How do I get to Hawaii often and cheaply?
December 5, 2010 12:03 PM   Subscribe

One of my favorite people is moving to Honolulu for a few years, and I would like to visit (from NYC) often and cheaply. Are there any Hawaii-specific frequent travel hacks/tips I should know about, beyond setting up a few price alerts? Are there any frequent flyer programs that would be particularly rewarding in this situation?
posted by unknowncommand to Travel & Transportation around Hawaii (4 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
How cheap is cheap for you? I looked at some random dates in January on Skyscanner and found fares from $590 up to $1000, with stops on the way there and back.
posted by mdonley at 12:15 PM on December 5, 2010

My only real tip would be to pick one airline/alliance and try to stick with it. That route is long enough that you would get "elite" status pretty quickly (3 roundtrips), which will in turn make your travel experience a lot more pleasant. (On United, for instance, you'd get free "economy plus" access, plus somewhat shorter lines and a 25% mileage bonus, after you pass 25,000 miles in a year -- which, again, is less than 3 round trips to HNL. After 50,000 in a year -- basically 5 round trips -- you get a bunch of other stuff, including a 100% mileage bonus. You'd get entered in the upgrade queue, too, and would have a good chance of clearing once you made it to the 50K level.)

Oh, one other thing: flights to HNL seem (in my limited experience) to be more prone than most others to crazy, factor-of-two changes in pricing -- like, right now it's $700-1000 to go, but in March you may very well be able to get tickets for less than $500. (I've flown to HNL for less than $300 from the west coast, and $450 from the east coast, in the last couple years.) So maybe be prepared to buy a bunch of tickets if they go on sale in Feb/March.
posted by chalkbored at 12:33 PM on December 5, 2010

Last year I flew to Hawaii for $430 round-trip from Boston. April/May and October/Nov tend to be cheaper times to fly. Just be patient and keep your eyes peeled, and snap up a cheap flight when you see one.
posted by emd3737 at 1:21 PM on December 5, 2010

The NY Times "Getting There" Page for Hawaii says Continental has the only nonstop flight to Honolulu, seems to be about $800. Even non-stop it's 10 hours. The cheapest seem to start at just over $500, and have 2 or more stops, take like 18 hours. I'd be willing to bet the best you could do is split the trip on 2 airlines taking advantage of big fair sales. You could get a great fair from NYC to a west coast city, and then another great fair from that city on to Hawaii on 2 different airlines. That NY Times page lists all the airlines. I love playing the cheap flight game!
posted by Blake at 5:47 PM on December 5, 2010

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