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Alaska, Hawaiian, Or UAL From SF To Hawaii?  
User currently offlinelindy field From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 3116 posts, RR: 14
Posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 6854 times:
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Hello all,

My family and I are looking to travel to Hawaii over the winter holidays. We'll be traveling with a pair of young children so we'll be traveling on the heavy side with a couple of extra suitcases / stroller, etc. It doesn't really matter if we fly from SFO or OAK but our eventual destination will be Kona. I'd appreciate it if any of you can recommend any particular carrier in terms of the following - Nonstop flights, comfort in flight, food service, ancillary fees, timing, etc. Traveling with children has made me pretty sensitive to change fees and baggage fees so I'd love to know if any of these options are less "fee-happy" than others. Many thanks in advance for your input.

Regards,

Edward

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6815 times:

HA all the way. Forget about AS.

First off, HA flies a 763 to Hawaii, whereas AS only flies 738s. HA has without a doubt the best service from to US Mainland to Hawaii.

Do take a look at UA, however. They have plenty of widebody flights from SFO to Hawaii (unlike LAX), including 763s and 772s.

My advice to you is to take a widebody to KOA before they're all gone. You can take a narrowbody anywhere.

Just my   .


User currently offlinelegacyins From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 2070 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 6750 times:

HA flies their A330 on the SFO-HNL route.


John@SFO
User currently offlineairportugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3613 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 6626 times:

Quoting legacyins (Reply 2):
HA flies their A330 on the SFO-HNL route.

Yup, and they will feed you and your kids for free with what I think is fairly good food.



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineJetsgo From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 3082 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 6612 times:

I cant imagine making a connection with the kids especially if you plan to gate check some of your stuff. UA nonstop SFO-KOA would be my choice even if it came at a premium price.


Marine Corps Aviation, The Last To Let You Down!
User currently offlinejadedchameleon From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 29 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 6562 times:

Quoting Jetsgo (Reply 4):
I cant imagine making a connection with the kids especially if you plan to gate check some of your stuff. UA nonstop SFO-KOA would be my choice even if it came at a premium price.

+1000

Speaking from experience, about the last thing you want to do after a five hour flight (plus an hour or two before the flight) with small children is hang around in the HNL airport to catch a HA inter-island flight and extend the whole trip several more hours. I've done it both ways with small children, definitely go direct. Your kids will appreciate getting outside sooner or heading to the hotel to decompress/sleep.

The UA 763 is available part of the year SFO-KOA (otherwise 757), and while it's not as nice of aircraft as the HA 330/717 on SFO-HNL-KOA, it is far better to save yourself a couple of hours and the potential of problems associated with connections. Even the 757 isn't that bad...


I've never flown AS OAK-KOA, but if that was significantly cheaper taking into bag fees, unless you have some sort of 737-phobia, I'm sure that would be a good choice too. The widebody will lose its cool factor quickly when your kids are having their third meltdown after 6 hours of airplane/airport "fun" and connections.




[Edited 2012-07-30 13:30:55]

User currently offlinesteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1634 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 6545 times:

Quoting Jetsgo (Reply 4):

I cant imagine making a connection with the kids especially if you plan to gate check some of your stuff. UA nonstop SFO-KOA would be my choice even if it came at a premium price.

Don't forget that AS also flies OAK-KOA non-stop. I'd include that as an option alongside SFO-KOA so long as one of the two isn't ridiculously more expensive than a connecting itinerary.

Widebody or narrowbody, they're still both just seats in the sky and most of your family isn't going to much care which you're in. The only thing that may be worth paying a premium for on a widebody, though, is the ability to get two pairs of two seats for a family of four (or an entire middle row), saving yourself from having to potentially contend with other pax sharing rows on a long flight.


User currently offlineairportugal310 From Palau, joined Apr 2004, 3613 posts, RR: 2
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 weeks 2 days ago) and read 6484 times:

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
Speaking from experience, about the last thing you want to do after a five hour flight (plus an hour or two before the flight) with small children is hang around in the HNL airport to catch a HA inter-island flight and extend the whole trip several more hours. I've done it both ways with small children, definitely go direct. Your kids will appreciate getting outside sooner or heading to the hotel to decompress/sleep.
Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
The widebody will lose its cool factor quickly when your kids are having their third meltdown after 6 hours of airplane/airport "fun" and connections.

Mahalo for reminding me as to why I haven't bothered with kids and don't plan to!  



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9595 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 6443 times:

Quoting lindy field (Thread starter):
I'd appreciate it if any of you can recommend any particular carrier in terms of the following - Nonstop flights, comfort in flight, food service, ancillary fees, timing, etc.

First off, timing is one of the most important factors with kids, so that eliminates HA. They might have good service, but it is not worth the connection. AS from OAK or UA from SFO nonstop would be the only choices that I would take unless the fare difference was massive.

As for comfort, AS and UA both have 31’’ pitch for economy. The seats are very similar. If you are buying 4 seats, then 2 sets of 2 seats on the 767 is nice if you can get them, but they sell out far in advance. You buy economy plus on UA which gives some extra space. That’s helpful if you have a lap child.

UA has overhead video screens for IFE which is nice as they have something for free, although it is not much use to the little ones since they can’t see the screen. AS has portable movie players for a fee.

Both UA and AS have buy on board. UA has a few more choices since AS typically has only one hot choice, fruit, and then packaged things. However the AS food isn’t bad. It’s about the same price.

UA checked baggage fees are a bit higher than AS. You’ll pay $5 to $15 more per bag on UA. Factor that into the price of the ticket. Change fees are $75 per person on AS and $150 on UA (for non elite). Remember you have a 24 Hour window after booking when you can change tickets for free or get a full refund. If you plan on changing your itinerary, factor UA’s higher fees into the booking.

As for timing, UA offers daylight or redeye options KOA-SFO. AS is only daylight although the return to OAK arrives close to midnight. Kids tend to pass out and fall asleep on redeye flights, so sometimes they are nice. Waking the kid up on arrival is a pain.

So overall, the differences between UA and AS are small. UA charges more fees, but overall the service is very similar. I’d personally choose on price and convenience and mileage accrual. HA is a nice airline, but only if you are going to HNL or OGG.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 6421 times:

Quoting legacyins (Reply 2):
HA flies their A330 on the SFO-HNL route.

  

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 3):
Yup, and they will feed you and your kids for free with what I think is fairly good food.

  

Quoting Jetsgo (Reply 4):
UA nonstop SFO-KOA would be my choice even if it came at a premium price.

Yes, and it's also good news that UA flies a 767 on that route.

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
hang around in the HNL airport to catch a HA inter-island flight and extend the whole trip several more hours.

Several more hours!!! Surely sir, you exaggerate.

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
The UA 763 is available part of the year SFO-KOA

What part of the year, do you know?

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
it's not as nice of aircraft as the HA 330/717 on SFO-HNL-KOA

Indeed, but if a direct flight is all that matters, I'd say it's the best option.

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
potential of problems associated with connections

What problems?

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
Even the 757 isn't that bad...

   You're joking... right?

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
I've never flown AS OAK-KOA, but if that was significantly cheaper taking into bag fees, unless you have some sort of 737-phobia,

Hardly a phobia, if anything just a personal preference. Even more likely, I'd call it a "737-boredom."

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
airplane/airport "fun" and connections.

What in the world is that supposed to mean?

Quoting steex (Reply 6):
Widebody or narrowbody, they're still both just seats in the sky and most of your family isn't going to much care which you're in.

   Well...

Quoting steex (Reply 6):
The only thing that may be worth paying a premium for on a widebody, though, is the ability to get two pairs of two seats for a family of four (or an entire middle row), saving yourself from having to potentially contend with other pax sharing rows on a long flight.

Sure you don't mean to say that's the only advantage?

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 8):
As for comfort, AS and UA both have 31’’ pitch for economy. The seats are very similar

Interesting to know, thanks for that info.

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 8):
So overall, the differences between UA and AS are small.

Haha, well, see my first comment:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 1):
Forget about AS.


User currently offlinesteex From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 1634 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 6365 times:

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 9):
Several more hours!!! Surely sir, you exaggerate.

It's definitely a slight exaggeration. The absolute shortest layovers available are 1:20 westbound and 1:11 eastbound (assuming HA out of SFO), though, plus the 40-45 minute block between KOA and HNL. Assuming the OP feels comfortable making that connection with small children, it's only two hours (not really several), but that is turning a 5-hour non-stop into a 7-hour connecting itinerary with potentially cranky kids!

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 9):
What problems?

Connections automatically introduce the possibility of missed connections that don't exist on a non-stop. Sure, a mechanical or weather delay can hit the non-stop too, but if there's a 90-minute delay leaving KOA for HNL on the return, it's a much bigger hassle to have missed the connecting flight onward to SFO than to have just left 90-minutes late on your SFO/OAK non-stop. That's not even counting the potential difficulties of having to board/deplane and walk through an additional airport with small children.

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 9):
Sure you don't mean to say that's the only advantage?

That's exactly what I mean to say, widebody seating configurations may provide a legitimate advantage for groups of certain sizes when compared to the standard 3-3 of narrowbodies flying to Hawaii. However, to the typical traveler, that's really the only significant difference (particularly on a 5-hour flight).

While many of us on a.net are likely to make the effort to fly a widebody instead of a 737, most "normal" folks don't care. At the end of the day, on a family trip, you're as happy as your family is - and most people are much happier (especially young children) on a non-stop to the final destination than they are experiencing an HA widebody, then waiting for a connection at HNL. When I travel with family, everyone else sees it as just transportation, they couldn't care less about the types or airports.


User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 6336 times:

Quoting steex (Reply 10):
It's definitely a slight exaggeration.
Quoting steex (Reply 10):
Assuming the OP feels comfortable making that connection with small children, it's only two hours (not really several), but that is turning a 5-hour non-stop into a 7-hour connecting itinerary with potentially cranky kids!

That does seem to be the case, thank you for clarifying.

Quoting steex (Reply 10):
The absolute shortest layovers available are 1:20 westbound and 1:11 eastbound (assuming HA out of SFO), though

I would consider 1:20 and 1:11 layovers to still be short, especially at SFO. If you think about it, that little amount of time doesn't allow much room for error (such as delays, like you mention). It should also be noted that most US-domestic flights usually begin boarding 30-45 minutes prior to departure, so if you only have a 1 hour layover, you have 15-30 minutes to go to your connecting gate before boarding is called.

Quoting steex (Reply 10):
but if there's a 90-minute delay leaving KOA for HNL on the return, it's a much bigger hassle to have missed the connecting flight onward to SFO than to have just left 90-minutes late on your SFO/OAK non-stop.

Unfortunately, I really can't disagree with you there, as I've experienced such problems before. The best solution I could offer would be to book longer connection times.

Quoting steex (Reply 10):
That's exactly what I mean to say

Well I found it surprising that one could think that seating configurations are the "only" advantage to flying on widebodies. I do see your point, but I don't agree that it's the only advantage.

To put it quite bluntly, I just think that big planes are awesome. 
Quoting steex (Reply 10):
widebody seating configurations may provide a legitimate advantage for groups of certain sizes when compared to the standard 3-3 of narrowbodies flying to Hawaii. However, to the typical traveler, that's really the only significant difference (particularly on a 5-hour flight).

Yes, you have a point there...

Quoting steex (Reply 10):
While many of us on a.net are likely to make the effort to fly a widebody instead of a 737, most "normal" folks don't care.

   Absolutely.
However, I have come across people on A.net through similar discussions on this topic that sound more like "normal" people, only caring about cheap tickets, direct flights, blah blah blah.

Quoting steex (Reply 10):
When I travel with family, everyone else sees it as just transportation, they couldn't care less about the types or airports.

Same here. I almost find it annoying to travel with the family, only because our values are so different.


User currently offlinejadedchameleon From United States of America, joined Nov 2010, 29 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6288 times:

Quoting steex (Reply 10):
It's definitely a slight exaggeration. The absolute shortest layovers available are 1:20 westbound and 1:11 eastbound (assuming HA out of SFO), though, plus the 40-45 minute block between KOA and HNL. Assuming the OP feels comfortable making that connection with small children, it's only two hours (not really several), but that is turning a 5-hour non-stop into a 7-hour connecting itinerary with potentially cranky kids!

Only on internet forums will people argue over the semantics of "several". Although this close connection time is available for when the OP is concerned, sometimes you do have to wait a little longer than that. I've done SFO-HNL-KOA/LIH trip on HA about 5 times over the last 10 years (but only once with kids!). I've also done it a similar number of times on UA direct.

Also, when keeping in mind timing with children, people need to consider: 1. time to get to airport, 2. time you need to be at the airport ahead of time, 3. time to get your luggage, 4. picking up a rental car or catching a shuttle bus 5. time to drive from destination airport to destination. In my experience, this "5 hour" trip direct ends up being more like 8 hours destination-destination with all those things considered. And with a stop in HNL will end up being more like 10-11. That is a long time for most children either way, but I will take the 2-3 hour savings anytime.

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 9):
What in the world is that supposed to mean?

When you've herded small kids through enough airports and on airplanes, you will know what I mean.

Quoting AlnessW (Reply 9):
  You're joking... right?

No. The 757 is a fine aircraft. I'll take the 767 given the choice, but I won't be that upset about it if I have to take the 757.

Quoting steex (Reply 10):
Connections automatically introduce the possibility of missed connections that don't exist on a non-stop. Sure, a mechanical or weather delay can hit the non-stop too, but if there's a 90-minute delay leaving KOA for HNL on the return, it's a much bigger hassle to have missed the connecting flight onward to SFO than to have just left 90-minutes late on your SFO/OAK non-stop. That's not even counting the potential difficulties of having to board/deplane and walk through an additional airport with small children.

Precisely. Weather delays are rare in HNL, but I have had a 717 mechanical delay before--the 717s are beasts and rarely go tech, but a connection introduces the chance it could happen.

[Edited 2012-08-02 14:08:59]

User currently offlineAlnessW From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 620 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (2 years 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6278 times:

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 12):
When you've herded small kids through enough airports and on airplanes, you will know what I mean.


Well, I was talking more about this comment:

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 5):
airplane/airport "fun" and connections.


It makes it sound like travel isn't supposed to be enjoyable.

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 12):
No. The 757 is a fine aircraft.


Sure, it's a fine aircraft. But it's nothing compared to a 767 or 777.


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