December 11, 2003 -- When we saw this unbeatable fare from ATA (www.ata.com), we looked out our windows at the frozen-solid cityscape outside our New York offices and said, "Wonderful! A winter vacation in paradise."
Then we had another thought. Maybe there are Hawaiians who have never seen snow. Maybe there's a kid in Honolulu who wonders what it's like to see your breath in a cloud in front of you and has never enjoyed the relief of toasting a Xando's S'Mores platter while the picture windows steam up around you. So hey, this deal is for those people, too.
ATA is an old, reliable budget carrier, safe as houses, and more famous for prices than service. (If you've flown ATA recently, tell us what you thought on the message boards.) Their deal is simple: $388 round trip ($411 with tax), either way, between Honolulu and New York's LaGuardia or Newark airports.
The fares are available for flights on Mondays-Thursdays between Jan. 6 and March 18, and they're only on sale through Dec. 14.
Of course, the airlines will let no deal go un-matched. When we checked on Orbitz, we found Continental (www.continental.com) matching ATA's deal, with a price including tax of $418 ($412 on Continental's own Web site, because Orbitz charges a $6 transaction fee.) We expect the unpublicized Continental fare to last exactly as long as the ATA fare does. The advantage of flying Continental is that airline runs nonstop from Newark to Honolulu, whereas ATA requires a stop in either Chicago, Indianapolis or San Francisco.
ATA and Continental's fares are about $100 lower than any other fares we could find.
Have you flown ATA lately? Tell us how they're doing on our Air Travel Message Boards today.