spreadsheets and suitcases

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Virgin America will begin SFO-HNL and SFO-OGG later this year!

Today, Virgin America announced 2 new routes to Hawaii. On November 2nd, daily service will begin to and from San Francisco (SFO) and Honolulu (HNL). And on December 3rd, they will add daily service to and from San Francisco (SFO) and Kahului, Maui (OGG), with 2 different departure times depending on the day of the week. The schedule will look like this:

Virgin America's upcoming schedule

Virgin America’s upcoming schedule

They celebrated the announcement today by offering free Mai Tais to passengers at SFO.  They’re also celebrating with a fare sale: select flights will be $199 plus taxes each way.  Tickets at that price must be purchased by April 8 (yes, tomorrow), and are good for travel between November 2nd and February 28th, 2016 for the SFO-HNL route, and between December 3rd and February 28th, 2016 for the SFO-OGG route.  There are some blackout dates, pretty much the usual peak holiday travel days.

Virgin’s frequent flyer program is called Elevate.  It’s points-based versus region-based, meaning that the points cost is based on the cash price, so you have silly redemption numbers like 8559 points for the $199 fare.  I’ll update the post on Hawaiian Airlines, since Virgin America is a transfer partner.

My take?  I’ve never flown Virgin America, but it might be fun to try, what with the mood lighting and free food in Main Cabin Select.  Anything that fosters airfare competition to Hawaii is good for us!

This official photo of an official Virgin America plane is officially not set in Hawaii.  Yet.

This official photo of an official Virgin America plane is officially not on a runway in Hawaii. Yet.

For full details, see the full press release.  Note: Virgin America is a separate entity from Virgin Atlantic, though Sir Richard Branson (that silly prankster) does own some of it.

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Island Air flash sale…ends today

Hi, if you feel like a spontaneous Neighbor Island flight purchase, Island Air is having a flash sale, $52 each way.  Here are the details of the Little Birdie offer.

You can check out their destinations on their site, or on my Inter-Island Travel Chart.  The sale ends later today, but is good for travel through May 21st.

island hopper

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2 bits of Hawaii travel news

  • United Airlines is offering an award mileage sale, including flights FROM Hawaii!  The booking period is 12/8/14 through 12/30/14, good for travel from 1/12/15 through 2/12/15.  Availability varies, of course, but I checked a sample itinerary to Houston (IAH), and on 1/11/15 (the day before the sale goes into effect), the mileage price each way was 22.5K, and on 1/12/15 (the beginning date for the sale), it drops down to 18k miles each way.  Plus taxes, of course.  A nice deal if you can get it on it…all the details on the Hawaii offer, which includes destinations is Mexico as well, can be found here.
  • Hawaiian Airlines is adding seats on its 717 planes (these are the ones they use for inter-island flights).  The seats will be thinner but supposedly “maintain the same amount of personal space” for the passenger.  I guess we’ll see!

 

boarding_pass

 

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Well, this is timely…Kalaeloa Airport

This small news story comes right on the heels of my post on Interisland Travel!  USA Today is reporting based on an article in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser that people are missing Mokulele Airlines flights because they can’t find Kalaeloa Airport on Oahu.

The article states that better signage may be needed, since “there’s no airport sign on H-1 instructing drivers to turn off Exit 2 and head toward Kalaeloa.”

“And even if drivers negotiate that exit,” the Star-Advertiser continues, “the road to the airport constitutes a series of merges and turns through some unpopulated areas before reaching the facility.”

I can attest to this first-hand.  I used to work in Kapolei, off Exit 2.  When I first considered that job, I drove around the area looking for a specific daycare in Kalaeloa that I was considering for my son.  I was totally bewildered by the number of turns and railroad crossings I needed to negotiate in that Barbers Point area to get to the daycare.  I remember seeing just 1 sign for an airport, well off the beaten path, so it seems they haven’t added any since then.

I guess it’s just another reference to…

See what I did there?

See what I did there?

 

 

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Travel Guide- Hawaii Interisland Travel

So, you know I focus on traveling AWAY from Hawaii.  But I also want to help all of us Kama’aina get around the Islands as easily as possible.  When your next mainland trip is many months away, a short jaunt to see the sights and natural beauty of our Neighbor Islands can be a nice distraction.

As a bonus, sometimes when searching for award availability, it is easier to find seats on lesser known routes such as the aforementioned Lihue-Denver on United Airlines 🙂  It would be easy-peasy to hop over to Kauai for a low price or just a few thousand miles, and be able to connect to another award flight from there.

I sometimes get confused with all the interisland options, since there are so many per day.  I figured I’d get this all into 1 centralized location.  Here is a spreadsheet with information on travel time, travel distance, and which airlines service each Island airport, even the tiny ones.  There is also information on how many award miles you need to use for a one-way ticket.  A few details:

  • For simplicity, I only included nonstops between the given airports.  You can get to any island from any other with connections, of course.
  • Makani Kai Air operates from a small airfield outside of the airport due to their charter service, so there is no shuttle/parking at or to the HNL interisland terminal.  They don’t have a frequent flyer program, all commercial flights are a flat $50 each way.
  • Some of these flights have limited service, so check the schedules carefully using a range of dates.
  • I calculated the distances using the Great Circle Mapper.

The table was too big to post on here, so I made a handy Interisland Travel Google Sheet.  Anyone should be able to see it, and I can keep it updated, as surely things will change in the future.  Specifically, I know that Delta Airlines will have some system-wide award travel changes beginning January 1, 2015, so there might be changes in the way we can use Delta SkyMiles for Hawaiian Airlines flights.

Here are the web links for the various airlines offering interisland travel:


Happy island hopping!  Hope your plane isn’t made out of Legos!  Or has a pterodactyl leading the way!

Can this BE more Jurassic Park-y?

Can this BE more Jurassic Park-y?

 

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United MileagePlus bonus miles for stays in Hawaii Marriotts

Earn 10K bonus United miles for stays of at least 4 nights, or 15k miles for stays of 5 nights or more at any of the 5 Hawaii Marriott  properties. Plus, you get a $50 dining credit for booking the offer.

I loathe the word “staycation,” but this offer seems tailor-made for such a situation.  It applies to reservations through December 15, 2014, so you may be able to use it during Fall Break from the public schools, depending on availability.  This year Fall Break is Oct 6-10 for my daughter’s school- make sure to check your specific school calendar if applicable.

The always popular Ihilani in Ko Olina is on the list of participating properties, though no one would be surprised to hear that I would much prefer the property next door, which unfortunately is not part of this offer.

OK, here is sample of the cost of a 5-night stay at the aforementioned JW Marriott Ihilani in October during Fall Break.  The average cost per night is $356, so the total for the 5 nights (room rate only, not including taxes/fees) is $1780 as shown here.

Fancy hotel...

Fancy hotel…

The Rate details specify the restaurants available for the dining credit (including room service), and other bits and pieces of info.  No doubling up with any Kama’aina rate, for example.

ihilani sample2

…but can you eat breakfast with Minnie Mouse?

You can’t see it behind the Rate details window, but the standard room rate (not associated with this offer) is around $245/night.  This rate wouldn’t include the bonus miles or dining credit.

Keep in mind that most bigger hotels in Hawaii charge some sort of resort fee in the neighborhood of $30/night, and parking is outrageous at $35/night.  Sometimes Wi-Fi is included in the resort fee.  Man, they really get you with those fees.  Still, a weeklong vacation for under $2000 is pretty good if you’re not traveling off-island.

Finally, if you are already have elite status with Marriott Rewards and United MileagePlus, they have a nice reciprocal agreement called RewardsPlus, which could be very beneficial in terms of points/miles for a stay like this one.

Hope someone can take advantage of the offer!

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Deal for Hawaii visitors from American Airlines Vacations

Ok, this won’t benefit Kama’aina, but it might help those of us whose families and friends want to come visit!

American Airlines Vacations is offering up to 25,000 bonus miles for Hawaii vacations this fall.  Trips include:

  • roundtrip airfare to HNL, OGG, LIH, ITO or KOA
  • rental car from Alamo or National
  • minimum of 4 nights hotel

The bonus is that they will throw in up to 25,000 American AAdvantage miles for booking the package.  The flights earn their regular mileage, so the extra is truly a bonus on top of that.  The booking window is short (through August 10th), but the travel can occur any days between now and December 20th, with only 2 blackout dates: Sept 1st and Nov 27th.

I’ve not personally booked trips through AA vacations, but this seems pretty seamless.  Hope this can help someone!

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