We’ve continued to have many questions about planning for upcoming summer 2018 Hawaii vacations. Concerns revolve around resumption of delivery for the new A321 fleet coming to Hawaiian Airlines and the impact this will have on competition and prices. As you know, deliveries were again halted several months ago due to engine issues on the new planes. Arrivals are expected to resume, however, as soon as within the next month.
Hawaiian will be receiving five additional airplanes between now and July. They’ll then receive two more this fall. “We have been working hard with Airbus and Pratt & Whitney to firm up our schedule.” –Alex Da Silva, HA Corporate Communications.
If you are traveling from west coast cities and can live with the uncertainty of pausing your Hawaii summer vacation planning, we suggest waiting on summer 2018 flight purchases. Read on for more details.
When flying from other than the west coast, we recommend a traditional strategy of buying for peak summer travel at this time.
1. Will Southwest Hawaii routes either fly by summer 2018 or be announced by then?
No, they will not. We expect to see Southwest Hawaii flights touch down sometime between December 2018 and February 2019 . You should be able to purchase tickets for those Southwest Hawaii flights no later than this October.
2. Will Hawaiian Airlines’ new fleet result in reduced flight costs this summer?
Yes. This should still occur as Hawaiian announces which (new and existing) routes will be served by their fleet of narrow body A321neo aircraft. These were to have started flying late in 2017. There have been two delays since then, however, which isn’t entirely unexpected for a new aircraft type.
More routes should soon be announced for summer 2018. With those will come introductory fares, as is traditionally the case. Thereafter other airlines including Alaska, Delta and United will react with competitive pricing. More fare wars remain a distinct possibility. We saw earlier this year two rounds of $99 Hawaii airfares, as an example of how extreme competition may get. Thus, great opportunities for summer and beyond Hawaii deals lie ahead. In fact we expect to see some of the best Hawaii deals ever in the next six months.
3. What is the time frame for buying for summer 2018?
No one knows either exactly which new routes will be announced, or when. These additional planes will undoubtedly impact summer 2018 flights and prices from the west coast. Are you are a betting person (that means either being willing to pay more later or delay your vacation if need be)? If so, then it is a good idea to wait a little longer, then buy on both the announcements and competitive sales. Otherwise, this is a good time to be buying for summer 2018.
4. Will any of these changes results in price reductions beyond the traditional west coast markets?
Next new routes will almost without question be from the west coast, and could include San Diego, Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest. Places like Salt Lake City and Denver for example, will probably not be in the next group of announcements. Thus, cities further afield are not likely to benefit at this time. And while Hawaiian could announce other flights from someplace like Chicago, we don’t anticipate that right now while they are busy focusing on the west coast deployment and getting their new planes situated.