Have you been watching the prices online?
Hawaiian Airlines currently shows roundtrip LAX to Lihue on your dates at $503. It's cheaper -- $478 -- if you can start your trip one day earlier. And it's cheaper by $10/ticket if you join their FF program online. (The nice thing about the Hawaiian Air site is that it shows prices for flights on days preceding and following your selected dates.)
Aloha Air shows roundtrip from Orange County (they don't fly out of LAX) to Lihue at $759.
United's price is $763.
Given all that, I'd grab that $503 fare. Prices may go down, but I doubt they'd go down by much. Especially considering how volatile fuel prices are. Maybe someone on this forum who has more experience watchign prices for your timeframe woudl have better advice.
Early last spring we had our hearts set on a Kauai vacation for summertime. I found a $438 fare, but didn't want to book until I found a condo. Big mistake. When I wanted to book the flight a few days later the price had jumped to $700, which was a budget buster for us. This was when fuel prices started escalating.
I started checking fares every night before I went to bed and about 6 weeks later I found a $600 fare and grabbed it, congratulating myself on getting the last good fare to paradise. However, about a month after that I saw there were flights for $500, but it was too late for us. (I consoled myself by figuring if we'd waited for the $500 flight, the condo we wanted probably wouldn't have been available.)
We had a great trip anyway, but the moral of this story is that buying non-refundable airline tix is a gamble. Sometimes you just have to go for it!
Good luck! I wish I were planning another trip right now, but DH insists we wait until we have some household maintenance issues resolved. (Minor things like plumbing -- HA!) waaaaa!
You'll find the best prices right now during the off season which lasts through november. Airfare prices are very decent right now so it is probably a good idea to snag the next deal you see and not bother waiting around. Although I do have to say that in contrast to the previous poster, I don't think $600 is a very good deal from SoCal (sorry). You should be able to find something under $500, especially the way prices are this month. Check out some of the deals that Aloha airlines offers from Orange County. ($129 one-way for example to HNL).
**sorry cmj, I didn't read your post correctly. I just realized you stated that $600 wad a bad deal after buying, my bad =(
Yeah. In retrospect, that $600 fare really sucked and I kicked myself for a few days. I had always refused to pay more than $500 for tix, and fares between San Diego or LAX or SoCal were always available for less than that. (Not to mention the number of times we flew for free on FF miles.)
But when the price jumped to $700, I figured it was because of the rapidly escalating oil prices -- that's why I jumped when the fare dropped back to $600, and figured the days of <500 fares for summer trips were over. (Plus, it was 2am, I couldn't sleep and I'd had a really bad day and needed Kauai to look forward to! Husband was asleep; didn't want to wake him for a sanity check on the price, so just impulsively bought the tix!)
When the price dropped later to $500, I called HI Air and they said they had added more flights that they were trying to fill and that's why they dropped the price again. So, if they hadn't added flights I would still be thinking we got a good deal at $600! At least we didn't pay $700 (that was out of the question, anyway.)
We made up for the higher tix by compromising on lodging (1 BR condo instead of 2 BR; garden view rather than ocean front). Still had a great time, though. It is Kauai, after all!!
My plan now is to keep my eye on flights so that when we are ready to plan another trip, I'll know what a good fare is and grab it immediately.
If I were lilcapeanut, I'd be booking that $503 fare from Hawaiian Air online right now! I'd even consider leaving the day before to save more $$ and get the additional $10 discount by signing up for their FF program. That would bring the cost down to $468.
I feel your pain cmj, I've had my share of bad bookings too. I agree with you, that HI Air fare is a good deal, probably one of the best you'll find this month if you can get it down to $468. You'll get similar rates on the discount travel sites right now too. I just checked priceline for those dates and it was going for $449 all taxes included. That's a heck of a deal, so you should book it.
Hawaiian use to be really good about offering vouchers for tickets if prices go down---with no penalty. Do they still do that? Most other airlines charge something like $100 before giving any kind of voucher.
I have watched fares for YEARS since I am on disability and found out that if I signed up for a Hawaiian Airlines credit card that costs $50. per year, I could get a free voucher for buy one airfare from the western US to Hawaii and get second airfare for 1/2 price. So if you wait and apply for the card, you get the voucher and can book right away. Since you were looking at $600. per ticket totalling at least $1200. for 2 you could save $300. minus the $50. so actually you save $250. total. If you divide by 2 you would be paying $450. per ticket and that seems pretty good. Here's another part of the card. You get air miles. If you already are collecting air miles on Hawaiian you can add 10,000 once you use the card one time. You also get free vouchers for free drinks and other stuff. Then within one year before the added charges you could cancel. Another factor to consider is if it is cheaper to fly to PHX. It looks like you may be flying out of Calif. so that wouldn't help you, but for others reading this my friend flying form Chicago found it $250. cheaper per ticket to fly from Chicago on one airline and out from PHX on Hawaiian rather than LAX. I don't have the details of that ticket purchase but it is something to think about. I always buy my tickets mid week and stay in a hotel and then use timeshare for the week I want to really be there. Usually it comes out quite well financially. Good luck on your adventure.
If you don't have to do any connecting flights, go ahead and buy early. If you have connections with different airlines along the way - WAIT!!
We are still in a mess right now. I'll need to do something pretty quick.
We are booked on Delta (using our flyer miles) from SLC to LAX and then on AA from LAX to Kauai. AA changed their flight making it impossible to make our connecting flight. Right now we have a choice of either sitting at LAX for 8 hours or pay the penality thru Delta and getting a later flight or paying the penality with AA and changing that.
I have been waiting to see if Delta is going to offer an earlier flight so we will make the connection OR if AA gets another one.
After purchasing at 600 and seeing the prices drop to 500, I called HI to see if they could "adjust" the fare for me. They were very kind and patient and listened and sympathized with me. I asked for all kinds of things (refund, voucher, and upgrade to business class to at least ease my pain at paying more), but in the end the answer was a very kind "Sorry, but no." They were non-refundable tix and that's the way the game's played.
slabeaume -- when was the last time you were issued a voucher? I wonder if they've done away with that policy?
I did notice this past spring that HI no longer permit us to book reservations online and put them on HOLD for 24 hours before paying. Now when you book, you have to pay. Seems I remember reading that many other airlines are doing away with this convenient feature also.
Unfortunately, hubby refuses on principle to have any sort of credit card for which there is an annual fee. No matter that we come out better in the end, no matter how hard I try to convince him. I have to let him have his way once in a while and since I usually get my way when it comes to where/when vacations, I haven't pushed this issue. (Now we have an AmEx that gives us free Hilton points which we use on our driving vacations.)
However, maybe if I choose my time right -- I'll wait until our October SantaAna heat wave and the aloha from our July trip has worn off, put on a nice soothing Iz CD, mix a MaiTai and broach the subject again! ("Boy, wouldn't it be nice to be in Kauai right now? You know, if we had a HI Air Visa, we could have one free ticket right off the bat. Can I get you another MaiTai, darling?")
Wait for Hawaiian Airlines to post their winter specials. Last year I got a fare of $387 r/t LAX-LIH at the end of January. The best prices are usually around that time. Sign up for the frequent flyer program and they'll e-mail you when the fares come out. When they do - jump on 'em!!