Hawaii and Australian have been linked by air for 61 years. Qantas began flying from Australia to Hawaii in 1941 (during World War Two). Jet service began in 1959 and 747s started plying the route in the late 1970s. Air New Zealand commenced its service to the islands in 1968. Pan Am, Continental, American and United have all plied the route in the past. Today Non stop service between “Down Under” and Hawaii currently consists of:
- Qantas QF3: Sydney- Honolulu -three times a week (Wed, Fri, Sun)- Boeing 767-300
- Jetstar JQ3: Sydney – Honolulu -daily -Airbus 330-200
- Hawaiian Airlines HA 452: Sydney – Honolulu -daily -Boeing 767-300ER
- Air New Zealand NZ10 : Auckland-Honolulu three times a week (recently up from twice weekly) -Boeing 777-200
Hawaiian Airlines have recently announced that they will fly from Brisbane three times a week from December (Wed, Fri & Sun). Earlier this year, Air Australia who collapsed in February, 2012, flew to Honolulu from Brisbane and Melbourne in Australia so there appears to be some sort of demand or interest in the route.
Hawaiian will also add a thrice weekly service from Auckland in March 2013. They will,at that time, become the only U.S. carrier to offer service to New Zealand. Both routes will utilise Boeing 767-300 ER aircraft. These craft are configured to seat 18 in business class and 246 in the main cabin.
This means that Hawaiian will be connecting passengers from three “down under” cities to Honolulu. From Honolulu, Hawaiian jets fly non stop to the other Hawaiian islands, plus Las Vegas, New York City, Phoenix, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. Currently, to conveniently travel between those cites and Australia, means a transfer in Los Angeles.
The big bonus in all of this, for me, is that Virgin Australia has Hawaiian Airlines as a partner. Virgin Australia Velocity frequent flyer customers can earn points and status credits on Hawaiian. They can redeem points on Hawaiian services. If customers could also get lounge access and other benefits (such as priority boarding), then Hawaiian’s expansion will become even more valuable for Virgin Australia customers. Hawaiian also added Jetblue as a frequent flyer partner in May. JetBlue joined existing Hawaiianmiles partners: American*, ANA, Delta**, Korean, United***, USAir# and Virgin Atlantic.
I am now very tempted to fly Hawaiian with a stopover in Hawaii for say 24 hours. I could enjoy a quick swim at Waikiki, dinner under a Palm Tree and a nice cocktail on an outrigger between flights! Customs, immigration and flight connections are much more pleasant in Honolulu than Los Angeles. The only question is how good is the airline? Passenger reviews on skytrax are a little underwhelming with fliers rating this three star airline 5.4 out of 10. Price-wise they sit below Qantas and Air New Zealand on the route but are pricier than Jetstar.
Hawaiian are also adding Sapporo, Japan to their three existing Japanese destinations of Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka. The carrier also flies to Manila and Seoul.
The airline is profitable which is rare in this industry, True, margins are wafer thin but a profit is a profit. They have 12 more A330s on order for delivery between now and until 2014 and six new A350s from 2017.
Therefore, we will see a lot more of Hawaiian in new parts of the world. I reckon Vancouver, Beijing, Melbourne, Shanghai and maybe Hong Kong and Toronto are future destinations.
The signs are looking more promising that I will see you at Waikiki Beach!
*AA Advantage customers earn AAdvantage miles when they fly Hawaiian Airlines’ Neighbor Island flights only
**DeltaSkyMiles customers can earn miles when they fly Hawaiian Airlines’ Neighbor Island, Honolulu to Sydney and Honolulu to Manila flights only
***United Mileage Plus members can earn miles when they fly Hawaiian Airlines’ Neighbor Island flights only if the flight is booked in conjunction with a United Airlines flight to/from Hawaii
# USAir Dividend Miles members can redeem their Dividend Miles for tickets on Hawaiian Airlines’ Neighbor Island and South Pacific flights only