Best time to purchase tickets for a 12/26 flight - LAX to HNL
I am trying to purchase tickets from LAX to HNL leaving the morning after Christmas and coming back 1/6/08. Flights are approx $477 on ATA right now (including tax, etc.). HA is very high priced so I assume they haven't released their fares for that time of the year yet? Basically I am wondering if I should just go for the $477 or hold out for better fares, and if so, until when? I am concerned about flying times (prefer to fly morning of 12/26, early afternoon on 1/6) and seats all together as I have a 5 year old and what will be a 16 month old (lap baby), along with husband. Any input would be VERY appreciated. We go to Oahu every year but usually when we go it's around $350 so I am having a hard time stomaching these fares! Mahalo.
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Welcome to FlyerTalk, modeljayc!
I just scanned your dates into www.kayak.com and found a $357 fare on ATA, which is not bad for West Coast to HNL.
As far as I know, United is the only major airline with a documented policy of offering a voucher for fare differentials; I could be wrong on this.
Since your question is about travel to Hawai`i on all airlines (and not just Hawaiian or Aloha, the Hawai`i-based airlines that fly to LAX), I'm going to move this over to the Hawai`i (Travel) Forum, where other FTers can offer advice.
Hawaii-based Airlines Forum
We fly to HNL every Christmas, albeit from the east coast, and it never gets any lower priced. We book F (and a few seats in Y), and by early May, F is completely sold out for most one-stop (and our one non-stop) flights on peak days. The hardest dates to book are 12/26 and 1/1, so if you are determined to fly on 12/26, I would book as soon as possible. Also, try to lock in your accomodations early, they can always be changed later if prices drop or you change your mind.
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On ATA's site the Kayak $357 fare is coming out to $342 all in, probably a pretty good deal. But that's for the 7:05p departure, arriving 11:05, so losing most of the 26th due to travel. Getting on the morning flight, arriving at 1pm, leaving a good bit of the day, is $420 all in. The return departure for both is in the morning.
If you could do Ontario-HNL, morning departure out and mid-afternoon departure back, is $396 all in. That may be your best deal, maximizing island time for a reasonable price.
Looking at farecompare's historical pricing data, that timeframe is an upward blip in best prices - you can find $50-60 cheaper at other times, but this looks like a high demand period. I'd suggest going for the one of the three above - significant drops are unlikely, depends on how much you want to risk it, based on the more experienced feedback above.
Thank you so much to everyone who has responded thus far. I appreciate your insight so much! It's a bit like trying to predict the stock market, eh? : )
It is like trying to predict the stock market. There are a couple of fare forecasting websites now like farecast.com. You might check it out and save money, assuming history repeats itself. Actually, Hawaii during the holidays is generally very expensive and predictable. So, barring any new major competition, history often repeats itself in the LAX-HNL markets.
That being said, you can sometimes stumble onto a good deal. Sometimes the carriers file fares without the proper expiration date (but they usually realize this within 24 to 48 hours).
as for ha, they aren't going to dip the prices if they don't have to, and if they do, i'd expect the first of it to happen around october, and then a final dip just a week or a few weeks out. if you need to fly, you should buy now. there will be at least a few last minute deals, but they will be unpredictable.
you can always check ha's "apparent" (too long a story) inventory by starting to make a booking and just taking it far enough (name, phone and email) to be able to see the seat map.
We go to Maui (OGG) every year (for the past 10 years) for the holidays. We fly UA from CID. We have found the best strategy to book as early as possible. We already have our tickets for this coming Christmas.
If fares go down (sales usually come in September, but last year it was October) then we refare if possible. We also book our hotel a year in advance as the place we stay is usually sold out by May. 12/26 is the busiest day to go to the islands. When we have gone on the 26th the fares never went down due to sales and forget about upgrades on the 26th also.