Flights to Hawaii

What Happens When Hawaii Travel Demand Meets High Ticket Prices?

If you plan on taking a Hawaii vacation, you aren’t alone. And if you think the price of a Hawaii vacation is too high, and that Hawaii deals seem to have gone missing, starting with airfare, you’re correct. Here’s what we know:

1. Hawaii vacation demand has reached an all time peak. In spite of higher costs, Google is reporting that searches for Hawaii increased by a compelling 78% in the past 30 days. That’s clear evidence to us that people are thinking of Hawaii vacations for Spring and Summer.

2. Pricing is too high. Airlines and hotels have been looking to see just how far costs can rise without killing demand. They seem to have found that point. As a result of generally exorbitant pricing, overall visitor arrival and visitor spending will be relatively flat this year. It could even decline next year.

3. Gone are discretionary visitors. There’s an all important segment of the Hawaii visitor market which isn’t widely discussed. It’s those of you who take a Hawaii vacation if the price is right, or may go elsewhere if it is not. You are in this group if you are waiting for Hawaii deals on airfares and discounted accommodations to create a Hawaii vacation on a budget. While there are no statistics on your group, discretionary travelers are largely vacating the Hawaii market in favor of cheaper trips.

4. Peak season visitors remain strong. Those of you who travel to Hawaii in peak season, spring break, summer and over holidays are accustomed to paying top dollar for both airfare and accommodation. This group has been largely unaffected thus far. While prices for peak travel have also risen, they remain relatively unchanged from past pricing when compared with discretionary pricing. Off season travel has gone up as much as double in some cases.

Suggestions for discretionary visitors:

  • Expect to wait a bit longer to find Hawaii deals. Airlines are trying hard to keep prices up. We will still see deals, however as demand decreases.
  • Look at alternatives for hotels such as Hawaii vacation rentals. Accommodations are typically the largest cost associated with a Hawaii vacation.

Suggestions for high season visitors:

  • Book as early as possible, up to 330 days before travel.
  • Reserve air, accommodations and please don’t forget car rentals. Cars can easily sell out or become cost prohibitive.

15 thoughts on “What Happens When Hawaii Travel Demand Meets High Ticket Prices?”

  1. I am really shocked by the prices right now. We have a trip planned for Thanksgiving and I am used to paying $1000 – $1200 from Denver. Current prices are $1800 and up. I am looking at other alternatives like flying from the west coast but their prices are also over $1K.

    We may have to cancel if this does not go down. I cannot pay $7K for a family of 4.

    1. Hi John,

      I see The United nonstop at that price, but American is running $1,000 or less for almost all dates. Via Phoenix.


    2. I checked American and for Thanksgiving Fri, Sat or Sun to Fri, Sat or Sun, the flights are $1653 on American. I am not sure where you saw that.

      1. Hi John,

        Please provide your Hawaii destination and exact depart/return dates and we’ll look further.


      1. Sure John.

        Had been checking HNL the first time. That is where the $850+ flights are. You might want to look at that together with inter-island. Island Air has some $130 round trips still available. OGG starts at $1,150 and for that you’d have to leave on the 23rd and take odd routing. It would seem better to connect in HNL for a 20 minute flight rather than on the west coast.

        Hope it works out. Please let us know.


    3. Well I am having no luck. I have a daily Kayak email with DEN – HNL – DEN and have not seen $850 in months. What search engine are you using?

      1. Sorry, the date for $865 is the 23rd or for $912 on the 21st. Best connections are on 21st: US2039, US694. Returning on 28th: US693, IS607. I got those from the US Airways site.

        By the way, this could improve but it is a long shot.


      1. Let us know how it goes John.

        It’s a bummer how much we now have to compromise to deal with high airfares. All of us are in the same boat.


  2. Hi,
    I think part of the reason Hawaii vacation demand may have increased recently, aside from people wanting to escape the snow, could possibly be due to the increase in TV shows about Hawaii lately – Hawaii Life and Buying Hawaii on the HGTV and Destination America cable channels. It’s great for Hawaii tourism though.

  3. Marsha,

    Our family has gone to Aruba the last 2 summer vacations and we love it there. We are from Pennsylvania, so the trip is about 4.5 hrs total fly time. We’ve found Aruba to be a very friendly, safe alternative to Hawaii and most of the other Caribbean islands. Hope this helps

  4. I have to travel from NYC to see my family/friends in da ‘aina. Anyway, I must say I have not seen summer airfare prices this high (from the JFK/EWR) in years. They are approaching Xmas prices!!!!

    I honestly think HA is pricing themselves out of this market..:(. If I had no family-related reasons to visit Hawaii, there is no way I would pay $1800 on a roundtrip airfare on HA…especially as these airfares were $600-700 just a few years ago. Well, at least I’m using my HA miles for this trip, but do you really think that these airfares are sustainable, even in the short term? Also, thanks for the great has been so helpful! Thanks, Rob from NYC

  5. I am so bummed about the airfares…..I keep looking but have started thinking about the Caribbean or ????? any suggestions ?

    1. Hi Marsha,

      Not sure what to suggest. But I’d hang in there for a few more weeks. We’re going to see some deals show up.


Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top