5 Reasons to Add a Hawaii Stopover on Your Way Home From Asia and the South Pacific

Jul 14, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Whether you vault over the Arctic or soar for hours over the blues of the Pacific Ocean, transpacific flights can be a chore — yes, even for AvGeeks. Not only are some of these flights among the longest in aviation, crossing the international date line wreaks havoc with your sense of time.

But if you plan your flights right, the next time work or play takes you from the US to various points in Asia, Australia, New Zealand (and back again), it’s a great excuse for a stopover in Hawaii. Here’s how to make the international date line work for you, instead of against you.

1. It Breaks Up a (Really, Really) Long Flight

The best part of adding a Hawaiian stopover to your return flight? You turn one loooooooong flight into two shorter and more manageable ones. As a bonus, those segments also usually mean more miles accrued overall — definitely a win-win.

Particularly for East Coasters heading to Australia and New Zealand, the Hawaii stopover is a game changer. Getting to Sydney (SYD) from a New York City-area airport, for example, may involve a six-hour transcontinental flight followed by a 15-hour international flight.

Instead of slogging through the reverse on your return, when you book a multi-segment trip via Qantas — which offers five flights per week from Sydney to Honolulu (HNL) and will earn you Oneworld points — the flights look something like this: SYD to HNL (overnight, nine and a half hours), followed by a Hawaii stopover followed by HNL to LAX (five and a half hours), followed by LAX to New York (another five and a half hours).

Similar multi-segment itineraries can be booked on Air New Zealand, which offers daily flights from Auckland (AKL) to Honolulu (and will earn you Star Alliance miles).

2. Honolulu Is a Gateway Hub

While we tend to think of Hawaii as a destination in and of itself, Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport is a major gateway to the US from destinations further east and south, as well as for flights inbound from the US mainland, so it’s actually an ideal stopover destination.

According to the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, between April and June 2019 alone, there were 780,336 scheduled seats, representing 2,916 flights inbound for Hawaii that crossed the international date line — which breaks down to more than 200 flights per week on a total of 16 carriers with flights from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Fiji.

Hawaiian Airlines alone has 42 fights a week inbound for Honolulu that jump the date line, including daily flights from Sydney and Osaka, Japan (KIX); 11 flights per week from Tokyo Haneda (HND); five flights per week from Seoul, South Korea (ICN); and three flights weekly from Brisbane, Australia (BNE), Auckland, New Zealand (AKL) and Hokkaido, Japan (CTS). The airline also offers three flights weekly from Tokyo Haneda to Kona, Hawaii (KOA).

Hawaii's Halona Blowhole near Honolulu. (Photo by Anthony Giustino / Getty Images)
Hawaii’s Halona Blowhole near Honolulu is a great place to check out on your layover. (Photo by Anthony Giustino / Getty Images)

3. Speaking of Hawaiian Airlines …

Though Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t have an official stopover promotion in place, such as those offered by Turkish Airlines or Qatar Airways that include accommodations on the ground, Hawaiian Airlines flyers going to or from the airline’s nine international destinations can get a free stopover in Honolulu on each leg, whether outbound or return, if they use the multi-city option when booking on Hawaiian’s website.

And that’s the key travel hack here: Booking a multi-city or multi-segment trip lets you design a flight itinerary that includes 24, 48, 72 hours or more on the ground in Hawaii on your return for a minimal difference in cost. Think of it as a two-for-one vacation.

(Photo by Simon Rae / Unsplash)
Before you make the long haul to Sydney’s Bondi Beach, be sure to book your stop over in Hawaii for a multi-segment trip. (Photo by Simon Rae / Unsplash)

4. You Can Fly ANA’s New A380

Other major news for Hawaii (and all the more reason to connect through Honolulu en route to Tokyo): On May 24, ANA’s first Airbus A380 made its debut on thrice-weekly service between Tokyo’s Narita Airport (NRT) and Honolulu. When the carrier’s second A380 entered service on July 1, ANA began offering 10 roundtrip flights per week on the brand-new planes — an AvGeek’s dream indeed.

“We already have strong demand for the Tokyo-Honolulu route — not only among couples [and] honeymooners, but also families, high-end customers, group tours and a wide variety of customers,” an ANA spokesperson said. “We believe that the A380 will be instrumental in expanding our resort strategy as we seek to increase our market share by doubling the number of seats connecting Honolulu and Tokyo.”

5. It’s a Cure for Jet Lag … Kind Of

And finally we come to jet lag — or the relative lack thereof. By time of day (morning, midday, afternoon, evening), Honolulu is likely significantly more in line with your Asia-Pacific point of departure than your home time zone, wherever that may be. The major difference here is that Hawaii lies on the opposite side of the international date line.

For example: 7:44am Friday in Sydney is 11:44am Thursday in Honolulu, while 7:10am Saturday in Tokyo is 12:10pm on Friday. New Zealand is a whole 22 hours ahead of Hawaii by time zones, so 8:49am Friday in Auckland is 10:49am in Honolulu — yes, the day before. Departing on an overnight flight from any of these destinations, you land in Honolulu in the morning hours — on the same day you left.

It’s basically “Groundhog Day,” set in paradise.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs up to two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide including takeout and delivery in the U.S., and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $80 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® after you apply through any Authorized Enrollment Provider. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.24%-26.24% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.