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Perhaps due to the impending Southwest service to Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines is jumping on the Basic Economy choo-choo train.
Nearly all airlines currently flying to Hawaii offer Basic Economy, the dismantled coach option that makes you board last, pay extra to choose your seat (and on some airlines, pay a fee even for a carry-on bag).
There are 3 ways to avoid most of the pain of a Basic Economy ticket with airlines like American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines:
- Buy a more expensive coach ticket that includes seat selection so you can sit with your family
- Have an airline’s co-branded credit card that offers free checked bags and priority boarding, like the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ Mastercard®, Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express, or United℠ Explorer Card
- Wait a couple months for Southwest to begin service to Hawaii and book a flight with them instead
If you want to be the first to know when Southwest starts selling flights to Hawaii, subscribe to our newsletter. And if you’re interested in finding out how to get nearly 2-for-1 flights to Hawaii with Southwest, check out our guide to earning a Southwest Companion Pass.
Can Hawaiian Airlines Basic Economy Compete With Southwest’s Prices?
Southwest’s upcoming flights to Hawaii have created a big stir from competing airlines, and they’re trying to devise a way to offer “cheaper” fares to compete. This may be the reason Hawaiian Airlines is following in the example of the other US airlines with the introduction of Basic Economy, beginning in 2019.
This seems like one of the worst moves they can make. In an effort to compete with Southwest, it feels like adding a restrictive and inconvenient Basic Economy would push travelers toward Southwest.
After all, booking a cheap flight with Southwest comes with amazing perks, like 2 free checked bags, as well as free reservation changes and free cancellations as late as 10 minutes before departure! And oh yeah, you get to choose your seat on Southwest.
Plus, the Southwest Companion Pass effectively doubles the value of your points (and your cash!) for all Southwest flights. So folks who earn that will have even less reason to fly Hawaiian Airlines. The Companion Pass is the undisputed best deal in travel.
Maybe Hawaiian Airlines WILL be able to offer cheaper flights to Hawaii than Southwest. But even if they do, I’m personally unlikely to purchase from them unless it’s a significant discount because of all the great benefits that come with Southwest.
What’s your Hawaii 2019 plan? Is Hawaiian Airlines Basic Economy good news for you?