Should BA fly the flag in Honolulu?

Old Jul 17, 10, 3:58 pm
  #1  
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Should BA fly the flag in Honolulu?

(hint, look up the Hawaiian state flag).

Since, under Open Skies, BA can now serve non-EU destinations from the US, provided it has the other relevant rights, and it can serve onward destination of these flights in the US, should BA attempt to become more than a trans-atlantic airline (if we caricature it as connecting ROTW passengers to USA via LHR) and become a trans-pacific airline as well?

What are the operational and commercial pro's and con's of running a Honolulu hub? Why does nobody else at the moment?
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Old Jul 17, 10, 4:00 pm
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Nice idea but I can't see it happening.

It's very easy to get a codeshare with AA from west coast USA to HNL and, I think with QF from Oz.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Fruitcake View Post
Nice idea but I can't see it happening.
+1.

It would be great to have some kind of decent connection between LHR-[usa mainland]-HNL.

This would be extremely welcome - a LAX flight that carried on to HNL after a few hours... on a 747 or something with nice seats.

As it stands it is an almighty pain in the neck to get from Europe to Honolulu in comfort. Getting to the USA is fine but then you are on a 'domestic' route with standard US domestic aircraft for a 5 hour flight ex-LAX/SFO. Not exactly good after 10-11 hours from LHR. And that's assuming you can connect the same day, which frequently you can't.

To make it worse, going back eastbound is so badly timed as to make it really unbearable. All the flights HNL-[usa] leave in the evening and arrive early morning onto the USA west coast. So no sleep, even in US domestic "first" class. Then you need to wait circa 12 hours to get the connection to Europe. It's a very ugly journey home.

But it's not a business route, so I doubt the revenue is there to make it viable for BA.

I've done it both ways (literally) - LHR-LAX on BA the LAX-HNL on AA, and also LHR-NRT-HNL on ANA. The latter was infinitely better due to better seating on the flight into HNL and also better connections and better lounges in HNL. If one goes HNL-NRT-BKK-LHR it is possible to get home on the "same day" and avoid an overnight in NRT.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 4:57 pm
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BA has really cut only on SYD and cut MEL. Why could HNL over these destinations since the traffic would be lower.

BA needs premium traffic; ie business travellers - so HNL will not qualify.
BA like most other airlines have realised that position crew for a two sector haul (LHR-SIN-SYD or LHR-LAX-HNL) is expensive with a minimal onward load LAX-HNL or SIN-SYD) since they are a third party carrier.( Would you fly Air India to JFK which does BOM-LHR-JFK?

In any case, I for one believe Hawaii is very over hyped and is terribly expensive for what you get. You can the same luxury holiday with tropical climate at a fraction of the cost and with much better service in South East Asia compared with Hawaii. Been there, done that and no inclination to repeat the experience.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 4:59 pm
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Two points:

1) Hawaiian Airlines has a HNL hub that is quickly expanding, and DL serves the trans-pacific market to Asia well, in addition to JAL. HNL is so far from LHR, why would BA want to have anything to do with this mostly leisure market? It is well served by the OW alliance (AA + JL + QF).

2) If you are suggesting that BA operate flights from Hawai'i to the US mainland, this is only possible as a add-on flight into and out of the US. Because of cabotage (the prohibition of foreign airlines from operating internal US flights), BA could do something a la QF's flight from JFK to LAX, but it would not be able to pick up passengers originating in LAX, for example, and take them to HNL.

I would love it as much as the next person if BA could operate within the US. It would be a huge, huge improvement especially on transcontinental and flights to Hawai'i. But until the ridiculous rules regarding cabotage are lifted, it just isn't going to happen. The closest thing we have to a European airline operating in the US is Virgin America, and they got the third degree when trying to start-up because of their ties to Richard Branson and the global Virgin brand name.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 5:00 pm
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Flying Dentist - AA operates 763s with Business Class from ORD and DFW to HNL. The trick is not to fly from the West Coast but from somewhere a 757 won't reach.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 5:01 pm
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In a nutshell there isn't a hub in Hawaii as....

- Population is only ~1.3 Million.
- Nearest shorthaul destination probably 2000+ miles.
- Traffic mainly leisure and not business.

Whilst FTers might love a BA service to HNL for redemptions it doesn't make any sense for BA commercially or operationally.

Unless BA can get much higher fares in significant numbers (in the premium cabins) for say LHR-LAX-HNL-LAX-LHR rather than LHR-LAX-LHR, it makes no commercial sense to run LAX-HNL-LAX on BA. In fact BA would almost certainly have to cut the fares in premium cabins for LHR-HNL-LHR tickets, compared to LHR-LAX-LHR tickets to get bums on seats.

The demographics of the catchment area for LAX compared to HNL mean that LAX wins hands down every time and the same goes for every other US destination BA currently serves.

I'm think that Virgin and BA still only run to SYD because neither wants to be the first to drop the route.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 5:07 pm
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Originally Posted by KD5MDK View Post
Flying Dentist - AA operates 763s with Business Class from ORD and DFW to HNL. The trick is not to fly from the West Coast but from somewhere a 757 won't reach.
Fair point. Last time I did LHR-HNL via mainland USA this was not an option - everything went via LAX or SFO. At that time you maximised the international leg and tried to keep the 'domestic' to a minimum.

So maybe I will try your suggestion next time I go to HNL.

Having said that, I doubt I will have an excuse to go to HNL anytime soon. Every dental organisation whose conference I have attended there have had problems due to low delegate numbers - apparently no-one from the east coast will go that far for a conference - so the delegate numbers down = exhibitors unhappy = whole meeting struggles to make a profit. Therefore none of them are planning to go back there soon.

[BTW these issues don't seem to be affected by the current economic situation - it's just true for Hawaiian dental meetings in general]

And if Mrs FD and I are going for a holiday, we'd rather go to the Caribbean or SE Asia as it's just as nice (or nicer, maybe) and a shorter flight.

Thanks anyway!

PS: I still reckon there's no money for BA to make on this route - unless they want something to keep their Gold card holders happy with redemptions... but maybe that could be achieved less expensively for BA with a few more reward seats on the routes to South Africa or Asia?

Last edited by FlyingDentist; Jul 17, 10 at 5:12 pm
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Old Jul 17, 10, 5:14 pm
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Originally Posted by KD5MDK View Post
Flying Dentist - AA operates 763s with Business Class from ORD and DFW to HNL. The trick is not to fly from the West Coast but from somewhere a 757 won't reach.
SFO-HNL is a 763 in the summer.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 5:17 pm
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Originally Posted by JonWB View Post
- Traffic mainly leisure and not business.

Unless BA can get much higher fares in significant numbers (in the premium cabins) for say LHR-LAX-HNL-LAX-LHR rather than LHR-LAX-LHR, it makes no commercial sense to run LAX-HNL-LAX on BA. In fact BA would almost certainly have to cut the fares in premium cabins for LHR-HNL-LHR tickets, compared to LHR-LAX-LHR tickets to get bums on seats.
+1, and +1 again, because:

This route bears remarkable similarity to LHR-[australia]. A popular route for holidays and redemptions but not a prime business route, so revenues are not as good as elsewhere.

Also with the flight times and turnarounds, the aircraft operating the route will probably be toed up for a similar time as if it had gone to Sydney - i.e. 2 days not 1 as if it went to LAX. it will be hard to get a revenue for 1x LHR- LAX and 1x LAX-HNL that would be equal to 2x LHR-LAX.
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Old Jul 17, 10, 5:26 pm
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Originally Posted by KD5MDK View Post
AA operates 763s with Business Class from ORD and DFW to HNL.
They actually sell it as first/economy being that they're two class planes on a domestic route. I flew SFO-HNL-SFO yesterday on the daily 767 service from SFO. Nice 82F on arrival.

MEAL PHOTOS

HONOLULU ADMIRALS CLUB PHOTOS

The macadamia nut pancakes with coconut syrup were very good.

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Old Jul 17, 10, 5:37 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingDentist View Post
Getting to the USA is fine but then you are on a 'domestic' route with standard US domestic aircraft for a 5 hour flight ex-LAX/SFO. Not exactly good after 10-11 hours from LHR. And that's assuming you can connect the same day, which frequently you can't.
You wouldn't be able to do a same-day connection SFO-HNL as that flight goes out at 0910 (but who would not want to overnight in San Francisco--I'm heading in for two different FT events there tonight). AA also runs 757 service LAX-HNL as late as 1650 and 1800 departures, so at least two incoming BA flights coming into LAX could connect with those. Downside is they're domestic 757 seats in F which I don't care for at all (different seat than the AA international 757 business class seat).
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Old Jul 17, 10, 5:44 pm
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I know BA prefer premium traffic- but why choose ( and successfully prove) LHR-LAS ?
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Old Jul 17, 10, 6:17 pm
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Originally Posted by gw76 View Post
I know BA prefer premium traffic- but why choose ( and successfully prove) LHR-LAS ?
LAS can attract business traffic for conferences, as well as leisure traffic. Also, there seems to be a concerted effort to grow the leisure side of the business through holiday packaging on ba.com.

As for HNL, perhaps a "long and thin" route like this may work post-787 and Mixed Fleet?
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Old Jul 17, 10, 9:53 pm
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Originally Posted by FlyingDentist View Post
[G]oing back eastbound is so badly timed as to make it really unbearable. All the flights HNL-[usa] leave in the evening and arrive early morning onto the USA west coast.


There are plenty of HI -> west coast daytime flights.
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