Virgin America Launching Flights To Hawaii In Late 2015

For a long while we’ve heard rumors about Virgin America launching service to Hawaii. It looks like that will finally be happening, as Virgin America has just announced that they’ll launch service from San Francisco to Hawaii starting later this year.

Virgin-America-Hawaii

Specifically, Virgin America will be launching the following routes:

  • San Francisco to Honolulu flights as of November 2, 2015
  • San Francisco to Maui flights as of December 3, 2015

As of now, the new flights will operate with the following schedule:

VX51 San Francisco to Honolulu departing 7:45AM arriving 11:25AM
VX50 Honolulu to San Francisco departing 12:55PM arriving 8:15PM

VX47 San Francisco to Maui departing 6:00PM arriving 9:55PM
VX48 Maui to San Francisco departing 11:20PM arriving 6:25AM (+1 day)

It’s quite interesting that the Honolulu flight will be a daytime flight in both directions, while the Maui flight will be an evening outbound flight and a redeye return.

To celebrate the new service, tickets are on sale for as low as $199 one-way. The promotion is valid for travel booked by April 8, 2015, and for flights taken by February 28, 2016. That being said, the fare isn’t actually that low, given how much competition thee is in the market.

Virgin-America-Hawaii-Fare

Then again, I guess Virgin America doesn’t feel like they have to go much lower than ~$400 roundtrip, especially since they’re announcing this new service so far in advance.

Bottom line

This new route is hardly surprising, and is something that Virgin America has been eying for a while. When you think about it, a flight from San Francisco to Hawaii is the same distance as a transcon from San Francisco. While you’ll have fewer high yield business travelers on a flight to Hawaii, the average leisure economy fare will be considerably higher on a flight to Hawaii than on a transcon.

So I’m sure Virgin America will succeed on the route, at least as long as the economy is good and oil prices aren’t too high.

Admirals-Club-Honolulu-Airport-02
Honolulu Airport

Is anyone excited about Virgin America’s new flights to Hawaii?

Comments

  1. Could you do a piece on how the Citi AA reduced mileage awards for this summer are essentially only to cities in the Midwest and near DFW? All the other cities on both coasts dry up. I can remember booking international trips with these in past years. They’ve really sucked the value out of that “perk” despite no longer charging phone booking fees.

  2. And with this announcement, there’s finally a “real” premium First Class product between the West Coast and Hawaii.

  3. Awesome to see more competition from SFO to Hawaii. This should mean much lower fares on DL and UA. šŸ™‚

  4. The only great thing about the announcement is that it SIGNIFICANTLY improves the premium cabin experience flying to Hawaii.

  5. As a SFO based traveller I think it is nice to see the evening flight to Maui as all other flights to Hawaii from here leave in the am so if I Maui bound it will be Virgin for me. However, there is no way in hell you would get me taking an overnight flight back. I also do not like the timing for their SFO to HNL flight. Problem with getting into HNL before lunchtime is getting into your hotel room at that time. I’ve wasted too much of my life hanging around waiting for rooms to open up and I’m no longer prepared to play that game. However I do like that they return from HNL slightly earlier than other carriers.

  6. Sa/Su/T SFO-OGG flights will actually be VX39 leaving 7:55 AM. VX42 returns at 1:10 PM those days.

  7. I’m also potentially excited about this being the best first class product from SFO to Hawaii (with the possible exception of the United 777 which has limited service). Obviously still not a top-tier/international first class but based on reviews it sounds like it is better than most domestic FC.

  8. I too am curious what equipment they’re using, I assume their regular A320 isn’t ETOPS (in fact, it can’t always make a nonstop between BOS and SFO in the winter).

    If the F product is similar to their existing A320s, don’t get *too* excited; it’s good, certainly better than others’ domestic F, but nothing remarkable. It’s still a big recliner chair, and they only have 8 of them, so upgrades are fairly hard to get. That said, the F product is currently more spacious than AA/UA/AS at least, and the food’s also better.

  9. I have a good friend who works in Operations for VX, just left him a voice message once I find out what aircraft I’ll post it..

  10. the bigger news is that they will be first operating A320 ETOPS a/c to Hawaii.

    It’s in the announcement.

    Hawaiian is planning narrowbody airbus to the mainland also, but I think they are going with NEOs, aren’t they?

    -David

  11. The schedules suck. How are they going to get people to SFO early enough to connect with that 7:45 a.m. flight to HNL? And who want to arrive in Maui and start their vacation at 10 p.m.? And then the red-eye return, ugh.

  12. “The daily, nonstop flights will be operated with new Airbus A320 aircraft that Virgin America will take delivery of this year, which will be equipped with fuel-saving, ā€˜sharkletā€™ wingtip devices, allowing the airline to operate flights more efficiently, especially over longer haul routes. Virgin America is working with the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) and Airbus to ensure that the airlineā€™s new Airbus A320 aircraft are certified for Extended Operation (ETOPS).”

  13. SO it appears VX has one A320neo right now, and will get 3 more by the end of the summer, and will take delivery of 1 more by the end of the year, for a total of 5. Which make sense, since they have issues with the SFO-BOS flight.. My buddy is going to look into what upgrades the service will have on the Hawaiian flights. He agree’s that the times aren’t best, but the aircraft will be used on other routes as well until they get more of them… I’m very happy for this…

  14. @ Vicky — There are two rows of recliner seats in a 2-2 configuration. So it’s better than normal domestic first class, but not as good as international business class.

  15. Interesting, I wonder, even with the “sharklet” wing tips, if the A320s will still have to make cargo trade offs to stay below MTOW on a Hawaii route. Cargo is such a big part of mainland-HI revenue.

  16. Hey Lucky, how does one go about booking these flights with Virgin Atlantic miles? Is it possible? Any idea how many are required?

  17. @ kristian — You’d have to book by phone with Virgin Atlantic, but I don’t think this particular route is bookable yet.

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