Increased service to Hawaii could force other airlines to lower prices.
On Tuesday, United Airlines celebrated its 70th year of flying to Hawaii by announcing increased service on 11 routes. When this expansion goes into effect on December 20, it will offer more flights between the continental United States and Hawaii than any other carrier.
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“By adding these flights, we are thrilled to make Hawaii more accessible than ever for our customers,” United’s vice president of sales, Jake Cefolia, said in a statement.
According to USA Today, the plan is largely to turn seasonal routes into year-round service.
Flights to Kahului, Lihue, and Kona from Denver, for example, will increase from seasonal service to year-round, daily service. From Chicago, a Saturday-only service to Maui will increase in frequency to five times a week.
Los Angeles-based flights to Hilo will increase to daily service, while flights to Kona, Lihue, and Kahului will increase to two or three daily flights. In San Francisco, meanwhile, daily fights to Kona, Lihue, and Kahului will also increase in frequency — in some cases occurring as many as five times per day.
Daily, year-round service to Honolulu from Denver and Chicago will continue unchanged, as will the five daily, round-trip flights to Honolulu from both San Francisco and Los Angeles.
While it’s too soon to say for certain, this increase in service could force competitors like Hawaiian Airlines to significantly drop their prices.
The flight search site Skyscanner confirmed that fares are still stable — but as these new routes come into effect at the end of the year, a decline is likely. After all, United isn’t the only one turning its eyes to the Aloha State. Southwest Airlines recently made known its Hawaiian ambitions. And with its recent acquisition of Virgin America, Alaska Airlines is poised to assert a stronger presence in Hawaii.
Remember that time American Airlines offered $265 round-trip tickets to Maui? We sure do. So we have our fingers crossed that this massive surge in flight availability puts trips to Hawaii seriously on sale.