March Transcon & Hula Loophole Update


Fares have dropped 20%+ on American since last month, while Delta and United are holding steady, and you can still get to Hawaii and the Caribbean for free with a smart strategy

As we predicted in our 2023 Crystal Ball report published in January, due to layoffs and recession-grabbing headlines, transcon fares have now decreased in altitude by more than 20% in just the last month on American airlines for non-red-eye and 6 a.m. flights. What’s more, current turbulent market dynamics mean that fares are dropping sooner than we predicted, so here’s the latest.

Business Class Fare Changes Between New York & Los Angeles Nonstop

American Airlines — dropping up to 20%: Close in through the end of April, the lowest fare we’ve found is $2,498, down from $3,048. American has a handful of the lowest fares for travel in June and July with some days as low as $1,398; otherwise it’s between $1,798 and $2,198 on most days, down from $2,498.

Delta Airlines — largely unchanged: Has a couple of random days in the $1,798 to $2,198 range for travel departing on Saturdays; otherwise fares range from $2,198 to $2,598.

United Airlines — occasionally good, usually high: United has the lowest fares for close in travel, with a couple of random days at $1,573 through April 30. Beyond that the fares range from $2,458 to $3,408.

JetBlue: Close in fares range from $1,898 to $2,298. We’ve spotted a few days in June at $1,348. Otherwise, JetBlue is gouging advance planners (especially for weekend travel) with fares ranging from $2,048 to $3,238. And then there are Saturdays, which are as high as $3,698 from September to January.

The Transcon Is More Than Just Between NY & LA

There are some low-fare non-New York-Los Angeles nonstop transcon routes like Miami-Los Angeles for $1,055 round-trip, and others for $1,216 and less. This chart is good reading.

AmericanOrlandoLos Angeles$783
American, JetBlueBostonSeattle$988
DeltaWashington, DCSeattle$1,038
American, JetBlue, UnitedNew YorkSeattle$1,048
American, JetBlue, UnitedMiamiLos Angeles$1,055
UnitedWashington, DCLos Angeles$1,076
UnitedNew YorkPortland,OR$1,106
American, JetBlueBostonLos Angeles$1,115
DeltaBostonSan Diego$1,158
UnitedNew YorkSan Diego$1,166
DeltaBostonSan Francisco$1,198
UnitedOrlandoSan Francisco$1,216

Hawaii For Free. What’s Not to Lava?

The transcon – Hula Loophole update is still going strong with a cheaper than free trip to Hawaii. The key is to find a low-fare route to Hawaii that gives you a free stopover in a West Coast city that you’re already planning to visit. For example, when fares are high on the New York-Los Angeles transcon route, think about adding a stop in Honolulu, Kona, Lihue, or Maui to enjoy a bonus destination — for free or just a little more. Screenshots below.

A free trip to Hawaii gets our stamp

New York > Los Angeles > New York

Example of Hawaii for Free:
New York > Kona > Los Angeles > New York

Pre-Baked Trips to Cali That Get You to Hawaii in First Class for Free or Nearly Free from New York

While fares are constantly changing and vary by date, here’s what we recently found if you’re at all flexible…

Start Your Ticket InYour Hawaiian DestinationYour StopFareCompare to Transcon Round-TripCost / Savings
New YorkMauiLos Angeles$2,396$2,497-$101
New YorkKonaLos Angeles$2,397$2,497-$100
New YorkKauaiLos Angeles$2,437$2,497-$60
New YorkHonoluluLos Angeles$2,865$2,497$368

San Juan for Free…

The key when flying from the West Coast is to find a low-fare route to the Caribbean that offers a free stopover in an East Coast city you’re already planning to visit. For example, when fares are high on the Los Angeles/San Francisco-New York transcon route, think about adding a stop in Aruba, Montego Bay, Nassau, or San Juan to enjoy a bonus destination — for free or just a little more.

Pre-Baked Trips to New York That Get You to Caribbean in First Class for Free or Nearly Free

Start Your Ticket InYour StopYour Free DestinationFareCompare to Transcon Round-TripCost / Savings
Los Angeles*New YorkMontego Bay$2,018$2,497-$479
Los AngelesNew YorkSan Juan$2,391$2,497-$106
Los Angeles*New YorkAruba$2,539$2,497$42
Los Angeles*New YorkNassau$2,610$2,497$113
San FranciscoNew YorkSan Juan$2,450$1,998$452
*The 3 tickets in your itinerary must be booked individually

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