Southwest Airlines Reveals Major Hawaii Expansion

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In the spring of 2019, Southwest Airlines began flying to Hawaii, which many consumers were excited about. The airline is known for its great fares, no change fees, and free checked bags, and travelers were happy to see that kind of a business model finally come to Hawaii.

Well, Southwest has now announced a major expansion of flying to the state, bringing nonstop options to passengers in more markets.

Southwest Airlines’ Hawaii expansion

As of June 2021, Southwest Airlines will add flights to Hawaii out of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego. Southwest Airlines will operate these flights with a combination of 737-800s and 737 MAX 8s. The airline is even offering introductory fares of $129-159 one-way.

This will represent Southwest’s first service to Hawaii out of Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix, while we’re seeing significantly expanded service out of San Diego. Southwest’s current Hawaii service is operated out of Long Beach, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Jose.

Let’s go over the details of the new service.

Southwest’s Las Vegas (LAS) to Hawaii flights

Southwest will fly from Las Vegas to four Hawaiian islands. The airline will fly from Las Vegas to:

  • Honolulu, Oahu (HNL), as of June 6, 2021, up to 2x daily
  • Kahului, Maui (OGG), as of June 27, 2021, up to 2x daily
  • Kona, Hawaii (KOA), as of September 7, 2021, up to 1x daily
  • Lihue, Kauai (LIH), as of September 8, 2021, up to 1x daily

Southwest’s Los Angeles (LAX) to Hawaii flights

Southwest will fly from Los Angeles to four Hawaiian islands. The airline will fly from Los Angeles to:

  • Honolulu, Oahu (HNL), as of June 6, 2021, up to 2x daily
  • Kahului, Maui (OGG), as of June 6, 2021, up to 3x daily
  • Kona, Hawaii (KOA), as of June 27, 2021, up to 1x daily
  • Lihue, Kauai (LIH), as of June 27, 2021, up to 1x daily

Southwest’s Phoenix (PHX) to Hawaii flights

Southwest will fly from Phoenix to four Hawaiian islands. The airline will fly from Phoenix to:

  • Honolulu, Oahu (HNL), as of June 27, 2021, up to 2x daily
  • Kahului, Maui (OGG), as of June 27, 2021, up to 1x daily
  • Kona, Hawaii (KOA), as of September 7, 2021, up to 1x daily
  • Lihue, Kauai (LIH), as of September 7, 2021, up to 1x daily

Southwest’s San Diego (SAN) to Hawaii flights

Southwest will fly from San Diego to four Hawaiian islands, which represents a significant increase over the previous service. The airline will fly from San Diego to:

  • Honolulu, Oahu (HNL), as of June 6, 2021, up to 2x daily
  • Kahului, Maui (OGG), as of June 27, 2021, up to 2x daily
  • Kona, Hawaii (KOA), as of June 27, 2021, up to 1x daily
  • Lihue, Kauai (LIH), as of June 29, 2021, up to 1x daily

Bottom line

It’s so awesome to see Southwest expand even further to Hawaii. In fairness, Hawaii is about as popular as it has ever been right now, given international travel restrictions and the widespread desire to travel.

Nonetheless, Southwest is now becoming a force to be reckoned with in the Hawaii market, and that’s great to see. Airlines sure face a lot of competition between the mainland and Hawaii, and I imagine we’ll see fares go even lower.

What do you make of Southwest Airlines’ Hawaii expansion?

Conversations (31)
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  1. guflyer

    What bothers me is that Southwest still has not brought back many of its international routes, such as the flight to Belize.

  2. Ben

    Will that make PHX-LIH WN's longest non-stop route? GC Mapper has it at 2,979 mi.

  3. Eskimo

    How about figuring how to connect Hawaii beyond the west coast.
    You can't do that without red-eye or separate ticket.

  4. Sharon

    I feel like its only a matter of time until Spirit adds Hawaii service.

    They are the king of red eyes- especially leaving Puerto Rico

  5. rich

    I think I'm one of the few that isn't high on Hawaii. I was there once for work about 20 years ago. Traffic was terrible and I'm not a beach person. I'll stick with Europe if I want to get away from the 48 states.

  6. ARN SEA

    Would love to see Southwest add PDX and SEA to Hawaii.

    Alaska has gotten pretty expensive on their flights.

  7. cpdc1030

    Interesting to see the LAS and PHX flights from LIH and OGG. The MAX-8 will have the range but runway performance might be an issue and I wonder if they will be paylod restricted. They will be close to MTOW and both runways are shorter than what the MAX-8 needs at that weight. These used to be 757 routes for AA for a long time till the A321neo came around because of this, and the 321neo has better takeoff performance than the MAX-8.

  8. Dick Bupkiss

    Perfect for those who want to enjoy Mass Tourism with the knob turned up to 11, focused on bringing as many low-end vacationers as possible. This is not going to make Hawaii better.

  9. ChrisCan

    Farewell, AA routes to Hawaii.

  10. D3kingg

    @Ben

    Southwest also flies into Hilo. The second airport on the big island. I saw two planes landing there last week.

  11. cahbf

    Is SWA really know for great fares? They are always 10-20% more than anyone else whenever I check.

  12. Tim Dunn

    This is great for WN overall as it is certain to increase their connectivity between their entire network and Hawaii. While they did a great job with invading the intra-Hawaii market, they were still fairly small in the mainland to Hawaii market. This puts them up into the top 3 carriers.

    This also will require alot of airplane time so gives an indication of where their growth aircraft will go - in addition to...

    This is great for WN overall as it is certain to increase their connectivity between their entire network and Hawaii. While they did a great job with invading the intra-Hawaii market, they were still fairly small in the mainland to Hawaii market. This puts them up into the top 3 carriers.

    This also will require alot of airplane time so gives an indication of where their growth aircraft will go - in addition to where they are putting aircraft that are coming out of high frequency markets. If they ever get around to adding redeye flights, they have the capacity to add even more Hawaii flights with minimal numbers of additional aircraft.

    Presumably, WN got ETOPS approval for its MAX aircraft... which they were working on. Some of these routes, esp. from PHX and LAS will need MAX aircraft, esp. in the summer and winter due to heat and winds.

    Good for people that like Hawaii and the prices for them to get there. Not great news at all for Alaska or Hawaiian Airlines.

  13. James W

    @Eskimo:

    United's new Denver ads (showcased here recently) poked Southwest on exactly that issue. Southwest loves to brag about their cheap fares to Hawaii, but they always gloss over the fact that you have to change planes on the West Coast. United (and most other carriers) offer nonstop service from numerous points east of the Rockies.

  14. PhotoPilot

    You forgot to mention Hawaii is also being served by Southwest via Long Beach! A wonderful an easy airport to get in and out of!

  15. John S

    As a Hawaii resident, I have been using WN as my inter island carrier of choice since they started service a few years back and am thrilled to see this big expansion of service. Hawaii needs the increased visitor count and Southwest has great service.

  16. Kamaaina

    @D3kingg Those Southwest flights landing in Hilo are interisland flights from HNL. As far as I know, Southwest doesn't have direct mainland flights to Hilo, or plans to start them.

  17. AmericanAirlinesMarketing101

    Pumped for this! Love a bit of WN!! I do concur that Spirit will probably launch flights to Hawaii at some point, the pricing on the big front seats would be interesting/bargain material!

  18. Spaceman Spiff

    Being packed into a flying Southwest cattle car would be a sad start to a Hawaiian vacation. LOL!

    Still nice to see them expanding service.

  19. Tom

    @Spaceman Spiff

    I do agree that flying economy to Hawaii is not the greatest but don't poo poo Southwest. United, Delta, American, Alaska are no roomier in economy than Southwest. In fact Southwest 737-800's and Max's have 32 " seat pitch and the other airlines have 31" in their narrow bodies.

    As far as first class or business class that's a different story but most people fly economy.

  20. Endre

    Perfect for all the Karens who want to indulge in the comfort of mass tourism

  21. Seatback

    Two questions:

    1. Will they open a crew base in HNL? That's a lot of flying and hotel rooms for mainland flights, not to mention intra-island flights.

    2. Will they have BOB? That's a long time survive just on pretzels.

  22. John

    I've only flown 1st class to Hawaii but this Southwest cost or even using their points is undeniably tempting! $129 each way or 8,719 points each way! And I did not realize this but I only need 5k more points and I get a companion pass! So tempting to book now and save quite a bit of money vs 1st class.

  23. Daniel D

    @ARN SEA

    In SEA Delta also flies to Hawaii, in addition to Hawaiian and Alaska, plus I believe SW has few existing operations in the PNW. Not worth flying to Seattle from their other bases in order to continue on to Hawaii, so maybe the logistics don't really work. Plus Delta is flying wide body aircraft on SEA-HNL for some time now, so just try to compete with that!

  24. CAROLYNNE

    Mass tourism will ruin Hawaii!

  25. K.M.

    Woooow, the Las Vegas direct flights not only hit Hawaiian airlines where it hurts with their monopoly on the Las Vegas direct flights, but one ups Hawaiian airlines by offering daily flights. Finally there's competition on this route.

  26. Paul

    Don't forget that AC has announced new routes to Hawaii from YYZ & YUL, plus the return of routes from YVR & YYC.

  27. Guy

    I think these will initially be slow until the dying public's confidence returns regarding the MAX.

  28. Nekisa

    Please please please fly Hilo to somewhere in California.

Featured Comments Load all 31 comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

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Nekisa

I hope so!!!

Nekisa

Please please please fly Hilo to somewhere in California.

Guy

*flying

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