Southwest Airlines Begins Flying To Hawaii This Month
Southwest Airlines announced that it would start flying to Hawaii in October 2017. It has taken over 16 months, but the airline has finally begun selling tickets on its new routes from the California to Hawaii. What’s more, the airline is currently offering an airfare sale with prices as low as $49 each way. The airline has even devoted a specific webpage to the new service. Here are the details.
Southwest will operate flights to Hawaii from four California cities: Oakland (OAK), San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC) and Sacramento (SMF). In Hawaii, the airline will fly to Honolulu (HNL) on Oahu, Kahului (OGG) on Maui, Kona (KOA) on the Island of Hawaii, and Lihue (LIH) on Kauai.
According to The Points Guy, the flight launches will roll out as follows.
- Oakland to Honolulu, Oahu: March 17
- Oakland to Kahului, Maui: April 7
- San Jose to Honolulu, Oahu: May 5
- San Jose to Kahului, Maui: May 26
- Honolulu to Kahului (inter-island): April 28
- Honolulu to Kona, Island of Hawaii (inter-island): May 12
The airline will fly to Hawaii using Boeing 737-800s and 737 MAX 8 aircraft, both with 175 seats aboard. Among the amenities the airline touts to tempt travelers are the fact that seats have 32-33 inches of pitch, which makes them roomier than some competitors. The airline also offers all-day Wi-Fi from gate to gate for just $8 per device.
Southwest is also teasing “new snack bag full of tasty goodies to make sure that when you land you’ll be ready to explore everything Hawaii has to offer.”
But perhaps the two facets that set Southwest’s service apart from that of other airlines is that passengers can check up to two bags each for free, which Southwest says is, “because no golf bag or swimsuit should be left behind.” More important, though, the airline does not charge change fees to switch your reservation, though fare differences might apply.
To celebrate the launch of these new flights, the airline is posting airfares as low as $49 or 1,950 Rapid Rewards points each way, though at the moment, it seems like $79, or around 4,200 points, is the lowest fare you’ll find. Still, given airfares can sometimes cost over $400 per segment from the U.S. and Southwest’s relaxed travel change policies, it could be worth booking inexpensive tickets now and changing your plans later. Especially since you have 24 hours after time of booking to cancel free of charge. If you have the Southwest Companion Pass, the deals are even better since you basically get half-priced travel for two people.
Overall, this is a very positive development for travelers. Southwest’s entry into the popular Hawaii vacation market means more choices and more competition, which should hopefully drive ticket prices at least slightly downward in the near term. The airline is also a particularly consumer-friendly option thanks to its checked-baggage inclusions and flexible change policies. Hopefully the airline will launch more flights to Hawaii in the future so that travelers have even more choices when it comes to flying across the Pacific.
Eric Rosen is a travel and food writer from Los Angeles, California. Keep up with his latest travels on Instagram @EricRosenLA.