What Happened to Pleasant Holidays Hawaii Deals

Do you remember the sub-$200 round trip to Hawaii airfares we used to share from Los Angeles and San Francisco? I’m not talking about years ago either, as it was actually just one year ago that I last proffered “Spring Break on Maui $199 Round Trip.”

One year makes a huge difference – Pleasant’s Hawaii deals start now at $535 per person.

So what happened? Pleasant Holidays was a long time partner with United Airlines deals and committed to bulk purchase of Hawaii tickets. When there was remaining unsold inventory of those seats, they offered them at a fraction of their already reasonable cost. Fortunately for us, that occurred frequently. We mentioned Pleasant’s Hawaii deals an untold number of times and I know many of you took advantage of them in order to have last minute Hawaii vacations for an exceptional price.

Whatever occurred, after March 2011, Pleasant was no longer able to offer bulk seats on United. When I searched their site for offerings today, I found them using a mix of airlines including UAL, Hawaiian and Alaska. An interesting comparison of their cost for a randomly picked 3-night Honolulu getaway and buying it independently is below.

“Multiple-island visits…are very complex, so travelers need travel agents to assist them.” Pleasant Holidays CEO

A legacy focus on travel agents.

Pleasant Holidays, which is owned by the Automobile Club of Southern California, has always sold the majority of their packages through travel agents. As recently as this year, Pleasant CEO Jack Richards said that multi-island Hawaii vacations need travel agents.

For me, however, three things invalidate Pleasant’s travel agent centric perspective.

First, the great majority of Hawaii visitors do not use travel agents. Second, the number of multi-island vacations is low and going lower, due to the staggering cost of inter-island airfares and the availability of direct flights from the mainland to all major islands. And third, companies like Allegiant which focus on airfare plus hotel, car and activities largely replace what travel agents have traditionally done.

Mexico and the Caribbean in their sights.

Pleasant sees much opportunity in Mexico primarily, and in the Caribbean secondarily. Frankly these appear to have largely replaced their Hawaii business. Pleasant sees that “Mexico is a huge value right now,” and that value means more room to maneuver and make money. Proximity from Southern California to Mexico certainly also plays in Pleasant’s favor.

Current price comparison of a 3-night Los Angeles to Honolulu vacation for two with air/hotel:

  • Purchased via Pleasant Holidays website: $1,217
  • Purchased via Hawaiian Airlines plus hotel website: $1,210
  • For travel 4/25-4/28, including 3 nights at Maile Sky Court. Including all taxes/fees.

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5 thoughts on “What Happened to Pleasant Holidays Hawaii Deals”

  1. It would seem that the downturn of Pleasant’s presence in Hawaii has also affected its excursion business as well. For a long time Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays would have some of the best rates for Hawaiian adventures, e.g., luaus, snorkling/scuba trips, outer-island excursions. Now, their prices seem on-par with what is already out there on the interweb. I miss the days when Pleasant would fill an entire chartered ATA L-1011, or B757… how do the “excursion” airlines in Europe survive?

  2. I used Pleasant Holidays last year for a one week vacation to Oahu and loved the deal I received. My sister and I went for $525 a person, which included air, round trip and hotel. I am blown away at how high the prices are this year.

  3. But the Caribbean isn’t exactly close to Southern California (and I think they had a significant market share in northern California as well). Are there even non-stop flights?

    1. Thanks Valerie and Oliver for your comments.

      Yes, having Pleasant gone is a loss. Hopefully it will be made up for by new services that will be unveiled soon.

      Yes there was a good amount of Northern California traffic on PH (I’d guess half of what it was out of LA), and no the Caribbean isn’t close. Mexico is, and it is very well priced, giving tour operators like Pleasant some room to make money.



  4. Wow, when I made my first trip to Hawaii from NYC in 2009 we didn’t use a travel agent and we managed to visit 3 islands booking everything ourselves cost-effectively. Sorry to hear of the loss of great prices from Pleasant from the West coast.

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