Alaska Airlines acquires Hawaiian Airlines

Airline Rankings On Flights To Hawaii 2023

How airlines that fly to Hawaii perform is always something of importance to us personally and to our readers. Two publications, personal finance website Wallethub, and the Wall Street Journal, recently announced their annual rankings of airlines. Results are based on a wide range of criteria including reliability, comfort, fewest complaints, safety, and baggage handling.

Wallethub included all airlines that fly to Hawaii, whereas the WSJ didn’t include regional carrier Hawaiian Airlines.

The rankings below include our review of both rankings  together with our own take.

#1: Hawaiian Airlines.

hawaiian airlines

Wallethub: Hawaiian ranked near the top in reliability and safety, and just behind Delta overall. They scored lower in comfort, canceled flights, and the number of consumer complaints. Also, they noted that Hawaiian doesn’t offer now industry standard Wi-Fi.

WSJ: Hawaiian wasn’t included in their study.

BOH: Hawaii is the standard-bearer for Hawaii flights for a variety of reasons. They also offer top notch reliability, which is very important, especially when it comes to interisland service that we consider in the same way others might, trains, or buses. More comfort is available, for a price, in terms of premium economy. We concur that the lack of Wi-Fi in 2022 is annoying.

#2: Delta Airlines.

delta airlines hawaii

Wallethub: “Delta Air Lines has the lowest rate of cancelations, delays, mishandled luggage and denied boardings.”

WSJ: #1 in on-time, cancelations, delays, bumping and complaints. Mishandled baggage was not so good.

BOH: Our take is slightly different since we are focused exclusively on Hawaii flights. Delta is far less Hawaii-centric than Southwest, Alaska, or Hawaiian. We question whether they would still rank first when just considering their Hawaii flights. Our personal experiences with Delta Hawaii flights have been mixed, but have included delayed connections, canceled flights, and lost luggage.

#3: Alaska Airlines.

Wallethub: #2 overall in WH study. Also “The safest airline.” Just behind Delta for reliability and comfort. In the category “Most affordable airline,” Alaska scored higher than any other company flying to Hawaii.

WSJ: Right behind Delta on overall ranking as well as on-time arrival, and delays. Not as good on mishandled baggage.

BOH: Alaska entered the Hawaii market about 15 years ago. They’ve done a very good job on Hawaii flights overall and are another standard-bearer. We’ve used them countless times to and from the mainland, and while we’ve had some delayed baggage and weather delays, our problems with them have been rare.

#4: United Airlines.

United Airlines Bypasses COVID Screening at Hawaii Airports

Wallethub: United has come way up in their rankings over the past six years. They continue to lag behind the above 3 across the board, however, based on Wallethub’s measures.

WSJ: UA ranks behind Alaska and Southwest of the airlines that fly to Hawaii. Mishandled baggage and customer complaints were high.

BOH: There’s no denying United’s popularity in Hawaii flights. Their website says that they “offer the most nonstop flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii.” It has been a long-time focus for United, where it offers a huge airlift, both nonstop and connecting to their U.S. and global hubs.

#5 Tie: American Airlines and Southwest Airlines.

Wallethub: Southwest ranked at the bottom in its “Most satisfactory airline” category. Low rankings also included safety concerns, canceled flights, and delays, among other issues. American ranked at or near the bottom as well, in several important categories, including reliability.

WSJ: Southwest was ranked 3rd overall in the ranking while American was 6th. Southwest ranked poor on on-time performance, canceled flights, extreme delays, and involuntary bumping. American didn’t rank well based on long delays, midhandled baggage, and involuntary bumping.

Southwest Hawaii Update

BOH: American is somewhat of a niche player in the Hawaii market, including nonstop island flights from its multiple hubs.  Southwest is unique among the Hawaii airlines, which have moved into line with Hawaiian, to largely dominate Hawaii flights, especially from the all-important west coast. Also, Southwest now has a large role in the Hawaii interisland flight market. They do that, however, very differently than Hawaiian. Interisland flights on SW are done without a dedicated fleet, and instead use the same trans-Pacific aircraft interisland, when the planes are on the way to and from the mainland. That’s presented issues regarding on-time performance, although the company has worked hard to avoid those problems.

You’ve heard from Wallethub, the Wall Street Journal, and from us. We’d greatly appreciate your thoughts on ranking the airlines that fly to Hawaii.

37 thoughts on “Airline Rankings On Flights To Hawaii 2023”

  1. This list is very true. The overall rankings in the opinion of mines or the United States Department of Transportation Website. These U.S Airlines on how they rank in on-time performance, safety Index, staff service, and experience. On behalf of 5 US Carriers, here’s how I ranked them.

    #1: Delta Airlines [USA]

    Delta Air Lines was named the top U.S Airline for the fourth year in a row, by Wall Street Journal in its annual airline scorecard rankings released by Wednesday Afternoon.
    They took the number one spot for the best overall ranking 2022 – 2023.

    PRO: Staff Service, Cabin Features,
    Cancelation Rate

    CON: Affordability

    #2: Hawaiian Airlines [USA]

    #3: Alaska Airlines [USA]

    #4: Envoy Air [USA]

    #5: United Airlines…

  2. Our favorite is American Air. It leaves every morning, about 10:30 AM, non-stop to Kauai. Returns, about 10:30 PM, non-stop to Phoenix. Never had a problem.
    Hawaiian Air nicer plane, but changing planes in Honolulu to Kauai..
    Hawaiian changed planes a night before leaving and lost our seats that we paid extra. Refund took sometime..
    We do Kauai again in 15 days for 3 weeks….

  3. So glad to see Alaska Airlines ranked #1 on safety. We fly Alaska everywhere we go and this will be my daughter’s first flight to Hawaii. She is petrified to fly over an ocean but after hearing they are #1 in safety she feels somewhat better. Thank you for your information, Pam

  4. Good analysis. safe to say some SWA people are going to pipe in and promote their product, however, SWA has used their “SWA effect” of adding many flights to break into a market and has shown little regard for the impact on the state. Have to wonder if the renewed crackdown on illegal vacation rentals will undermine them. It seems the same travelers that book their SWA flights go hand in hand with the people booking airbnb’s. Hawaii cannot sustain being treated like Las Vegas or Orlando were SWA pumps in as many budget tourists as they can.

  5. I will always fly a wide body (Hawaiian)! Five years ago I chose Alaska for my yearly trip. Terrifying!! First we were postponed one hour, then pilot told us we were flying into Portland from Seattle (200 miles away) to add fuel. We then bounced our way across the pacific, arriving almost 7.5 hours after leaving Seattle! It was almost midnight! But it was the sheer terror I felt during the endless storm that was worst!

    And yes, one of my Hawn flights was delayed 12 hours due to a missing part they said, had to be brought in from Honolulu. But the flight was amazingly smooth and pleasant.

  6. You’ve got to be kidding me that you place Southwest Airlines in last place? New aircraft, free bags, and some of the kindest & warmest cabin crews in the business (and no, I don’t work for Southwest). I certainly appreciate your point of view, however the value proposition that Southwest offers on transpacific and interisland flights is simply hard to beat. Aloha!

  7. I booked my family of 6 on Southwest from Chicago(MDW) to HNL this June. When the smoke cleared it was still $4000 cheaper than Both AA and DL ,$3200 than UA which offers a nonstop from ORD and $2300 cheaper than AlaskaAir.
    Going is a one stop 3hr connection in LAX. Returning a One stop same plane Thru flight to MDW via OAK.
    When you add in the checked luggage and other fees everyone else changes or require you to bump up to next fare from seat assignments. Southwest with its free baggage and liberal/flexible family boarding policies it’s really not a problem getting seats together.

  8. Our experiences with Alaska and Hawaiian would reverse your rating. Two weeks ago we arrived Honolulu 10 minutes early but waited on the tarmac 28 minutes for an open gate. Once disembarked, we waited 1 hour and 14 minutes for bags. Horrid!! We had family waiting for us. On return to Seattle we arrived on time but again waited 25 minutes for an open gate on the southern satellite. Bags were more prompt. So, blame the airport for slow bags. Only problem with that is Hawaiian has their own terminal in Honolulu. We shall be staying with Alaska from now on.

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