Thursday, September 14, 2017

Your inter-island flight on Hawaii’s Island Air will be more comfortable and quicker with upgraded Q400 planes

Your inter-island flight on Hawaii’s Island Air will be more comfortable and quicker, thanks to a new fleet of planes that promise roomier seats and faster flight times.

The company recently started flying Q400 planes made by Montreal-based Bombardier. Island Air flies 400 flights a week between the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui and Oahu.

The new planes seat 78 passengers — 64 economy, 14 premium — instead of 64 passengers on the airline’s ATR-72 aircraft, which were retired Sept. 4.

(Passengers were treated to special snacks and raffles aboard the final Island Air flight on the old planes between Lihue, Kauai, and Honolulu, Oahu.)

Crew members display the traditionally Hawaiian "shaka" greeting while standing beside one of Island Air's new Q400 planes.
(Island Air)

The Q400s have roomier cabins, larger overhead bins and fly faster (414 mph), making the short hops between islands even shorter. The planes are also more fuel-efficient and feature advanced noise and vibration reduction.

So what will it cost you? For a trip between Honolulu and Kahului, Maui, next month, on randomly selected dates, I found fares starting at $144 round-trip on Island Air and on Hawaiian Airlines, which uses Boeing 717 jets for its inter-island services.

Airfares on another inter-island service, Mokulele Airlines, which flies nine-seater Cessnas, begin at $128.

One advantage to traveling in smaller planes: They fly at lower altitudes, thereby providing passengers with better views of Hawaii’s colorful sights from on high.

(Mary Forgione - Los Angeles Times)

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