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How to find a cheap flight to Hawaii
If you landed here, it’s because you’re looking for how to find a cheap flight to Hawaii. Let’s get one thing straight really quickly unless you’re flying from the West Coast; flying to Hawaii probably isn’t going to be cheap. That said, there are ways to find cheap flights to Hawaii, and we’ll talk about those today!
If you like cheap flights to Hawaii, I bet you like cheap car rentals in Hawaii too! Not that anything in Hawaii is actually cheap, but there are more reasonable and economical options. If you’re looking for the best way to rent a car in Hawaii, I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental.
You’ll find the best deals on any of the Hawaiian Islands, and you don’t have to pay anything to reserve the rental. You simply reserve it and pay upon pickup. You can cancel at any time and re-book if you find a better deal.
There is currently a lack of availability with rental cars in Hawaii, so if you wait to rent a car, there might not be any available, so make sure to reserve a car as soon as possible.
How to find the cheapest flights to Hawaii
Here are a few tips on how to find a cheap flight to Hawaii; I’ll go into detail for each tip down below:
- Be flexible
- Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights
- Watch prices with Google Flights
- Check Southwest Airlines
- Use an incognito window
- Fly from a larger city
- Sign up for airline newsletters
- Use points for flights
Are flights to Hawaii cheap in 2022?
As a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am often asked, “are flights to Hawaii cheap in 2022?’ The answer, generally, is no. Back in 2020, we saw some fantastic deals on flights to Hawaii, but this was due to Hawaii being “closed” and the level of uncertainly as to when visitors could come back.
After the reopening of Hawaii in 2020 (and eventually Kauai in 2021), flights started creeping up. Now, flights to Hawaii are some of the highest rates I have seen in a long time. It’s easy to spend over $1000 on a roundtrip flight to Hawaii if you live in the Midwest or the East Coast, particularly if you are not flying out of a major airport.
That said, don’t get discouraged. Today, I will share several ways to save on flights to Hawaii. This isn’t a list of every way to save money on a flight to Hawaii, but it covers some of the best tips. If you have any additional information or suggestions, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
If you’d like to learn more about the cost of visiting Hawaii in 2022, check out my YouTube video that I made with another Travel Advisor where we talk about just that. We cover the topic of flying to Hawaii and many other things that factor into the cost of travel in 2022. It’s a long video but very informative if you plan to travel in 2022.
Cheap flights to Hawaii tip #1: Flexibility
The #1 key when looking for cheap flights to Hawaii is flexibility. Can you travel during shoulder season? Can you travel on weekdays? Are your dates flexible? All of those things will help you find cheaper flights to Hawaii.
Hawaii’s “shoulder” season is from March-May and September-November, excluding Thanksgiving. I know that many families only have the option to fly during summer holidays and winter break if you must fly within these dates, just so that you’ll pay more for flights and plan accordingly.
However, honeymoon couples will find it handy that the shoulder season falls during popular wedding months. Even if you must travel during the busier months or holidays, there are other ways to save such as flying on weekdays and booking far in advance.
Flights for most airlines are available 330 days ahead, so make sure to start watching flights around 11 months out to find the best deals. If you must travel during a busy time, it is generally best to buy flights immediately.
If you are traveling during a less busy time (say, March), it can be best to wait until 2-4 months out to book your flight. I recommend finding your ideal flight and then watching the price on Google flights to see what happens. If the airline has a sale, you may be able to get the flight at a significant discount.
I will share more about Google flights below but keep in mind that flexibility is key when looking for cheap flights to Hawaii.
What about the weather? Is there a bad time to fly to Hawaii?
Oh, and by the way, don’t worry about the weather in Hawaii. It’s pretty much always beautiful. If someone has told you otherwise, they are misinformed. Yes, it can rain more in certain parts of the islands during the winter, but generally not where the tourist areas are located.
You can find a warm and sunny beach on any island in Hawaii any day of the year! If you’re lucky, you might even spot an endangered Hawaiian monk seal.
Trust me; when they built multi-million dollar resorts, they put them in the areas with the best weather! I’m also often asked if it gets cold in Hawaii, and it *very* rarely does, so don’t worry about traveling in the winter. For more, check out “the worst time to visit Hawaii” and learn that there really is no worst time. 🙂
Don’t miss The Ultimate Guide to Hawaii Interisland Flights for more info on how to island hop in Hawaii!
Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights
I’ve been using Scott’s Cheap Flights for years. You add your home airport or any other airport you’re willing to fly from. I always recommend adding a larger airport as that is where you’ll find the best deals. More on that later.
For me, the closest large airport is Dallas. So I include Dallas along with two other smaller airports that are nearby. You can add as many airports as you want, so make sure to add any that you are willing to drive to, even if they are not necessarily your home airport.
Scott’s Cheap Flights will send alerts for the best deals. This is not exclusive to Hawaii, but I frequently see deals to Hawaii. If you travel often, Scott’s Cheap Flights is a no-brainer.
Another quick tip, if you know that you’ll often find very cheap flights from your home airport to another airport, you may even want to add that airport onto your watch list. Yes, it’s an extra step, but it may result in significant savings, especially if your home airport often has deals to the West Coast.
There is both a paid and free version of Scott’s Cheap Flights. I use the paid version, but the free version can be very valuable too. You have nothing to lose, so sign up for a free account and see what kind of cheap flights you can score!
Watch Prices in Google Flights
It’s completely free to watch prices on Google flights. One of the best ways to find a cheap flight to Hawaii is to find a flight and then sign up for alerts. The flight may go up or down, but if it drops substantially, you know it’s a good time to buy it!
In this example, I have searched for flights from Dallas (DFW) to Kauai (LIH.) You may notice that I have chosen Wednesday-Wednesday flights for the best deal. The same flight Saturday – Saturday was a few hundred dollars more. That simple level of flexibility would save about $400.
Once I find a flight I like, in this case, the American Airlines flight, I will click on the departing flight and return flight.
Once I have chosen the flights, I will click the button on the right slide to “track prices.” After I do this, I will receive alerts in my inbox when the price changes. This is a great deal, but if it was a bit high, I could watch it until it dropped and then purchase the flights.
Check Southwest Airlines
Unlike most other airlines, Southwest Airlines does not appear in Google Flights. If Southwest flies out of your airport, it can be worth checking to see if they have the best flights.
When Southwest Airlines arrived in Hawaii, they really shook up the market by providing great deals on flights.
Although flights on Southwest Airlines from the West Coast starting at $99/each way, you’re not as likely to find these flights anymore. However, you’ll occasionally find deals for $139/each way from the West Coast.
Southwest Airlines also offers $39 inter-island flights, sometimes, but often the prices are similar to Hawaiian Airlines, around $80. There are only three airlines offering inter-island flights in Hawaii, if you are wondering. These airlines are Southwest Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Mokulele Airlines.
If you haven’t heard of Mokulele Airlines, they are smaller 10-seater planes and a lot of fun, but generally not as inexpensive as Southwest or Hawaiian Air.
The downside to Southwest Airlines in Hawaii
The downside to Southwest Airlines? They do not offer redeye flights. This means unless you live on the West Coast, Southwest is likely not an ideal option. I know redeye flights don’t sound fun (and they aren’t), but with the time difference and long flight, it makes sense to fly red-eye back to the midwest or East Coast.
This is due to losing time on the way home, similar to flying to Europe from the US. It’s easier to “lose time” at night vs. during the day. It’s the best way to avoid severe jet lag, and flying Southwest means that taking a redeye flight home is not an option.
One of my most popular blog posts is how to survive the flight to Hawaii, which shares tips on fighting jet lag during your Hawaii vacation. Make sure to check it out for more information.
Use an Incognito Window
If you think your phone isn’t listening to you talk about your Hawaii vacation, you are very wrong. 😉 Both your phone and your internet browser are “listening,” and if it seems like your flight prices are creeping up as your dates get closer, they probably are!
While flights do tend to go up closer to your dates, it might also be that your phone/computer are “spying” on you and know you are planning a trip. One of the best tips I can share is to use an incognito window to see if that is the case. In Google Chrome, simply click on “File > New Incognito Window” and see if it makes a difference.
Fly from a larger city
If it’s not too much further to drive to a larger city, flying out of a large city can be a real money saver. For example, I was looking at lights out of Little Rock, Arkansas, to the Big Island of Hawaii.
My client’s flights were terrible with two connections and very pricey. Flying out of Dallas allowed them to have better one-connection flights and saved almost $600 per ticket.
If you are willing to drive to a larger city, the savings can be impressive. However, remember to factor in drive time, parking fees, and potentially an overnight hotel stay when figuring out your best airport.
If you have to pay more for parking and pay for an overnight hotel, a savings of a few hundred dollars may not be worth it when you also factor in driving time to/from the airport.
However, also remember that larger airports can get flights with fewer connections, so it’s possible to save time overall even with the drive time. So, flying from a larger city can be advantageous, but you’ll have to see if it makes sense for your situation since it is not always a better deal.
Sign up for Airline deals
If you want to fly on a certain airline, have points with an airline, or just want airline-specific deals, sign up for airline newsletters. Sometimes, airlines will send out their latest deals in their newsletters, before anyone else finds out about the deals.
I recommend signing up for newsletters for the following airlines (if they fly from your city.)
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- United Airlines
- Sun Country
If you are looking for flights and need airport codes, here they are:
HNL – Honolulu (Island of Oahu)
OGG – Kahului (Island of Maui)
KOA – Kailua-Kona (Big Island of Hawaii)
ITO – Hilo (Big Island of Hawaii – not as popular as KOA)
LIH – Lihue (Island of Kauai)
While there are other airports in Hawaii, you likely will not fly into them. These are the major airports on each island. You can fly into any of these airports directly from most major cities. Do not think you have to fly into HNL for every flight! If you are visiting Kauai, make sure to fly in and out of Kauai, no need to waste time on another island.
Use points to book flights
If you’re a responsible credit card user who doesn’t carry a balance and pays off cards on time, using points to book flights might be a great idea! As a Hawaii Travel Agent, I can’t book most things for my clients using points but many of my clients choose to book their flights separately in order to utilize their points for the most value.
While I am not a travel hacking expert, I do use credit cards to fly for free frequently. My top recommendations are the American Express Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred. These two cards are currently in my wallet and my most used credit cards.
Both the American Express Gold and Chase Sapphire Preferred offer a nice sign-on bonus, 60,000 and 75,000 points respectively. If you can be flexible with your dates, this can be enough to cover two flights to Hawaii!
Even if your dates are not flexible, using points to cover parts of your trip can still mean a substantial savings overall.
More Hawaii Travel Planning Tips
Now that you’ve learned a lot about finding a cheap flight to Hawaii, let’s dive into more Hawaii travel planning tips! Don’t forget to start with 10 things to know before going to Hawaii and 20 things you should never do in Hawaii. Next, you won’t want to miss 100 things to do in Hawaii and a popular question: Is Hawaii safe?
If you’re wondering if you need a rental car in Hawaii, the answer is definitely yes! Check out Do you need a rental car in Hawaii? to learn more. I also have some of the most common questions I am asked as a Hawaii Travel Agent in my Hawaii FAQ post. Looking for island specific recommendations? I’ve got you covered there too!
Oahu Travel Tips:
- The 10 best places to stay in Waikiki
- The best Oahu Golf Courses
- 10 best things to do in Waikiki
- Things to do in Haleiwa
- What is the best luau on Oahu?
Maui Travel Tips:
- 50 things to do in Maui
- The ultimate guide to the Road to Hana
- The ultimate guide to Upcountry Maui
- Snorkeling Molokini Crater, is it worth it?
- The best hikes in Maui
- The 10 best honeymoon hotels in Maui
Kauai travel tips:
- The 10 best beaches in Kauai
- 25 things to do on Kauai
- The top 10 Best Hikes on Kauai
- 7-day Kauai Itinerary
- The best Kauai honeymoon resorts
Big Island Travel Tips:
- 25 best things to do in Kona
- 20 things to do in Hilo
- The best beaches on the Big Island of Hawaii
- Where to find sea turtles on the Big Island of Hawaii
- 7 day Big Island Itinerary
Ready to plan a Hawaii vacation?
I hope these tips on how to find a cheap flight to Hawaii help you in planning your Hawaii vacation. Do you have any tips you’d like to share for finding cheap Hawaii flights? If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comments.
I am a Hawaii Travel Agent specializing in honeymoons, vacations, and group trips. However, I am currently only taking on a select number of clients per month.
You can contact me if you want to learn more and check my availability. If you’re having trouble figuring out your Hawaii vacation and want to hand it off to a professional, that’s what I am here for!
If you prefer to DIY your trip, you should also check out this post on how to plan a Hawaii vacation.
The best way to get more travel tips? Sign up for my newsletter! You will receive a weekly email with travel tips, Hawaii deals, and more. Sign up below. If you love these posts and want to support my blog but aren’t ready to travel yet, you can buy me a coffee to show your support. I ❤️ coffee!
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How do I know so much about cheap flights to Hawaii?
Why am I am expert on finding cheap flights to Hawaii? Well, finding flights to Hawaii is part of my job! I am a Hawaii Travel Agent specializing in honeymoons, group trips, and destination weddings. Since 2018 I have booked over 200 honeymoons, vacations, group trips, friends trips, and more, primarily to the island of Hawaii.
I also book Caribbean honeymoons and vacations such as Sandals All-Inclusive honeymoons and other Caribbean resorts and destinations throughout the Caribbean and Mexico.
With a background in the wedding industry – over 10 years as an award-winning wedding photographer – transitioning primarily to romance travel made a lot of sense! I work with busy professionals who just don’t have time to do all of the research needed to pull off the perfect honeymoon or destination wedding.
I love kayaking, snorkeling, spending time on the beach, reading, and being with my family. I’ve always loved animals and donate to several rescues and sanctuaries every month. We even foster cats from time to time in between traveling and our busy schedules! We also have 3 resident cats and a resident dog – Max. You can go to my about page to learn more about me.