$278 roundtrip: Hawaii fares plunge (again) for winter, spring trips

$278 roundtrip: Hawaii fares plunge (again) for winter, spring trips

Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines have a late Christmas present for Bay Area fliers: A continuation of a long string of deep discounts for nonstops to the islands for winter and spring flights.

Today we are finding roundtrip nonstops for as little as $278 on Southwest Airlines, as well as for basic economy seats on Alaska Air and Hawaiian. United has not (yet) enthusiastically joined this latest round of discounts; its cheapest basic economy fares are in the $350 roundtrip range. You can find these cheap fares via airline websites or search engines like

Southwest's $278 roundtrip deals depart from Oakland and San Jose only, so that's where you'll find most of the matching fares on Alaska and Hawaiian. However, both of those carriers have similar fares from San Francisco International, too.

The most demand for Hawaii flights is to Honolulu, so fares are slightly higher on those routes. The most prevalent discounts are between the Bay Area and Maui. Keep in mind that Southwest does not charge for the first two checked bags while all other airlines do.

To get the deals, you must fly Monday through Thursday in both directions anytime between January and May, which includes spring break.

Alaska Air is also offering decent discounts on first class fares-- as low as $750 round trip, which is not bad considering first class is usually in the $1,000 roundtrip range.

With all the discounting on flights to Hawaii, demand is frequently outstripping supply when it comes to hotels and other accommodations, so be prepared for sticker shock in many places.

However, a quick scan on Expedia for hotels in Waikiki in mid February shows plenty of options for less than $200 per night. Airbnb is a good option for bargain hunters, too, since many of its properties include kitchens, which helps cut back on the high cost of dining out-- a quick scan on Airbnb for a long weekend in February shows plenty of studios for less than $100 per night-- not bad!

Will you be taking off for Hawaii this winter? Why or why not? Tell us about it in the comments.