By Joe Brancatelli
Alaska Airlines Is the Hot New Player: Rampaging oil prices early last year wiped out Aloha and ATA, two carriers that had been growing their mainland-to-Hawaii route networks. Into the gap has come — surprise! — Alaska Airlines, which is hubbed and headquartered in Seattle. Alaska launched two new routes in November (Oakland-Maui and Oakland-Kona) and announced three more (San Jose-Maui on March 11; San Jose-Kona on March 12 and Sacramento-Maui on March 26). And even though it didn’t even fly to Hawaii until October, 2007, Alaska now will have 73 roundtrip flights a week. That’s an astounding 11 percent of Alaska’s total capacity.
Meanwhile, the big news in Honolulu is the Trump International Hotel Waikiki, a condo hotel that opened in mid-November. The rooms and they are stunning: gigantic, with lavish kitchens, top-flight furnishings and all-marble bathrooms. It’s not only the first luxury hotel in Waikiki in a generation, it’s also unlike anything else in town. “Introductory” rates are surprisingly affordable, too: $255 a night for a studio and $435 for a studio with an oceanfront view. They’ll sleep four. Trump’s one-bedroom suites start as low as $525 a night.
Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of JoeSentMe.com, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.