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Hawaii - Airfare --- How do you plan it out?

Sugarcubesea

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I started searching for flight for next year but August of 2016 is not yet open for booking on any of the airlines I have looked at.

So I started looking to see how I could get there with an arrival time of 4:00 to 8:00pm and none of the flights I can find from MI, can get me there during that time…

Most flights are 12 to 14 hours in duration…

Can anyone who has done this flight from the midwest, give me some help. Should I buy tickets to seattle and then find tickets to Maui from there?


thanks so much
 

Ken555

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Where are you flying from? I checked a few random dates from MI and it seems many flights left very early (6-7am) and arrived around 1-2pm, which seems like a great option. Of course, it all depends on which airport you use. However, if you don't want to leave so early plan a night on the west coast and continue from there. There are nonstops to Maui from SEA, PDX, SFO, SJC, LAX, and SAN.

It's also way too early to be buying flights. If you plan on using award travel with miles you should start looking soon, though.


Sent from my iPad
 

Sugarcubesea

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Where are you flying from? I checked a few random dates from MI and it seems many flights left very early (6-7am) and arrived around 1-2pm, which seems like a great option. Of course, it all depends on which airport you use. However, if you don't want to leave so early plan a night on the west coast and continue from there. There are nonstops to Maui from SEA, PDX, SFO, SJC, LAX, and SAN.

It's also way too early to be buying flights. If you plan on using award travel with miles you should start looking soon, though.

Sent from my iPad

Hi Ken,

Thanks for the help… I'm flying out of DTW (Detroit Metro) and we are going to the island of Maui. I like leaving early and I would love a stop mid-way to stretch my legs… We went to Seattle this year and my ankles started swelling because I was sitting so long….thanks for the help:)

I have no award miles to use, this will be my hard earned money, so I'm trying to figure out how to get all of us there the cheapest way possible….
 

Ken555

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Hi Ken,

Thanks for the help… I'm flying out of DTW (Detroit Metro) and we are going to the island of Maui. I like leaving early and I would love a stop mid-way to stretch my legs… We went to Seattle this year and my ankles started swelling because I was sitting so long….thanks for the help:)

I have no award miles to use, this will be my hard earned money, so I'm trying to figure out how to get all of us there the cheapest way possible….


DTW is what I had used for my test. It seemed to be that, at least on the random date I checked (and it's likely flight times will change) was for American leaving at 8am change planes in DFW and then arrive in OGG. This might not be the cheapest flight...you won't know for many months. Just setup a monitor at Kayak or Hipmunk and watch it.


Sent from my iPad
 
Last edited:

Luanne

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We used to live in California and could fly direct, an "easy" 5 hour flight from San Francisco. But now we're in New Mexico and there is no such thing as a direct flight any longer.

The last two times we've gone to Maui we've flow from Albuquerque. The first time we were routed through San Francisco, the second time through Denver. Flights over were "okay" but the return flights both times became nightmares. The first time instead of flying from Maui to San Francisco back to Albuquerque we ended up going Maui to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Albuquerque. The second time our flight from Maui to Denver was cancelled, so we got put on a flight Maui to Chicago, then back to Albuquerque.

The end of this story is we've decided that instead of these routing nightmares we'll just fly to the San Francisco Bay area, spend a couple of nights, then take the direct flight out of Oakland, or SFO that leaves around 9 a.m. and gets into Maui (or the Big Island) around 11 a.m. Since we are now retired we have the time to do this.
 

Sugarcubesea

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DTW is what I had used for my test. It seemed to be that, at least on the random date I checked (and it's likely flight times will change) was for American leaving at 8am change planes in DFW and then arrive in OGG. This might not be the cheapest flight...you won't know for many months. Just setup a monitor at Kayak or Hipmunk and watch it.


Sent from my iPad

I had not heard of Hipmunk, thanks for that… I set up an alert at Hopper but I will set alerts at both Hipmunk and Kayak….thanks
 

Sugarcubesea

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We used to live in California and could fly direct, an "easy" 5 hour flight from San Francisco. But now we're in New Mexico and there is no such thing as a direct flight any longer.

The last two times we've gone to Maui we've flow from Albuquerque. The first time we were routed through San Francisco, the second time through Denver. Flights over were "okay" but the return flights both times became nightmares. The first time instead of flying from Maui to San Francisco back to Albuquerque we ended up going Maui to San Francisco to Los Angeles to Albuquerque. The second time our flight from Maui to Denver was cancelled, so we got put on a flight Maui to Chicago, then back to Albuquerque.

The end of this story is we've decided that instead of these routing nightmares we'll just fly to the San Francisco Bay area, spend a couple of nights, then take the direct flight out of Oakland, or SFO that leaves around 9 a.m. and gets into Maui (or the Big Island) around 11 a.m. Since we are now retired we have the time to do this.

I have 15 more years before I can retire and I'm already on on countdown mode….LOL
 

Ken555

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I had not heard of Hipmunk, thanks for that… I set up an alert at Hopper but I will set alerts at both Hipmunk and Kayak….thanks


Momondo.com is another good site to check, though in my limited use it seems to be better with international travel.


Sent from my iPad
 

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Usually I plan about 8 months in advance, but for this trip I did not. I booked my flights to Kauai far in advance when frequent flyer seats opened up. I was a little flexible on return date from Maui and waited till about 2 weeks before departure and got tickets from Maui to San Diego for $235.
 

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Here's how you do it. Get an Alaska Airlines Visa card. The annual fee will be $75, billed as soon as you get the card, but you also get a companion coupon right away. Book a multi-destination flight from DTW-SEA-OGG-SEA-DTW. For example:

DTW -> SEA Alaska 793 4:45 pm Tue, Sep 8 6:25 pm Tue, Sep 8
SEA -> OGG Alaska 861 8:30 am Wed, Sep 9 11:30 am Wed, Sep 9
OGG -> SEA Alaska 848 12:45 pm Wed, Sep 23 9:19 pm Wed, Sep 23
SEA -> DTW Alaska 792 8:20 am Thu, Sep 24 3:37 pm Thu, Sep 24

Annual fee: $75
Traveler 1: $778.61
Companion: $99.00
Taxes, Fees and Charges: $156.87
Total for 2 tickets: $1109.48

If you don't want to spend the night sleeping in the airport on the way over and back, there's plenty of hotels very close to the Seattle airport with free shuttles. The money you're saving on tickets more than pays for the hotel stays. We've done this several times flying from MSP to Hawaii. The sleepover in Seattle means we get to Hawaii without as much jet lag, it breaks up the flights, and we arrive at the resort early in the afternoon, ready for some mai tais.
 

Sugarcubesea

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Here's how you do it. Get an Alaska Airlines Visa card. The annual fee will be $75, billed as soon as you get the card, but you also get a companion coupon right away. Book a multi-destination flight from DTW-SEA-OGG-SEA-DTW. For example:

DTW -> SEA Alaska 793 4:45 pm Tue, Sep 8 6:25 pm Tue, Sep 8
SEA -> OGG Alaska 861 8:30 am Wed, Sep 9 11:30 am Wed, Sep 9
OGG -> SEA Alaska 848 12:45 pm Wed, Sep 23 9:19 pm Wed, Sep 23
SEA -> DTW Alaska 792 8:20 am Thu, Sep 24 3:37 pm Thu, Sep 24

Annual fee: $75
Traveler 1: $778.61
Companion: $99.00
Taxes, Fees and Charges: $156.87
Total for 2 tickets: $1109.48

If you don't want to spend the night sleeping in the airport on the way over and back, there's plenty of hotels very close to the Seattle airport with free shuttles. The money you're saving on tickets more than pays for the hotel stays. We've done this several times flying from MSP to Hawaii. The sleepover in Seattle means we get to Hawaii without as much jet lag, it breaks up the flights, and we arrive at the resort early in the afternoon, ready for some mai tais.

Wow, thanks
 

artringwald

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I forgot to mention that as soon as you get the Alaska Air Visa card, they credit you with 25,000 miles. Unfortunately, you can't use the miles in combination with a companion ticket. If you fly Alaska without a companion ticket, you can use the miles for a first class upgrade, or use the miles to pay for part of the ticket.

Here's how you can get 2 nights in a Seattle airport hotel for free. If you and your wife both apply for American Airlines credit cards, you each will get 30,000 miles upon approval. You can use those miles to book hotels, which cost about 20,000/night in Seattle. The annual fee is waived for the first year, so if you cancel the cards before the year is up, you own nothing. We also use our AA miles for Hawaiian Airlines inter-island flights, which cost 5,000 miles per segment.

Keep in mind that there is a very slight penalty to your credit rating each time you apply for or cancel a credit card, so you don't want to do it a bunch of times with different credit cards.
 

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We routinely fly to Hawaii from the Midwest. Detroit is a Delta hub, so they will probably offer the most convenient flight times. I'd strongly stress convenience over price, if you can swing it. For long distance travel, total commute time is the single most important element when choosing a flight.*

From Cincinnati, we leave very early am, departing no later than 7am. I will always choose Salt Lake City as a layover city if it's available because it's a great, smaller airport that rarely experiences delays. 1.5 hours is about the perfect layover in SLC. It's enough time to stretch your legs, take a potty break, and grab some brunch.

I've never had any difficulty flying straight through and wouldn't even consider flying into a city and spending the night there unless it was for several nights. Arriving in the early afternoon is ideal because of the time difference and because sunset is so early in Hawaii. (Check timeanddate.com for sunrise and sunset times.) I'd strongly advise against arriving in the evening because Hawaii is 5-6 hours behind us and 9pm is 3 or 4am Eastern time. Maui is especially difficult unless you're staying in a Kihei timeshare, because all the other timeshares are found in West Maui, which is at least an hour drive along a dark and winding Oceanside road. Not ideal when you've been up for 24 hours and driving in an unfamiliar car.

The red eye home is when you'll want to upgrade to economy plus, if you can swing it.

*PS If you book Delta at 10 months out, they WILL change the flights at one or several points before the actual departure day. This can actually work in your favor as schedule changes allow you to call in and change to another flight for no extra charge. I've never flown my original flights in the 5 times I've flown to Hawaii on Delta. For my upcoming trip in December, I originally booked through LAX because it was the cheapest award seat. When they canceled that flight, I called and switched to flying through SLC, which was ideal for me. (All these changes invariably mean losing seat assignments, so look often to see if you still have assigned seats.)
 

MichaelColey

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I have no award miles to use, this will be my hard earned money, so I'm trying to figure out how to get all of us there the cheapest way possible….
We're a family of 5, so we're always looking for the cheapest way possible, too. If it means getting to go to Hawaii, we'll consider all possibilities:

1) Unplanned trips, when airfare sales pop up. We get alerted to low airfares. We've flown to Hawaii for as little as $273 each (round trip).
2) Flexibility on days of week and times to fly. We all have favorite times to fly, but if we have to get up at 3am to make a 5am flight and save $200 per ticket ($1000 total), that's what we'll do. And if we have to fly in on Thursday or Tuesday, we'll just have a longer or shorter vacation.
3) Frequent flyer miles. This is a huge one for us. We put every dollar we can on credit cards that help enable our travel addiction. Starwood AmEx is our favorite, mainly because of the transfer rate to AA (our favorite airline).
4) Set alerts. When you have a trip planned, monitor and buy when the fare goes on sale, or when you start getting too close to the travel dates.
5) Consider alternate routes. If tickets are $1000 but you could fly from the west coast for $300, book the west coast tickets and then make other travel arrangements to get to the west coast. Sometimes flying out of nearby airports (maybe Chicago/ORD?) are much cheaper. It could be well worth the drive.

Where there's a will to vacation, there's a way. :)
 

Sugarcubesea

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LR, thanks for the help… Do you think booking 10 months out will give me the best price for Maui or should I wait till the 3 month mark to book tickets?

Do you fly directly into Maui when you go?

thanks much


We routinely fly to Hawaii from the Midwest. Detroit is a Delta hub, so they will probably offer the most convenient flight times. I'd strongly stress convenience over price, if you can swing it. For long distance travel, total commute time is the single most important element when choosing a flight.*

From Cincinnati, we leave very early am, departing no later than 7am. I will always choose Salt Lake City as a layover city if it's available because it's a great, smaller airport that rarely experiences delays. 1.5 hours is about the perfect layover in SLC. It's enough time to stretch your legs, take a potty break, and grab some brunch.

I've never had any difficulty flying straight through and wouldn't even consider flying into a city and spending the night there unless it was for several nights. Arriving in the early afternoon is ideal because of the time difference and because sunset is so early in Hawaii. (Check timeanddate.com for sunrise and sunset times.) I'd strongly advise against arriving in the evening because Hawaii is 5-6 hours behind us and 9pm is 3 or 4am Eastern time. Maui is especially difficult unless you're staying in a Kihei timeshare, because all the other timeshares are found in West Maui, which is at least an hour drive along a dark and winding Oceanside road. Not ideal when you've been up for 24 hours and driving in an unfamiliar car.

The red eye home is when you'll want to upgrade to economy plus, if you can swing it.

*PS If you book Delta at 10 months out, they WILL change the flights at one or several points before the actual departure day. This can actually work in your favor as schedule changes allow you to call in and change to another flight for no extra charge. I've never flown my original flights in the 5 times I've flown to Hawaii on Delta. For my upcoming trip in December, I originally booked through LAX because it was the cheapest award seat. When they canceled that flight, I called and switched to flying through SLC, which was ideal for me. (All these changes invariably mean losing seat assignments, so look often to see if you still have assigned seats.)
 

LisaRex

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LR, thanks for the help… Do you think booking 10 months out will give me the best price for Maui or should I wait till the 3 month mark to book tickets?

Generally, Hawaii flights aren't discounted in high season, which is basically when kids are out of school (e.g.summer and holidays). So if you're flying in early August, I really don't think that you'll see any price break. Later August, it's possible that they'll go lower.

There really isn't a compelling reason to book 10 months in advance unless you're trying to score award seats or see a great sale pop up. From Cincinnati, flights are usually around $1000, but lately I've seen them on sale for $864. With oil prices bottoming out, you might get lucky.

If you want to play the Delta game, buy the cheapest itinerary you can find at least 6 months out. When they change the schedule, go on line and figure out what flights you want to be on, and call armed with that information. As long as you fly out of and back to the same city, they are very flexible on changing flights.

Sugarcubesea said:
Do you fly directly into Maui when you go?

Yes, if that's the only island we're visiting. If we're going to other islands, I'll fly into that island from the mainland, take a puddle jumper over to Maui, then fly home from Maui. Most airlines allow you to do this on the same itinerary. Just select "Multi City" when you're booking. (Book the puddle jumper separately.)
 

MichaelColey

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LR, thanks for the help… Do you think booking 10 months out will give me the best price for Maui or should I wait till the 3 month mark to book tickets?
My suggestion would be NEITHER (unless you're using airline miles, in which case you should get the tickets as early as possible). Set up an alert (many travel sites offer this) and purchase WHEN THE FARES GO ON SALE. Prices are usually fairly steady most of the time, but there are often fare sales, and if you can catch one of those, you'll get the best price. It might be at 10 months (although unlikely). It might be at 5 months. It might be at 3 months. It might be at 2 months. It might be even closer in than that, but I seldom wait that long, because the prices often go WAY UP as you hit various thresholds -- often 30, 21, 14, 10, and/or 7 days.
 

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My suggestion would be NEITHER (unless you're using airline miles, in which case you should get the tickets as early as possible). Set up an alert (many travel sites offer this) and purchase WHEN THE FARES GO ON SALE. Prices are usually fairly steady most of the time, but there are often fare sales, and if you can catch one of those, you'll get the best price. It might be at 10 months (although unlikely). It might be at 5 months. It might be at 3 months. It might be at 2 months. It might be even closer in than that, but I seldom wait that long, because the prices often go WAY UP as you hit various thresholds -- often 30, 21, 14, 10, and/or 7 days.

I want to request timeshare weeks now for 2017 (with SFX) so I am wondering which months are generally the cheapest to fly. Did I read somewhere April and October? or or early May or early November?

I can get the weeks set up and then look for the airfare later. It would be 4-6 weeks.
 

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We also use Alaska for our annual trips to Hawaii. With a family of 4, the wife and I both have the card.

An extra perk they recently added is 1 checked bag free for each passenger on the cardholder's itinerary.

You can also print out your luggage tags from home. If you also pre-order the free luggage tag holders, you don't have to fuss with printing baggage tags at the airport.

Here's how you do it. Get an Alaska Airlines Visa card. The annual fee will be $75, billed as soon as you get the card, but you also get a companion coupon right away. Book a multi-destination flight from DTW-SEA-OGG-SEA-DTW. For example:

DTW -> SEA Alaska 793 4:45 pm Tue, Sep 8 6:25 pm Tue, Sep 8
SEA -> OGG Alaska 861 8:30 am Wed, Sep 9 11:30 am Wed, Sep 9
OGG -> SEA Alaska 848 12:45 pm Wed, Sep 23 9:19 pm Wed, Sep 23
SEA -> DTW Alaska 792 8:20 am Thu, Sep 24 3:37 pm Thu, Sep 24

Annual fee: $75
Traveler 1: $778.61
Companion: $99.00
Taxes, Fees and Charges: $156.87
Total for 2 tickets: $1109.48

If you don't want to spend the night sleeping in the airport on the way over and back, there's plenty of hotels very close to the Seattle airport with free shuttles. The money you're saving on tickets more than pays for the hotel stays. We've done this several times flying from MSP to Hawaii. The sleepover in Seattle means we get to Hawaii without as much jet lag, it breaks up the flights, and we arrive at the resort early in the afternoon, ready for some mai tais.
 

rickandcindy23

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We often fly Southwest into a West Coast airport and then fly cheaply from the coast.

I am a "manufactured spending" freak and collect points for various airlines and use points for almost everything. Southwest flights are free for us but there is a cost to building the miles, so I guess free is not the right word.

I can usually only get one First Class ticket to Maui or Kauai and I have to pay for one seat, which is aggravating. Alaska only gives one seat for minimum miles, and it's not worth it to me for the full-priced mileage seats.

We spend the night [before and after our Hawaii flights] in a hotel near the airport. It is important the hotel has an airport shuttle. I have been good at getting free nights with our hotel credit cards, but as I look at the value I am getting with my hotel credit cards, I think I need to start using Hotwire again for hotel stays. I can get better value elsewhere.
 

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I want to request timeshare weeks now for 2017 (with SFX) so I am wondering which months are generally the cheapest to fly. Did I read somewhere April and October? or or early May or early November?

I can get the weeks set up and then look for the airfare later. It would be 4-6 weeks.

I've been keeping track of flight costs from the east coast (PHL > OGG), and September through mid-November consistently has cheaper tickets than any other time of year. I have no idea where you're based, but maybe this helps. Maui is also less crowded during those months, which is a big reason why I nearly always go in September, except for when I want to do whale season.
 

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Alaska Airlines from the West Coast is the way to go as others mentioned above. The companion fare and miles help reduce the cost when booking multiple flights for a family.

For tracking the prices you could also use google flights. It can track price changes and if your dates are flexible it'll tell you to leave a day earlier/later to save some money. I use it to track price changes and for my recent trip two weeks ago to Maui the flights I had booked dropped by ~$75 back in August so I went over to the Alaska Airlines website and submitted a low price/best rate guarantee and was refunded the difference.

Airfarewatchdog also can help you track flights/prices and you'll get notifications and emails on flights and pricing when they drop or for deals that come up.

Both google flights and airfarewatchdog are good tools to use for monitoring prices on flights.
 

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I want to request timeshare weeks now for 2017 (with SFX) so I am wondering which months are generally the cheapest to fly. Did I read somewhere April and October? or or early May or early November?

I can get the weeks set up and then look for the airfare later. It would be 4-6 weeks.

I am not sure about flight costs, but May is slow season is Hawaii.. better availability and less crowded for sure..
 

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I want to request timeshare weeks now for 2017 (with SFX) so I am wondering which months are generally the cheapest to fly. Did I read somewhere April and October? or or early May or early November?

I can get the weeks set up and then look for the airfare later. It would be 4-6 weeks.

I find better airfare and more timeshare availability from late August thru mid December (excluding holidays).
May is also a good month for timeshare availability.

For example:
http://beatofhawaii.com/category/all-deals/
http://beatofhawaii.com/the-cheapest-time-to-fly-to-hawaii-is-coming-soon/
 
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