In the wake of the bankruptcies of ATA (America Trans Air) and Aloha Airlines, an interesting thing happened. Clearly seeing an opportunity, Alaska Airlines, named for the coldest and furthest north part of the U.S., began or will begin service from several California cities to two Hawaiian destinations.
Since last fall Alaska has offered nonstops from Oakland (OAK) to Maui (OGG) and Kona (KOA) on a 3 times a week and 4 times a week frequency respectively.
Starting in early March the same frequency of service will be available from San Jose (SJC) to Maui and Kona.
Noteworthy for north state residents, effective 26 March, Alaska Airlines is offering daily nonstop service from Sacramento (SMF) to Maui. The schedule is convenient, outbound at 8:15 a.m. arriving 10:15 a.m., with the return flight leaving Maui at 11:50 a.m. arriving Sacramento at 8:00 p.m.
From its principal hub city, Seattle, Alaska Airlines flies to four Hawaiian destinations including Honolulu and Lihue (Kauai) in addition to Maui and Kona.
If you’re heading to Hawaii be sure to compare package prices that combine air + car, air + hotel/condo, or air + car + hotel/condo before you buy a simple airline ticket. You may find the package price a better deal.
Keep in mind when comparing, however, that packages that include car rental normally do not include tax for the car, and tax on car rentals in Hawaii is high. Ask the tour operator that gives you a price quote what the additional tax amount would be that you will have to pay directly to the car rental company. That way you can make an apples-to-apples price comparison with booking the components separately.