After nearly 30 years United Airlines returns to Hilo with direct flights to mainland

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by sobore, Jun 7, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/102dafbb6e65492a81235d6c968220ec/Direct-Mainland-Flight/

    A United Airlines direct flight between Hilo and the mainland returns this week.
    Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Sunday direct flights between Hilo and the mainland haven't been provided by a major carrier since United canceled that service in 1983.
    ATA Airlines flew between Oakland and Hilo for less than two years before it went out of business in April 2008.
    The first daily flight is to arrive at Hilo International Airport from Los Angeles on Thursday night.
    Big Island Visitors Bureau Executive Director George Applegate says a curtain of water from airport fire trucks, lei greeters, children hula dancers and other entertainment are to greet the 160-seat Boeing 737-800.
    He says the flights are an opportunity to boost the island's tourism industry.
     
  2. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    Operated by Continental.
    Leaves LAX at 5pm and arrives ITO at 7:40pm. For those who are staying in Kona, it's still a drive of about 2 1/4 hours from ITO. That's too late for me flying in from the Eastern time zone. For those visiting Volcanoes National Park, Hilo is closer than Kona.
     
  3. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Yep, it's really not a great option for tourists headed to the Big Island to stay in one of the big resorts. However, for the local population, I'm sure it's a very welcome addition, as it cuts out an inter-island flight before heading to the mainland, or the two hour drive to KOA. I'm sure there's probably decent cargo demand for this flight as well. And, while Hilo isn't the most exciting of Hawaiian destinations for tourists, we really enjoyed our stay there last year, for the fast access to Volcanoes National Park and the really scenic areas of the island's eastern shore to the north of Hilo. While Hilo lacks nice hotel accommodations, there are some lovely bed and breakfast options there, and it was nice to include something more relaxed and not part of a busy beach resort as part of our Hawaiian vacation for a few days. I'd gladly take this flight if I was headed back to the Big Island and spending some time on that side of the island.
     
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  4. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    I'd gladly consider this redeye flight from ITO back to the mainland US, and this opens up additional opportunities for FF seats, if needed. We usually do two islands per trip. So fly into one island, take an inter-island flight to ITO, then fly from ITO back to the mainland.

    We did something like this a few years ago. We flew into ITO early in the morning, drove to the volcanoes, and then drove to KOA that evening. It was a longer day than we had planned.
     
  5. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    That is a long day!

    We usually hit a couple of islands as well in a single trip. and, you're right, this flight may be good from the standpoint of award seats.
     
  6. milepig
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    milepig Silver Member

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    My first thought was also "cargo", but I'm not sure about the 737s cargo capacity. With a drive of over 2 hours to the part of the island where most people want to be, I'd really rather just change at HNL and be done with it. The Kona airport is really very nice to deal with and a very quick drive to many of the resorts. It has a full set of rental car agencies with a fair supply of cars, etc. (not sure how much Hilo would have.) Some of the area around Hilo is very beautiful, but the accommodations aren't going to appeal to many tourists.
     
  7. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    The flight would never make it just off tourism. However, Hilo is the second largest community in the state, and there's probably enough mix of local traffic that's not related to tourism, business traffic, and smaller cargo to make the flight worthwhile. You're right, Hilo isn't going to appeal to the majority of Hawaiian tourists that want a big resort that offers a lot of services and amenities. But, there's also a decent tourist draw to that side of the island of people who are wanting at least a part of their trip to not be at a big resort, hence the number of non-hotel lodging options in the area.

    As for rental cars, there's an ample supply at ITO, and if the demand increases, I'm sure the car rental agencies will add inventory. All of the major players have locations at ITO. The airport itself is nice, on par with KOA (but with jet bridges), but very underutilized.
     
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  8. kingalien
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    kingalien Silver Member

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    Opportunity for a new line :cool:
     
  9. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    And perhaps an upgrade.
     
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  10. BurBunny
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    BurBunny Silver Member

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    As long as you're not landing when there's a cruise ship in port.
     
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  11. ssullivan
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    ssullivan Gold Member

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    Shouldn't be a big problem if you've made a reservation in advance. Show up without one and nobody to blame but yourself.
     
  12. penumpang
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    penumpang Gold Member

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    On Saturdays, CO has ITO flights from both LAX and SFO.

    I just made a reservation for 2 open jaw award tickets from late August to early September, flying into KOA and out of ITO. My ITO-SFO flight leaves at 12:50pm.
     

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