Southwest Airlines expands service to the Hawaiian Islands

Local News

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The time has come as Southwest Airlines just announced that the carrier will add new service to, from and within Hawaii starting in mid-January of 2020.

There will be a new daily service between Honolulu (HNL) and Sacramento (SMF). In addition, new service nonstop between the Bay area, Oakland, and San Jose.

With these additions, Southwest will operate a total 34 departures a day on inter-island routes, including newly available service between Honolulu and Lihue & Honolulu and Hilo, four times daily in each direction. It will offer service nonstop between Kahului and Kona once daily in each direction.

As of Thursday, fares are now available on southwest.com. The airline is offering introductory fares starting at $99 for travel between Sacramento, Honolulu, Oakland and Kona.

Many Hilo and Lihue residents are excited for the added competition saying it currently costs about $200 roundtrip to fly between Honolulu and Hilo.

“There is three of us traveling so it’s about $600 total to come to Oahu and to go back,” said Hilo resident Irmalia Johnson.

Southwest is currently offering $39 one way between Honolulu and Hilo. As of posting, Hawaiian Airlines has dropped its Honolulu-Hilo price to as low as $58 roundtrip starting Jan. 20.

“We’re really excited to have options for us and for it to be cheaper for all of us to come visit our grandma and grandpa. It’s good, we can come for family trips and it’s needed,” Johnson said.

Southwest and Hawaiian are offering those same prices, as of posting, for Lihue and Honolulu as well.

“The people who got to that $99 fare as quickly as they did I really think speaks to the demand and the interest to fly Southwest on these new routes,” said Brad Hawkins, Southwest Airlines spokesperson.

While some Hawaiian Air prices have dropped along similar routes Southwest has introduced, the airline said in a statement:

Hawaiian Airlines will continue to offer the unparalleled hospitality, punctuality and neighbor-island frequency that make us the carrier of choice to, from and between the Islands of Hawaii.

Our guests enjoy not only competitive fares, but the unmatched value that includes complimentary meals in addition to snack and drink service featuring local products, free in-flight entertainment, and the superior comfort of a modern fleet that offers an array of product choices specially tailored to our guests’ travel needs.

As for when Southwest will have direct flights to Las Vegas?

“Now we’ll continue to go down the list, we’ve stated that San Diego is our next priority and what you find from the islands is when you get to San Diego or Oakland or San Jose or Sacramento is that all of those places have frequent service to Vegas,” Hawkins said.

Southwest says as they continue to grow they’ll work with the state to figure out closer gate assignments for interisland flights, avoiding the long walk and agricultural inspection interisland travelers currently face when flying through Honolulu.

Southwest will fly from:

  • Oakland to HNL (2 daily); OGG (2 daily)
  • Oakland to KOA (1 a day on Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun); LIH (1 a day on Tue, Thur, Sat)
  • San Jose, California to Honolulu (1 daily); OGG (1 daily);
  • San Jose, California to KOA (1 on Tue, Thur, Sat); LIH (1 on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun)
  • Sacramento to Honolulu (1 daily)
  • Honolulu to Oakland (2 daily); SJC (1 daily); SMF (1 daily)
  • Interisland: OGG, KOA, LIH, ITO (4 daily)
  • OGG to OAK (2 daily); SJC (1 daily)
  • Interisland: HNL (4 daily), KOA (1 daily)
  • KOA to Mainland (1 daily) OAK on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sun; SJC on Tue, Thur, Sat
  • Interisland: HNL (4 daily); OGG (1 daily)
  • LIH to OAK (1 daily) on Tue, Thur, Sat; SJC on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sunday
  • Interisland: HNL (4 daily)
  • ITO to HNL (4 daily)

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