Southwest Airlines is known for flying to small airports near big destinations. Now, it’s about to do so in Hawaii.
In the airline’s quarterly report on April 26, 2018, CEO Gary C. Kelly announced Southwest’s intent to begin service to these Hawaii airports:
- 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)
Of these airports, Honolulu is the largest, with 26 airlines. (By contrast, more than 70 airlines operate out of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York.) Eleven airlines operate out of KOA at Keahole, 10 operate out of OGG in Maui and just seven operate out of LIH in Kauai.
Southwest expects to begin selling tickets to Hawaii in 2018, according to Kelly. The airline first announced the upcoming service in October 2017.
What it means for you
Southwest’s announcement is good news for island-bound travelers. It means:
You’ll have more options and, potentially, lower prices. For those heading to Hawaii in the future, Southwest’s impending service will mean you’ll have more flights to choose from. The added competition could put pressure on other airlines with similar routes to lower their prices on flights.
Companion Passes will probably get a lot more valuable soon. 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. The pass is valid for the remainder of the calendar year in which you qualify, plus the following year.
You must earn 110,000 qualifying points or fly 100 qualifying one-way Southwest flights in a calendar year to get this coveted status. The sign-up bonuses on the Southwest credit cards are an easy way to reach that requirement faster.