Some Hawaii-bound travelers out of Logan International Airport Friday morning will be taking part in US aviation history.
As Hawaiian Airlines prepares to launch its inaugural nonstop flight from Boston to Honolulu, passengers will board for the longest flight ever within the United States. Travel time from Boston to Honolulu is 11 hours and 25 minutes, covering 5,095 miles.
The previous record was 11 hours and 10 minutes, from New York to Honolulu.
Until the introduction of the route, Boston was the largest US travel market that did not have nonstop service to Hawaii. According to the US Department of Transportation, nearly 500 people fly between eastern New England and Hawaii most days.
In addition to increasing Hawaiian Airlines’ East Coast presence, the new Boston route is also expected to add to the growing number of travelers from New England to Hawaii.
“In 2017, we saw 51,580 arrivals from the Boston, Cambridge, Newton, and the New Hampshire region,” said Jeffrey Eslinger, senior director, market insights, for the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau. “That’s a 10.3 percent increase from 2016.”
The new route finally gives Bostonians a way to get to Hawaii without cumbersome stopovers. Hawaiian Airlines tends to score high marks among passengers for customer satisfaction. In 2018, Hawaiian ranked number three among readers in a Conde Nast Traveler poll. Money magazine put it at number two among US carriers, and the airline ranked fourth in the 2017 Airline Quality Rating.
In addition to attracting more travelers out of Boston, Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram said, the airline will take advantage of its partnership with JetBlue to help bring travelers from other East Coast cities to connect through Boston to Honolulu.
“When I think about where visitors to Hawaii come from, the biggest region is the western US, for the logical geographic reasons,” he said. “Number two is the eastern US, even ahead of Japan, which is a huge market in its own right.”
East Coast travelers have traditionally escaped the cold by venturing to Florida or the Caribbean, but Ingram said he believes his airline will have no problem finding vacationers interested in Hawaii.
“The success of building this market doesn’t depend on people stopping their travel to Florida or the Caribbean,” he said. “It’s a different destination and each island has its own specific character, so there’s a lot of opportunity.”
Ticket prices have generally been under $1,000 for a round trip flight from Boston to Honolulu on Hawaiian. There are several promotional fares on the airline’s website that are under $570 round trip. The route will be flown by the Hawaiian’s 278-seat widebody Airbus A330. The airline is scheduled to take delivery of 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in 2021 and Ingram did not rule out the possibility of using a Dreamliner for the Boston route in the future.
The airline has free video entertainment with seatback screens, but make sure to send any important e-mails and texts before you board the 11-hour-plus flight: Hawaiian’s fleet does not have Wi-Fi.
Friday’s Hawaiian Airlines flight caps a busy week of new routes and announcements out of Logan. Delta Airlines, whose presence at the airport is second only to JetBlue, has been aggressively growing in Boston this year. This week it unveiled new partnered flights to Amsterdam through KLM, to London’s Heathrow and Gatwick airports through Virgin Atlantic, and to Seoul through Korean Air. It’s also beginning flights to Lisbon and Edinburgh.
Delta has doubled its daily domestic departures in Boston since 2013 and is adding more flights to four domestic destinations: Cleveland, Chicago, Washington-Reagan, and Newark-Liberty.Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.