recently scored a flight from Dulles Airport to Honolulu for $474 round trip on American. How? By reading this site first thing in the day! When I heard about the flights from this site, I started casting as wide a net as I could…it took about an hour or so, but I found tickets leavinga wednesday in June. Since I had already done Honolulu and Waikiki, I wanted to do something different and decided that the North Shore is different. So, I started looking for a house or cottage on the beach. Found a nice two bedroom duplex right on the beach for the week for under $1,500! When you consider that a week in June at the beaches on the east coast run $5000 and up for a moderate beach house, $900 for airfare (me and my wife) and $1,500 for a house is a no brainer in my book!