There’s a surprise Hawaii travel announcement this morning from otherwise Hawaii-lackluster United Airlines. This move indicates UAL doesn’t plan on yielding the east coast anytime soon to rival Hawaiian Air’s ambitions.
The new Washington DC to Honolulu service, which will use 767-400 aircraft, is the second recent announcement of new nonstop service to Hawaii from the distant east coast. Hawaiian recently announced New York City service, which will also be starting in June. We plan to report on that service personally. Hawaiian will use it’s new Airbus A330-300, which is arguably a more comfortable plane than United’s. Do you have any thoughts on that?
This is great news for Hawaii tourism, which seems poised for a record-breaking year. The state’s HTA expects the new route will generate approximately $135 million in new visitor spending annually.
Will there be a fare sale?
No fare sale was announced by United in conjunction with the new service. In fact a check of prices is showing a range of about $900-$1,100 round trip. A Hawaii travel deal based on the new routing is a distinct possibility I’ll be watching for. When Hawaiian announced their new service, it came with a brilliant $212 one-way inaugural fare.
Will it work?
It remains to be seen if United can feed enough Hawaii-bound visitors into its DC hub to make this route a success. By itself, the DC region is not a large part of Hawaii’s tourism draw so the carrier will also need to rely on bringing traffic from adjacent areas. Pricing will have a lot to do with whether or not this will work. You may recall another east coast to Hawaii non-stop that failed recently. US Air’s Charlotte to Honolulu service was relatively short-lived. The airline was forced to heavily discount that route which resulted in it no longer being profitable.
United is struggling to retain its dominance between the US Mainland and Hawaii. It faces both legacy, regional and new competitors and more announcements from these players are imminent.
This may shape up to be the most interesting year ever for Hawaii travel. And the deals you love with definitely play a large role.
Photo taken on approach to Honolulu International Airport.