Hawaii's Airlines Drop Coupons

Popular island-hopping option eliminated, as are paper tickets, in latest cost-cutting move

By: Robert Carlsen

Both Hawaiian and Aloha airlines have eliminated paper tickets and dropped interisland flight coupons, long a favorite feature for kamaaina travelers. The airlines had been mulling the coupon issue months.

Coupons are popular among regular interisland fliers, who buy them in bunches, usually at $60 per segment, but they have not been profitable for carriers.

John Adams, chairman and CEO of Hawaiian, said coupons “are the legacy of another era in Hawaii, when local carriers used them to build market share and raise cash, but they’ve outlived their purpose.”

Both carriers said they will honor existing coupons until their expiration dates.

Travel agents in the islands have said that the elimination of coupons would mean some higher prices as the carriers could use traditional yield-management pricing structures.

Interisland flights have not been profitable for either Hawaiian or Aloha so, with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s approval, the airlines are working on an interisland route/frequency master plan.

According to Hawaiian, the carrier’s current published fare structure for interisland travel “offers an unrestricted electronic alternative to coupons at a comparable price, while providing lower prices to customers who book as little as three days in advance.”

Interisland fares start at $66, taxes and fees included, for ticketing at least seven days before departure and $70 if purchased at least three days before departure.

Hawaiian’s unrestricted, no-advance-purchase fare good for any available coach seat on most routes is $75.

Fares for travel to and from Lanai and Molokai, as well as all two-segment connecting flights, are an additional $17.50.

Aloha matched Hawaiian’s new advance-purchase fares.

As to the paperless decision, both carriers said they already default to electronic ticketing for all direct reservations and sales.

The carriers will offer paper tickets on request for a $25 fee.