Where Can I Find Cheap Flights to Hawaii?

Where Can I Find Cheap Flights to Hawaii?

Interested in Finding Cheap Flights to Hawaii?

Friends and travelers, as someone who is frugal and truly believes “a penny saved is a penny earned,” I wanted to share some advice on finding cheap flights to Hawaii. Here are 7 great tips on how to find them! If you have tips, please share them in the comments to help other travelers!

Before We Start: Know Hawaii’s Busy Seasons

Busy Season in Hawaii is typically during June-July (when there is school break) and during December (holiday breaks, vacation time, and because the Northern hemisphere’s weather is awful). Also, during the last week of March, first week of April, there is a large influx of Japanese visitors due to “Golden Week” (wiki).

Here is a chart showing the 2018 tourist arrivals per month, by market, according to data I compiled from the State of Hawaii’s Department of Business, Economic Development, & Tourism (DBEDT).

2018 visitor arrivals to Hawaii
2018 visitor arrivals to Hawaii

Tip: If you are flexible with your trip time, you can generally find better air fares, cheaper hotel rates, and less crowds at tourist attractions during non-peak times of the year. 

Before We Start: Know Which Islands You Want to Visit

You’ll want to know which islands you plan to visit. The central island is my island, Oahu. The more islands you add to your itinerary, the less flights will be available to match your plan, thus, the higher the prices. There’s no ferry or boat going to other islands really, so you will be forced to find an air flight. The HNL airport on Oahu is international, so there are tons of flights

Note: “Hawaii” is the name of our state. “Hawaii” is also the name of our biggest island… to avoid confusion we call it “Big Island.”

Average Hawaii flights and monthly visits in 2015, by island.
Average monthly visits in 2015, by island. Data provided by the state’s DBEDT.

1. Look at Hawaiian Airlines


Hawaiian Airlines is a major airline that services Hawaii as well as inter-island flights. They usually have good deals on West Coast flights as well (e.g. Oakland, Las Vegas, Seattle). Full disclosure: I have some friends who work for Hawaiian Airlines, so I might favor them :P.

If you use their website, they have a great online chat, which you generally won’t find on flight aggregates like Priceline or Travelocity.

2. Use Google Flights

Google Flights is an amazing tool from Google and it is better and much faster then Expedia, Orbitz, Priceline. 

Google Flights for Cheap Flights to Hawaii
Google Flights calculates in about 2 seconds and can quickly re-calculate for future departure dates. This is the awesome, “Price Graph” view, which lets me see the cheapest flights available for the future.

You enter your departure airport, destination airport, length of stay, date of arrival and departure, and their genius machines do the rest. I myself was able to fly from Honolulu (HNL) to Vancouver, Canada (YVR) last year for $448 RT during the summer (not bad, eh?).

Tip: if you are flexible, set yourself up for TRACK FLIGHTS. This will give you alerts when there are suddenly low prices! Instead of a travel agent, it’s an automated machine that sends you an email.

3. Join “Scott’s Cheap Flights” E-Mail List

I consider myself a bargain hunter and I receive a good amount of pleasure when I can well-below-market-prices for products or services of good value. For that reason, I highly recommend “Scott’s Cheap Flights.” Unlike #1 and #2, this is an e-mail list that is done BY HAND — the owner and his team manually browse the web for ridiculous prices and email them out.

Half of the offers are free — the other half are only available for premium members (currently $49/year).

Here are some examples right from his free offers:

All prices are for roundtrip flights and in USD unless otherwise stated.

FROM: Los Angeles (LAX)
Kauai (LIH) – $247*
Kona (KOA) – $247*
FROM: Seattle (SEA)
Kauai (LIH) – $247*
Kona (KOA) – $247*
* – nonstop / direct

WHEN: September 2018

NORMAL PRICE: $550+

AIRLINE: Delta

BUY BY: We think these fares will last less than 24 hours

Free subscribers missed out on $344 roundtrip fares to Hawaii this week. Go premium to get all the cheap flight alerts.

4. Find Special Deals with Other Airlines

You will occasionally find some great offers to Hawaii.

Last month, Southwest Airlines announced they would be starting flights to Hawaii, with fares as low as $49Scoot Airlines recently joined in the Asia-Hawaii flights market and they consistently show $100-$200 one-way flights to Osaka, Japan.

5. Check Prices on Tuesdays, Fly on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday

It is not well-known, but in the airline industry, Tuesdays are when air fares are updated. So, visit on Tuesdays to get a better look at the new week’s prices! For flights out, middle of the week and Saturdays (who wants to fly on a weekend 🙁 ), can show better prices (source: US News).

6. Use Costco’s Vacation Packages

Costco’s vision and mission aligns with me perfectly. For that reason, I vouch for Costco’s vacation packages. With these packages, they basically lump flights+hotels together, so you can’t as easily compare to Google Flights, but it saves you the hassle of choice, searching, and let’s you see at a glance if the package is right, since lodging and flight will be the majority of your travel expense.

Here’s an example I made:

  • 1 week, in the middle of December (major busy season)
  • 2 people, coming from LAX
  • round-trip
  • Oahu island

This is the result:

Play around with their vacation package tool at their website.

 

Let’s take a look at the 3rd result, at the Hilton Garden Inn, a 3-star Waikiki hotel at $2589.06.

Let’s compare to how much this costs on average:

  • typical, non-stop RT flight from LAX to HNL in December: $650 x 2 = $1,300
  • typical cost at the Ohana Waikiki Malia hotel in December: $200 x 8 nights = $1,600

Total: $2,900 

The fare is comparable. And guess what — if you use this vacation planner, you do it all in one place, rather than going through multiple websites or vendors.

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