Back in October of 2017 I wrote about Southwest’s plans to start flying to Hawaii. Now the airline has released more information. Yesterday, Southwest Airlines announced its intent to serve the following four airports in Hawaii:
- Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Oahu (Honolulu; HNL)
- Lihue Airport in Kauai (LIH)
- Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole in Hawaii (KOA)
- Kahului Airport in Maui (OGG)
“While we do not yet have details to share on exact dates or routes, they do represent our initial footprints and top priorities for the soonest service in the State of Hawaii,” Southwest said in a statement posted to its website on Thursday. CEO Gary Kelly said Southwest will start small, with just one route between the West Coast and one destination in Hawaii.
For Southwest, the flights to Hawaii will give the carrier its most significant service expansion since it began flying internationally in 2014. The airline now serves numerous destinations across Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Hawaii is one of the top leisure destinations for U.S. travelers, a segment that Southwest undoubtedly hopes to cater. Southwest officials have said on several occasions that options for Hawaii flights have been a top request from the carrier’s frequent-fliers.
What it Means For You
Southwest’s announcement is good news for those who want to visit Hawaii. There will be more options for travelers and likely lower prices with the added competition. This is even greater news for those who have Companion Passes. If you qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you may soon be able to go to Hawaii for essentially half-price. With a Companion Pass, you can choose one traveler to fly with you for just the cost of fees and taxes.
This is great news as it will provide more options for getting to Hawaii and likely push for more competitive prices. It’s twice as good for those who have a Southwest Companion Pass.
We still do not know what US mainland cities will receive direct routes to Hawaii. I would expect some California airports to be on top of the list. It will also be interesting to see if Southwest offers intra-island flights.