Maui's white sand beaches soon will be easier to reach for Minnesotans when Delta Air Lines introduces daily nonstop service to the Hawaiian island in December.
The seasonal service to Maui will be in addition to the Atlanta-based carrier's current Honolulu nonstops from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. This will provide 14 weekly flights from MSP to Hawaii during the wintry months.
But don't expect the flights to be cheap. Average ticket prices to Honolulu from MSP range from about $1,200 and up — though sometimes prices dip to $800 — said Kyle Potter, editor of Thrifty Traveler.
"Delta really has a monopoly in Minneapolis, and they definitely have a monopoly on flying to Hawaii, and that kind of market control is a recipe for higher fares," Potter said. "When these tickets go on sale Saturday, I don't expect people to get any bargains."
A Delta spokeswoman said the new domestic route will offer customers Delta One, Delta Comfort+ and main cabin seats and will operate only seasonally, starting Dec. 16 and running through March 31.
The flight will depart MSP at 11:45 a.m. and land in Maui at 4:55 p.m., with returning flights departing Maui at 6:20 p.m. and arriving at 6:10 a.m. the next day at MSP.
Potter expects the new nonstop to be a hit.
"Travel demand to Hawaii, especially in the winter, is a bottomless pit."