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Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays Reports Big Gains This Year

The recession is but a fading memory as far as Westlake Village-based Pleasant Travel Service is concerned.

Thus far this year, sales of the firm’s Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays tour packages have increased at least 40% over the same period last year, spokesman Ken Phillips reports.

“Our business has improved dramatically in all parts of the country, but the most significant turnaround of all has been in Southern California, which is our No. 1 market,” he said. “Of course, this area also showed the steepest decline when the economy wasn’t doing well.”

If the trend holds, Pleasant expects to book nearly 300,000 tours to the islands this year, compared with about 200,000 each in 1992 and 1993. The company claims to be the nation’s leading provider of packaged tours to Hawaii.

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Besides an improving economy, Phillips also credits a new air service with attracting travelers to the firm’s packages. In March, Pleasant leased a fleet of Lockheed L-1011 jets and began offering to fly customers on what the company describes as its own airline.

“It’s more than a charter service,” Phillips said. “We have a schedule that we have to follow, even if there’s only one passenger.” On average, he said, the 362-passenger craft are more than 90% full at takeoff time.

Thus far, he said, Pleasant’s airliners have flown about 25,000 vacationers to the islands from Los Angeles and San Francisco. The planes’ owner, American Trans Air, provides the crews.

“Our customers can use a major carrier if they wish, but we’ve found that many of them prefer to fly on our planes,” Phillips noted. “Travelers are assured of a convenient flight time, and they have a feeling that their vacation has already begun when they step aboard.”

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Providing its own air service has allowed Pleasant to shave its costs a bit, Phillips added. With weeklong packages including air fare starting at $399 per person, double-occupancy, every penny obviously counts.


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