Virgin America has announced that it will soon expand its services to Hawaii with daily direct flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu, Oahu, in May, and to Kahului, Maui, in June. Virgin’s introductory offer has been called ‘Hot Ticket To Hawai’i’, and flights can be booked from LAX for prices starting at US$169— half the average price of flights to Hawaii previously offered. In conjunction with Virgin America’s recent introduction of daily direct flights to Hawaii from San Francisco, the new flights will enable round-trip connecting services between Honolulu and New York, Las Vegas, Seattle, Washington, Boston, San Diego, Dallas, and Chicago.
The discounted fares apply to trips between certain dates and at certain times, but Virgin America explained in its announcing statement that Hawaii has been, and – it predicts – will continue to be, a most popular destination among its members and tourists generally. A search on flight comparison engine Skyscanner reveals that fares from competing airlines between those dates are almost double those being offered by Virgin America in its ‘Hot Ticket To Hawai’i’ promotion.
“The Aloha state is the ‘most wanted’ destination by members of Virgin America’s Elevate loyalty program and Hawai’i continues to be the number one tourism destination from the West Coast, with over 3.3 million visitors in 2014,” said Virgin’s statement.
In 2014, the Hawaii Tourism Authority registered a record 8.6 million visitors, making Virgin America’s move a strategically viable one: the flights will not only facilitate cheaper and easier travel from America, but also better mobility between Hawaiian islands upon arrival.
The “Hot Ticket” sale opened today, allowing America’s holiday-makers to fly to Hawaii’s most popular islands direct from LAX for less than $400 return this year; to between May and October to Honolulu, and August and October to Maui. The expansion of direct flight paths at affordable prices is predicted to increase the number of visitors to Hawaii, with the HTA having also found that the amount of visitors arriving on cruise ships decreased by 28 percent that year.
Virgin America President and Chief Executive Officer, David Cush, explained that the opening up of new roundtrip connections is another benefit of the new direct flights to Hawaii.
“This new service from LAX not only brings this world class destination to our guests and Elevate members in the Los Angeles area, it opens up a number of roundtrip connecting flights to markets across the country,” said Cush in Virgin’s statement.
Furthermore, Virgin America’s new direct flights can be booked by members of the airline’s loyalty club, Elevate, with no black-out dates, and for less than 9,000 points, according to the company’s statement, which was released earlier today.
Airways News reported that Virgin’s expanded services are already making waves in the market: shortly after the announcement of its first round of new direct flights in November, Allegiant announced that it will bow out of the competition, and will no longer fly direct to Honolulu or Kahului from August this year.
Virgin’s new America-Hawaii routes come amid competitive fares and flight paths already offered on the markets, and Airways News pointed out that Virgin America will be up against others with longer-held legacies.
“These new flights come to compete in a market currently led by U.S. legacy carriers and Hawaiian Airlines,” said the report.
Excited travelers have already taken to social media to share the news.
The announcement has not been missed by travel agencies, either, who were quick to alert cold customers in America to the fares with tantalizingly summery images of Hawaii.
Virgin America’s new direct flights to Hawaii are predicted to attract an immense amount of traffic on their booking site, and Virgin has set up a call line for customers to book flights at 1-877-FLY-VIRGIN.
[Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]