United Airlines Adding Two NEW Nonstop Flights into Hilo This Week

Thursday June 9th at 7:40 pm will be the first arrival of United Airlines new nonstop flights to Hilo, Hawaii from Los Angeles in over 28 years!

It’s been 28 years (1983) since Hilo had a direct flight from LA…Hilo had a direct from Oakland, but that ended when ATA went under in 2008.

United Air Lines’ Honolulu service was initiated on May 1, 1947. That year, the average passengers carried on this route (total of both directions) was 2,100 per month. In 1964, the monthly average was 33,100. For the period May 1, 1947, through August 31, 1964, 1,917,749 passengers were carried on the Honolulu route alone. The cargo-carried monthly average (also total of both directions) went from 36,500 pounds in 1947 to 787,000 in 1964, totaling for the period May 1, 1947, through July 31, 1964, a total of 45,985,000 pounds. When United Air Lines inaugurated Stratocruiser service from Hawaii to the mainland in 1950, Honolulu was linked directly with 87 mainland cities. In November, 1964, UAL installed in-flight movies for ocean-overflying passengers.

Media Release:

The news that United Airlines (operated by Continental Airlines) is adding two new nonstop flights into Hilo this June raises an interesting question: Why Hilo?

First, there is fun, funky, historic Hilo town itself. Bright, handsomely restored clapboard and stucco buildings near the bayfront are home to flower and antique shops, boutiques featuring the creations of local aloha wear designers, exotic ethnic restaurants and fun hole-in-the-wall eateries with favorite Hawaii dishes. A lively farmers market offers exotic fruits, Hawaiian coffees, and vegetables, as well as local crafts, all at great prices – and even massage.

The East Hawaii Cultural Center features always intriguing exhibits by local artists. The Pacific Tsunami Museum tells the dramatic stories of the 1946 and 1960 tsunamis that hit Hilo and the rest of Hawaii and the Lyman Mission House and Museum, features Hawaiian artifacts and natural history collections in a house built in 1839 by American Christian missionaries. The Imiloa Astronomy Center features stunning shows in its planetarium, and memorable exhibits that explain (in English and Hawaiian) the importance of the stars to the early Polynesian voyagers who first discovered these islands. The interactive displays at the Mokupapapa Discovery Center open a window onto the Papahanaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the remote Northwest Hawaiian Islands. The Monument is Hawaii’s second UNESCO World Heritage Site (the only other one is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, just up the hill from Hilo town).

Hilo is no “tourist town.” It is an authentic community whose friendly long-time residents go back generations to sugar plantation workers who were immigrants largely from Japan and the Philippines. But there’s plenty for a visitor to do here.

Afterall, Hilo is the gateway to all of East Hawaii, a sometimes overlooked adventurer’s paradise that stretches from the isolated Ka Lae peninsula – the southern-most point in the U.S. and a National Historic Landmark – where ocean-faring Polynesians first made landfall in Hawai‘i; to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, where Kilauea volcano has been erupting since 1983; to the glistening jungles that tumble down-slope to the Puna coastline, where lava-heated ponds and clear tidepools speckle the shore. This diverse region is also where you find the only rainforest zoo in the U.S. (it’s free!), and the only winery on Hawaii Island.

East Hawaii continues to the summit of Maunakea, the world’s tallest mountain (measured from its base beneath the sea), and along the Hamakua Coast where silvery waterfalls, lush botanical gardens, and old sugar plantation towns lead to the raw beauty of Waipio Valley.

Within this vast, diverse landscape, spirited travelers can choose from a menu of adventures or create their own, whether on foot, in the water, up in the air, harnessed to a zipline, on horseback, behind the wheel, seated at a table – or all of the above! They can get a good taste of East Hawaii Island in just two or three days, but a week could easily be filled with exciting fun.

What Hilo town and the outlying districts are not is partly what makes the area so appealing. Instead of grand five-star resorts, the Hilo area offers a variety of excellent inns, bed & breakfast cottages, hostels and good family-friendly hotels, as well as comfortable cabins and campgrounds.

There are no broad, manicured white sand beaches in East Hawaii, but no one seems to miss them. Hilo town locals flock to the little coves and beach parks along Kalanianaole Avenue in Keaukaha for picnicking, snorkeling and splashing in the tidepools. Farther afield, around East Hawaii, there are black sand beaches and secret snorkel spots to explore along the dramatic, lava-rock shorelines of the Puna and Hamakua coasts.

So, why Hilo? Just come, and you’ll never ask that question again.

Getting Here: Two new direct flights begin service to Hilo this June. United Airlines (operated by Continental Airlines) will offer daily nonstop service from Los Angeles (LAX) to Hilo International Airport (ITO) starting June 9, and weekly flights from San Francisco (SFO) to ITO on Saturdays starting June 11. Rates and information at www.continental.com and www.united.com. Other direct flights from the mainland on major carriers serve the Kona International Airport, a 2-1/2 hour drive from Hilo. All major carriers and interisland aircraft provide connecting flights from Honolulu to Hilo and Kona. 

East Hawaii Fast Facts:

·  Kilauea is the world’s most active volcano, and has been flowing almost continuously since Jan. 3, 1983

·  Hawaii’s human history began at Ka Lae in the Kau District where the Marquesans first made landfall between 500 A.D. and 800 A.D.

·  King Kamehameha the Great launched 800 canoes from Hilo Bay, from where he set sail on his quest to conquer Kauai

·  Hilo is home to the world’s largest and most beloved hula competition, the Merrie Monarch Festival, which comes to town each year the week following Easter Sunday

·  East Hawaii produces 95 percent of the state’s papayas, and 65 percent of the world’s macadamia nuts

·  One of the world’s most accessible lava tubes, Thurston Lava Tube (Nahuku), is found at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

·  Hilo is beautified by an average of 130 inches of rain a year, resulting in waterfalls, lush foliage and abundant rainbows For more about Hilo town and outlying areas go to www.gohawaii.com/big-island/regions-neighborhoods/hilo

4 Responses

  1. I have been finding RT ITO-LAX on this flight this month through first in July for $512 taxes and fees included ($479 w/o). Not bad for the time saving! We are going to be able to leave when Robert gets off work and get back on a Sunday night in HILO before 8 PM! Cant beat that!

  2. I fly back and forth from Hilo to LAX several times a month – on United thru Kona – and although I will miss the inaugural flight – I have booked over a dozen future trips with the most airfare cost being 730.00 for a round trip – as well as being the same fare to Kona. Most trips are in the 575 to 650 range.

    I don’t know about the air fares to SFO.

    My guess is ultimately once United is fully combined with Continental under one airline – they will eventually drop one of the two daily Kona flights.

    Now one thing you will want to see if they will let the public see it – when the inaugural LAX – ITO flight lands – it will be “water cannon saluted” – where fire trucks will be lined up and will blast the jet from both sides with an arch of water from the fire trucks water cannon. Never seen it from the outside – but from the inside of the plane its pretty cool!

  3. Hey, we were stoked about the news of the non-stops from Hilo to SFO again. So we’re going to need a flight back from SFO to Hilo late July. The fare is $1149.00 per person, one way, and they claim “get it now because there are only four left at this low price.”

    SAY WHAT? So I guess we’re back to good old Hawaiian and for the $700 difference we can hang at Honolulu International for a couple hours.

  4. YAY!! My mom is on that first non-stop on Thur! I am very excited about a easier time to visit family in SoCal.

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