With the end of 2019 just over 4 months away, and 2020 sales already announced, we’re looking back on 2019 while offering 7 predictions for 2020, the best Hawaii deals ever.
2019 Hawaii Deals in Review.
This has already been the year of occasional $99 airfares. In actuality that started late in 2018, when there were two brief rounds of $99 airfares launched by Alaska and United. Then in 2019, it resumed in earnest, with $49, $79 and $99 airfares when Southwest Hawaii flights were first announced this past spring. Within minutes, the $49’s were gone, and within less than 24 hours, that sale was over. The $99 Southwest Hawaii airfares returned one more time last spring. Then last week, the $99 airfares were back, together with the announcement of more Southwest Hawaii deals and new routes.
1. Max Crashes furloughed inevitable competition and best Hawaii Deals.
Southwest Airlines has finally arrived in Hawaiian Airlines territory. This has been so long awaited as to be agonizing for everyone. The competition that we had expected to begin in 2019, was largely delayed. That was due mostly to the removal from service of Southwest’s Boeing Max 8 planes, that are their planned workhorse for future Hawaii flights and expansion. Southwest then shifted plans multiple times, and in the end, last week announced more Hawaii flights using the existing 737-800 fleet. That announcement came in order to continue, albeit more slowly, their necessary Hawaii expansion momentum.
2. Best Hawaii travel deals yet, and when to buy.
All indications are for the strongest Hawaii travel year with the lowest overall prices ever seen. There will be fierce, intermittent fare wars between all airlines serving Hawaii. Those could resume at any time.
In order to take advantage of upcoming fare wars, less advance planning than normal may be possible, even for summer and holidays. To get the best money saving deals, you will need to be flexible and at times, relatively last minute in planning. Also make plans for mid-week flights whenever possible. Case in point, most of last week’s $99 airfares were for mid-week travel only. Airlines will try (but may not succeed) in keeping more valuable weekend fares away from ground floor pricing.
3. All time low Hawaii airfares from six airlines.
Winter, spring, summer and fall 2020 should all feature on-again, off-again, exceptional sale prices from all airlines serving Hawaii. Even regular non-sale prices will be kept significantly lower than normal. Airlines participating in the competition include Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian, Southwest and United. No one will be left out. Hawaii is important to each of the airlines for varying reasons. Hawaiian, with the biggest stake in the game, will have the most important moves to watch. Alaska has a huge number of flights to and from Hawaii as well, and they will be the second ones to watch. There could be a shift in Alaska’s Hawaii strategy in 2020 that would reduce Bay Area and San Diego to Hawaii flights.
4. Low season 2020 Hawaii price predictions.
From the west coast, expect to see best low season sale prices starting at just under $200 round-trip, depending on the market. When traveling from the mid-west and east coast, you’ll pay $250+ more on average.
5. High season 2020 Hawaii price predictions.
Peak Hawaii travel periods are in effect during Spring Break (late March to mid April), from mid-June through mid-August, and at Thanksgiving and end of year holidays.
During the high season, look for intermittent west coast sale prices to start at about double off season pricing, or from just under $400, depending on the market. When traveling from the mid-west and east coast, again expect to pay $250+ more on average.
6. Our top picks for the best Hawaii deal gateway cities.
San Diego, San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose will feature the most frequent and best priced Hawaii deals, and to a lesser degree the Pacific Northwest. Once further expansion of Southwest’s Hawaii flights occurs, watch for competition fueled Hawaii deals to spread further afield, possibly including Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas and more. Those could come online starting in the 2nd half of 2020 and after.
7. Best ever inter-island airfares too.
As we saw exemplified during last week’s sale, we’ll have intermittent $29 airfare sales for island-hopping. Even regular fares will come down to about $50 each way in most markets. These represent dramatic savings and prices that hearken back two decades and more. That as a result of competition between bellwether Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
We welcome your thoughts and questions.