More Fees Coming to Hawaiian Air

Hawaiian Airlines recently started charging $25 for exit row seating. And, while limited free meals are still available, they are now offering $10 paid meals as well as snacks and bottled water. In case you thought that was the end of Hawaiian’s ancillary fees, think again.

“Ancillary revenue…will become a bigger chunk of our total revenue.” Mark Dunkerley, CEO

Here are my top 7 ancillary fee predictions for Hawaiian Airlines. If you have any to add, please comment.

  1. Expect Hawaiian to discontinue free meal service in the near future. They’re not alone. Continental, the last major US carrier to feature free meals, starts serving paid food tomorrow. Free meals are not an adequately distinguishing feature in relation to the expense (likely over $7 per head). The $10 paid meals that Hawaiian is already proffering won’t become financially effective until the free food is gone.
  2. Beverages (soft drinks, water, juice) for pay may follow, along the lines of Allegiant and Australia’s most successful (Qantas-owned) Jetstar. This is somewhat more complicated than food, but like checked bag fees, it will eventually come to pass.
  3. Pillows, blankets and perhaps souvenirs will become new sources of revenue and passenger annoyance.
  4. Expect a pre-boarding fee (for standard passengers) if you wish to get on early and stash your carry-on.
  5. Assigned seating at time of booking will be at an extra cost.
  6. HawaiianMiles frequent flyer redemption will incur fees.
  7. Pay per visit Premier club lounge fees in LA or Honolulu (unless you’re a member).

Bottom line is that in the US Mainland market, Hawaiian must prepare to compete with Allegiant Air, which is the domestic king of ancillary fees.  As you may recall, ancillary fees on Allegiant garners an average $32 per person per flight. And they do that on an average airfare of under $100.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


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11 thoughts on “More Fees Coming to Hawaiian Air”

  1. HAL’s decision to jump on the bandwagon of the “new paradigm” may do it for me. I fly twice a year and have long been loyal to HAL because they DIDN”T do stuff like this! Alaska has a much more convenient flight at a lesser fare – even with their ‘add ons”. Looks like HAL’s lost my business….is this the spirit of Aloha? Or the spirit of making more money?

    1. Thanks for your comment Sandy.

      I completely relate. Unfortunately, these changes are industry-wide, so we are left with few choices.

      Aloha, Jeff

  2. Don’t forget that Mexico vacations offer NON STOP charter flights of approximately 3 hours to a sunny beach. No extra charge for your bag.

    Hawaii requires an 8-12 hour flight with multiple stops – effectively eliminating two days from your week vacation.

    I still prefer Hawaii – but Mexico is a close second and could inch up :0(

  3. I’m sick and tired of all the added airline fees! From now on I will only fly Southwest. If Southwest doesn’t go where I want to go I guess I’ll stay home. Added fees will eventually bite the airlines in the ass.

  4. We recently flew Hawaiian to Maui, changing planes in Honolulu. We arrived in time for the inter island flight but was told there would be an additional $30-$65 fee (depending on class of seat), Seriously, a ‘class of seat’ for a 45 minute flight? to board. Needless to say, we waited the 50 minutes for our booked flight. Also, flew in one of their new airbuses back and forth from HNL to LAX. Nice planes with entertainment modules in the seatback. The ‘catch’? $15 to watch a single movie because you have to purchase the whole package of multiple movies. Same thing with the games.

  5. Some of these fees will be borne without undue complaint. A meal charge? We bring our own anyway since it is so often inedible. But charging for seat selection and pre-boarding? The vacationing public — who want to sit together and know they have a fighting chance of being on the same side of the plane as their baggage — will simply decide that Mexico or Florida are more welcoming. Hawaiian Air needs to remember that the spirit of aloha starts at the website and endures until the passenger is returned home. If people feel nickeled and dimed, the essence of aloha will be lost, and the islands as a vacation venue will be permanently damaged.

    1. Hi Soozzie,

      Heading to Mexico or Florida won’t change the way airline industry works. This is the new, global travel paradigm, and it’s all about unbundled pricing and ancillary fees.

      Thanks for writing.

      Aloha, Jeff

  6. My guess: They’ll start charging people with disabilities a fee to pre-board, since they’re going to do that with the TABS (temporarily able bodied) travelers.


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