Virtually all travelers to the Big Island arrive by air, and the vast majority stops first at Honolulu International Airport. If you have a layover in Honolulu, make sure the ticket agent marks your baggage with Hilo or Kona as the final destination.
US domestic and international airfares vary too much for generalizations about the cheapest carriers or months. But you can count on across-the-board fare hikes from mid-December to mid-March.
The Big Island's two primary airports:
Most domestic US and international flights arrive at Honolulu International Airport on Oʻahu. Travelers must then catch an interisland flight to Kona or Hilo:
In addition to Hawaiian Airlines, the following airlines also fly directly to the Big Island, arriving in Kona unless otherwise noted:
Air Canada From Vancouver.
Alaska Airlines From Oakland, Portland (OR), San Jose and Seattle.
American Airlines From Los Angeles.
Continental Airlines Arrives in Hilo from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Delta From Los Angeles.
United Airlines From Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
US Airways From Phoenix.
WestJet From Vancouver.
* Package tours, which can include airfare, hotel and car, offer bargains for couples who would stay at affiliated hotels anyway; single travelers don't benefit because rates are based on double occupancy. Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays departs from numerous US mainland cities. Sun Trips offers packages from Oakland, California.
* Summer travelers can find reduced fares to Kona at Airtech; read the fine print.