We used to fly ATA to Hilo, it was the only airline we could get a direct flight from San Francisco to Hilo. That was always nice, saved us the long trip from Kona to Hilo (which entailed someone picking us up, a rental car or additional cost of another little puddle jumper flight). ATA went bankrupt in 2008 (2 short years after they started their service to Hilo ).
Well, as Devany from Our Hawaiian Home writes (and gives an interesting history!), United has opened up direct flights between Hilo and either Los Angeles or San Francisco! They fly to and from LAX daily and SFO once weekly, starting this week. Again, yay!