Somewhat unexpectedly (to us), Hawaiian Airlines recently announced non-stop flights from Honolulu to Austin, TX, Ontario, CA and Orlando, FL. These flights will start in the first quarter of 2021. Since Orlando wasn’t a slot-limited airport, I can only say that this was Hawaiian seeing an opportunity to capture an underserved leisure market.
Living in Orlando, seeing any new flights announced from the airport is exciting. However, seeing a non-stop from MCO to HNL as a possibility is awesome.
Until now, a flight to Hawaii included a stopover anywhere from the midwest to the west coast. Our last trip consisted of flights on Alaska from MCO-SEA and then SEA-HNL. The travel day was over 16 hours including the layover. By the time we arrived in Hawaii, we were ready to collapse in our hotel, only to wake up at 4 AM the next morning.
While Hawaiian is only planning on flying twice weekly between the cities, the flight’s mere introduction has resulted in a dramatic price drop.
In March, the week before Orlando’s inaugural flight, the least expensive flight from MCO to HLN is one with a 3-hour connection in Los Angeles for $281.
On a Tuesday in April, Hawaiian offers a non-stop flight between the two cities for $249.
In fact, on Tuesday and Saturday (the days of the Hawaiian flights) you can fly between the two cities for $249-$279. Every other day of the week will cost you $400+. Tell me competition in a new market doesn’t affect pricing,
Not to mention that the non-stop flight takes 6 hours less in travel time than the connecting flight on the other days of the week.
Would you rather arrive in Hawaii at 1 PM or 9 PM?
My initial search for flights shows business class tickets pricing much more than a coach ticket. Would I want to sit in a coach seat for an 11-hour flight if it means arriving in Hawaii earlier? That’s a decision I’ll have to make before booking a ticket. But for the numerous people who pay for tickets between Hawaii and Orlando, the introduction of a non-stop flight between the two cities means a faster trip and lower prices.
Yay for open markets!!!!!
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary