Southwest says it has gained US approval for Hawaii flights

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Ticket sales for Southwest Airlines should be announced in the coming days. That’s because the FAA has finally approved the company to serve Hawaii. 

Travel experts we spoke to say they are seeing a drop in airfare for roundtrip tickets to the mainland. They believe part of the reason has to do with Southwest. 

If you look online, prices to Los Angeles look good for the month of April. As low as $400 or less roundtrip. Mike Brown from Panda Travel tells us this could be partly due to Southwest Airlines entering the Hawaii market soon. 

“It’s hard to tell because we can’t see the full inventory, the airlines control that, but it would not surprise me at all if they lowered their prices in response,” said Brown. “Some people refer to a thing called the ‘Southwest Effect’ where they enter a market, prices have a tendency to go down and that’s really a supply and demand thing. Any time you have a new competitor, there is going to be some price competition.”

Brown says Southwest’s pricing structure is simple and works for them. 

“They don’t mess around with fares. You don’t see a $400 fare today, that’s $900 fare tomorrow. It stays pretty constant,” he said. 

Southwest also accepts the first two checked bags for free. Brown tells us that’s a big deal because people in Hawaii have to travel with luggage. It also helps travel agencies.

“When you have one airline that charges for baggage and another airline that doesn’t, that’s a tremendous cost difference. So it can be used as a negotiating tool with some of the other airlines, give us a lower fare and we can deal with your baggage,” said Brown. 

In a statement, a Southwest spokesman says: 

“The FAA officially authorized Southwest to operate ETOPS or Extended Operations flights that, among other potential routes, will technically allow us to serve Hawaii, as previously announced. We have Teams now finalizing our plans to offer service to Hawaii, and we’ll publicly announce our timing for inaugural flights and other services when we publish our schedule in the coming days.”

Brown tells us he has noticed some clients are holding off on their travel plans to wait for Southwest’s ticket sales.

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