Round-trip airfares to Hawaii increase
United Airlines starts the trend by raising its price for tickets here, and its rivals follow
Major airlines serving Hawaii have raised round-trip ticket prices $20 to $25 this week in what an industry airfare observer sees as an indication that demand for island travel is firming.
Rick Seaney, chief executive of consumer airfare research Web site FareCompare.com, said yesterday that UAL Corp.'s United Airlines initially raised its systemwide prices to Honolulu on Thursday morning.
Then, after other airlines began matching, United increased its fares to the neighbor islands as well. Those fares also were matched, he said.
Among those airlines matching United were AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc., Alaska Air Group Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp., with Continental Airlines Inc. partially matching.
Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines did not match the other carriers, Seaney said.
"Basically, it's very unusual for a domestic carrier to raise fares on a single destination," Seaney said. "You don't see that very often systemwide. If it was only a targeted increase like from California and major hub cities, you could say it's competitive pressures. But to do it systemwide is a pretty good sign how well they're filling up the planes and that they're feeling good about the overall supply and demand for that particular destination."
Although it is not currently a peak travel season, Seaney said most travelers are now thinking about buying tickets for the holidays.
"For the most part, a lot of frequent-flier redemptions occur traveling to Hawaii, but there are limited frequent-flier seats to Hawaii," Seaney said. "So travelers are relegated to purchase tickets on the open market."