Travel Weekly's Hawaii E-Letter: September 9, 2002

THE JUSTICE DEPT. is opposing the Aloha-Hawaiian request for temporary antitrust immunity on interisland routes. Aloha and Hawaiian asked the DOT for immunity through Oct. 1, 2003, to coordinate and reduce capacity on the routes. The DOJ, however, urged the DOT to reject the application because the coordinated capacity reduction "will result in serious harm to consumers through higher fares and poorer service in some of the most heavily traveled city pairs in the U.S." The DOJ also concluded that there has been "no showing that such collusion on capacity is necessary to preserve air service in the interisland markets."

THE DOJ acknowledged that interisland traffic has declined over the past several years, and took another hit from the post-Sept. 11 decline in air travel. But the DOJ said the law on which the airlines are relying to receive antitrust immunity was meant only to protect against the "complete loss" of service," and "the available evidence shows that neither [carrier] is in imminent danger of failing" or pulling out of the interisland routes.

PLEASANT HOLIDAYS and Marriott Hotels are promoting a plan in which clients who travel on Pleasant packages that include stays of seven nights or more at select Marriotts in Hawaii through Dec. 15 receive two free nights at select Marriotts in California and Arizona in 2003. Pleasant also is offering a plan with the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, providing travelers free air fare for a companion when they travel through Dec. 24 and stay for a minimum of five nights at the resort. Reservations must be made by Sept. 30.

ATA VACATIONS created seven-night packages starting at $724, per person, double, in conjunction with its Thursday service from Chicago (Midway) Airport to Honolulu. Packages are valid for travel Jan. 6 to Feb. 28. Prices do not include taxes and fees.

DELTA AIR LINES reduced prices on Hawaii flights from major gateways for reservations made through Sept. 13 for travel through Dec. 14 (Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 are black out dates). Prices start at $406 from San Francisco to Honolulu.

TALKS CONTINUED ON THURSDAY between five Honolulu hotels and Local 5 of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, which represents 4,000 workers. Both sides prepared for a possible walk-out, with Starwood Hotels opening a communications center for strike information and the union opening a strike headquarters. Hotels in talks include the Hilton Hawaiian Village and four Starwoods: the Sheraton Waikiki, Princess Kaiulani, Sheraton Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian.

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