A July 28 fare sale by Hawaiian Airlines on flights between Portland and Honolulu has slashed round-trip ticket prices from an average of $471 to below $400.
This triggered a bidding war with Hawaiian’s main rival on the route, Alaska Airlines, who decided to price match the following morning (July 29), resulting in ticket prices on both carriers that are 16% lower than average and $75 cheaper than what either airline was charging two days ago, according to Hopper’s Portland-Honolulu when to fly and buy report.
The sale began at 8p.m. on July 28, when Hawaiian airlines manually lowered their prices to increase demand. Alaska airlines chose to price match at 10.30am on July 29, and has since lowered their fares to exactly match the deal offered by rival Hawaiian, with the cheapest returns falling as far as $396. This is a sharp drop from average fares on the route, which stood at $471 before the sale began.
The fare sale encompasses tickets for flights in August, September, October and November, giving passengers a wide scope for when to fly. Ticket prices on Hawaiian and Alaska flights remained low through the end of July 29, but data scientists at Hopper advise fliers to book their tickets soon, as it is difficult to predict how long the sale will last.
"These prices are actually the lowest we've seen on this route in months," said Patrick Surry, Hopper’s Chief Data Scientist, "so we strongly recommend that any travelers looking to visit Hawaii this fall book their tickets ASAP, as we can't predict how long this fare sale will last – most do not last longer than a few days."
Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines are the only carriers offering direct flights between Portland and Honolulu, which typically take just under six hours. Other airlines – including Delta, United and US Airways – offer connecting flights between the two cities, with Delta and Alaska offering the highest number of connecting flights, according to Hopper’s technical report on the route. Delta Airlines currently offer connecting flights for as low as $434, with flights transiting through Los Angeles International – although as well as being more expensive, flight times are also four hours longer than the direct route offered by Alaska and Hawaiian, lasting 9.5 hours.
-Airlines participating in fare sale: Alaska and Hawaiian Airlines
-Start of fare sale: July 28
-Fare sale length: We don't expect the sale to last longer than a week
-Conditions: Tickets are on sale with departure dates in August, September, October and November
-Airfare savings: 16% lower than the average price reported in Hopper's flight report on the Portland to Honolulu route
-$396 round-trip between Portland and Honolulu on Alaska, Oct 19 to Oct 26
-$397 round-trip between Portland and Honolulu on Hawaiian, Sep 20 to Sep 25
-$398 round-trip between Portland and Honolulu on Alaska, Oct 10 to Oct 18
- See all
The research team at Hopper uses data drawn from a combined feed of Global Distribution System (GDS) data that includes 10 million flight price queries per day, containing about one billion individual trips per day, to provide insights on airline pricing to consumers.