Southwest Cancels All Interisland Flights

Chaos: Southwest Cancels Or Removes All Hawaii and Interisland Flights

If you thought it couldn’t get worse or more confusing for Hawaii visitors and residents in relation to getting stuck traveling over the holidays, think again. It just has. We had a note from regular commenter John, who also pointed out what we can confirm. Southwest interisland flights appear to be either canceled or made unavailable based on information directly from their website.

What’s happening wasn’t entirely clear, and at this time, there was no information from Southwest or on their website in this regard. Undoubtedly they were very busy trying to get things straightened out, which took priority. Southwest removed all flights from sale and actually stopped the vast majority of their flights while they resolved the situation over a period of three days.

Update from visitor stuck on Southwest from Hawaii.

Kelly updated us earlier today, saying, “We just came back from Maui. Our first flight was canceled they let us know after 4 hrs, and they rebooked us on a flight to Oakland at 1:40. That flight was delayed. Finally, at 5:40, all the flights were canceled. The communication was poor, and the terminal was chaos. We had to book ourselves on a United flight that left at 10 pm to SFO. Our travels were over 24 hrs to take a 5-hour flight home. The flight attendants and pilots were also frustrated. Very disappointed in Southwest it would have been better just to cancel in the morning, and we could have enjoyed our day in Maui. They seem to be having system problems with the personnel- they were not communicating with them either! United booked us, and the tickets were less than SWA.”

Thomas, who has still not reconnected with his luggage, added, “Our flight was canceled 4 times, two times in Maui and two times in Oakland which we had for our connecting flight… [We] got home 2 1/2 days later from the start of our first flight. Maui at least got us a hotel. Oakland told us we were out of luck and we had to sleep in the airport. They gave no compensation in Oakland.”

Updated. First, interisland flights through December 30 became unavailable earlier today. Later, so too have all flights to and from the mainland. In addition, Southwest has now seems to have stopped selling tickets systemwide until this mess can be cleaned up.

There is, as expected, a major ripple effect on Hawaiian Airlines interisland flight availability and pricing, as described below.

Canceled, not for sale, or unsure?

Some interisland flights this morning still appear to have been operating. Because information is so sparse as to what is happening at Southwest, it is impossible to determine whether some flights may continue to operate or not. It isn’t clear what Southwest is doing at this point since these flights probably aren’t their biggest problem.

If you are scheduled to fly Southwest interisland or to/from Hawaii this week, there is very little information to rely on.

We’ll update you with more information as soon as we can. In the interim, the safest bet might still be to check FlightAware and check to see if the incoming plane that your flight would use is actually operating.

Southwest cancels Hawaii and interisland flights and/or blocks all reservations through at least December 30

If you have tickets and are hoping to move around Hawaii between now and then, it appears that may not happen. Ironically, Beat of Hawaii editors Jeff and Rob are traveling around the state this week and originally looked at both Southwest and Hawaiian. In the end, we booked Hawaiian mainly due to the schedule of flights. It turned out to be a lucky move at least for this week.

Once we get closer to December 30, we’ll see if Southwest can bring the interisland flying schedule and ticket sales back or if that will come somewhat later in their overall flight restoration planning.

According to the SW website, the list of Southwest interisland flights no longer available includes the following.

  • Honolulu to Maui – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Maui to Honolulu – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Honolulu to Lihue – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Lihue to Honolulu – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Lihue to Maui – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Maui to Lihue – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Honolulu to Hilo – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Hilo to Honolulu – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Maui to Kona – Unavailable at least through 12/30
  • Kona to Maui – Unavailable at least through 12/30

Major impact on Hawaiian Airlines interisland flights.

We are seeing diminishing availability and increasing prices on Hawaiian Airlines flights interisland during this unforeseen mess, as people realize that there’s a good chance of not being able to fly Southwest in Hawaii for the time being.

While there is far more competition on flights to and from Hawaii from airlines including Alaska, American, Delta, Hawaiian and United, that simply isn’t the case here within Hawaii. There are two primary interisland carriers, and those are Hawaiian and Southwest.

Here are some examples of what’s available interisland through December 30 on Hawaiian Airlines. Availability is at the time of publishing, and inventory is likely to disappear quickly.

  • Honolulu to Maui – Available from $39-$164
  • Maui to Honolulu – Available from $39-$164
  • Honolulu to Lihue – Sold out Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday limited $39-$164
  • Lihue to Honolulu – Nearly sold out Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday $39-$164
  • Lihue to Maui – Sold out Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday $95
  • Maui to Lihue – Sold out Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday
  • Honolulu to Hilo – Sold out Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday $49-$95
  • Hilo to Honolulu – Available from $39-$164
  • Maui to Kona – Available from $94-$164
  • Kona to Maui – Available from $39-$164

Examples of interisland flight availability on the Southwest website:

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70 thoughts on “Chaos: Southwest Cancels Or Removes All Hawaii and Interisland Flights”

  1. Combining these inter-island and mainland flight cancellatons with Southwest’s National breakdown and cancellations of their flights, any thoughts I may have had of taking Southwest to any Hawaii destination were permanently cancelled.

  2. This is what happens when management enriches themselves and has no fiduciary responsibility to the company. How’s the dividend working out? Stock buy backs? That’s what it is all about. Firing pilots, the vax bs, there is no accountability. Don’t worry vacation Pete is on it but first he’ll need a break. Take his private jet somewhere so he can think this thru. He really showed them during the summer meltdown.

  3. I know this is a strong opinion, but no proud Hawaiian should fly Southwest! Just like mainland Mesa Airlines subsidiary go! caused Aloha to cease operations, Southwest is seemingly trying to do the same to Hawaiian! Hawaiian is not perfect, but they’re the flag carrier of Hawaii… Do we want history to repeat itself?

    1. No Christian, it’s not a strong position. Hawaii is one of the 50 states.

      I live in California, maybe I should stop flying Hawaiian on my yearly Waikiki vacations and see if there are any California airlines next year.

      Fifty states, one nation.

      1. Rodw, I think his point is similar to how Walmart moves into a small town and undercuts locally run stores, causing them to shut down before Walmart corporate decides the location isn’t profitable enough and shuts it down, leaving the small town with nowhere to shop.

    2. They aren’t Hawaiian. I could start a company’s here is Phoenix called Dakine. Get a P.O. Box in Honolulu. Doesn’t make me hawaiian. You know where the most employees for hawaiian are? Here in Phoenix. Hawaiian Airlines Opens New IT Center in Arizona

      HONOLULU – Hawaiian Airlines today celebrated the opening of an Information Technology Center in Tempe, Ariz., the carrier’s largest office outside its Honolulu headquarters.

      The airline, which has offered daily nonstop flights between Phoenix and Honolulu since 2002, held a Hawaiian blessing to welcome 60 employees to its 15,000-square-foot center. The new space complements Hawaiian’s technical capabilities in Honolulu and enhances the company’s ability to hire IT professionals.

      1. Liam they are the largest non government employer in the state, are headquartered in HNL and the revenue they earn primarily goes to the local economy through the near 7000 employees that work for Hawaiian. Amazing history too, they were flying inter island on Dec 7th, 1941! (Google Ripleys Believe it or not…good story) anyway, sounds like a smart move and strong commitment to IT in Phoenix, unlike one airline I won’t mention!

      2. “They aren’t Hawaiian”

        What is that. They are an American company just as HA is.

        My guess is most of their passengers to Hawaii are mainlanders. Should we stay home?

  4. Mahalo Beat of Hawaii for your updates and all the help you’ve been for thousands of travellers to and from our islands!

    We’ve discussed this Southwest mess ad nauseum.
    Leave it to Southwest to slam their own coffin shut.
    I hope no one ever trusts Southwest with anything ever again.
    This is the most disgusting situation I’ve encountered in my lifetime.
    I do have a question. If the baggage and people can’t be matched, were there any beloved pets on any of those flights??
    I’m really hoping the answer is no.

    Stay safe and blessed guys. You’re the best of the best.

    Aloha Nui Loa 🌺🌺🌺

    1. Hi Pam.

      Great hearing from you. We haven’t heard a word, and it probably wouldn’t be good if we had. Best holiday wishes!


  5. This is the government’s fault! When cancelations and delays started months ago, the Transportation board should of stepped in and started to issue fines to put the airlines in place.
    People are losing time, money and most of all peace of mind to travel.
    The airlines needs to put in there place , have a full review what airlines are doing to the public.


  6. SWA
    And that’s why there is soooo much hate in this world.
    Trickles down the line and effects everyone in different ways. All it takes is 1 airline to cause a huge ruckus in the ripple. Is it because of power? Let’s just push a button and ruin people’s lives.

  7. We want to share both sadness for current situation but also appreciation to Southwest staff for amazing service the last few months allowing us to fly interisland for $39. We are visiting east coast and although we have 3 return tickets (3 different stops) on Southwest – we had to pay for United tickets to get straight home to HNL -taking away our plan to ski in Denver and enjoy New Year’s Eve with friends in California. We lost hotel reservations that can be cancelled. It’s really bad for us but honestly, we want employees of Southwest to know that we’ve been so grateful over the past months for their great service, sense of humor, and to the company allowing people to travel interisland for $39 with 2 bags to see family.

    1. Nalani, while it’s nice to think those $39 fares were a good thing, they came with a steep price. SWA was proudly predatory, introduced an inter island business model that was inefficient, less operationally sound and in fact took from the local economy. Those $39 fares came at the expense of SWA not investing in their infrastructure and doing whatever they could to keep expenses down. All airlines do that, SWA just pushed too far.

      1. SWA was out to hurt HA, the $39 fare didn’t even pay for the fuel! SW thought they were such clever business people but this is what we ended up with – idiots and everyone looses….

        1. $39 dollar fares had absolutely nothing to do with this meltdown. You’re talking about a company that has had 40+ years of continuous profitability. Even through covid and 9-11. Unheard of in any industry, let alone the airlines. Over 8 billion in cash reserves. 8 months of $39 fares are a proverbial drop in the bucket. Those tickets could be free and it wouldn’t have mattered. There is plenty of money. They made a corporate decision Not to spend it on IT. Even after a decade of front line employees warning them.

          1. I never said the $39 predatory fare had anything to do with the meltdown. What it spoke to was the horrible management of a terrible airline. Hawaiian will never stop serving inter-island, so the only purpose of the fare was/is to damage HA. I listened to the Hawaiian Air conference call last quarter, they outlined how SWA $39 did not cover even basic costs. One analyst asked if the FAA should get involved as there was clearly negative motives on the part of SW. BTW the 737 max is not even close to being the right aircraft for these short routes.

            I hope Hawaiian can come out of this in reasonably good shape. And we will see how much of Southwest’s $8B remains after they pay out all the passenger claims they have over the next year..

      2. This ⬆️⬆️ comment is very very true. People: you are going to get what you pay for, one way or the other. It’s unrealistic to expect $39 fares w/a multi million dollar equipment/personnel infrastructure. Something will give eventually. The vitriol towards fair market pricing is confusing….

    2. I am not 100% sure of your circumstances in having to switch to UA to get back home, and miss your stops in Denver and California, and the loss of hotel reservations, but I believe Southwest is reimbursing most, if not all, expenses incurred due to their meltdown this past week. I think it would be well worth any effort you make to file claims with them for reimbursement.

      1. Sandy,

        They may have fare sales as most airlines do. But SWA is not cheap, however they don’t nickel and dime passengers like other airlines.

        Two free checked bags, no charge for carry-on, free switching of flights, no seat fees etc.

        Did they really screw up this time -sure. Will I be using SWA going forward – yes, more than normal. This week one employee was delayed 2.5 hours. Another had her flight canceled- already received the refund.

        We have an employee flying SWA on Jan 10 – just made that reservation last night.

        Don’t get me wrong, SWA has some serious work in the coming days, weeks and months. But this is rally time and I’m all in.

        1. Good on you if you feel loyalty to them Rod….The issue though is the fact that they over expanded without the necessary
          infrastructure to support it. They will have another meltdown if they have too much demand for their product and another unusual event happens.

          1. John,

            If this wasn’t a wake-up call to mgt, then the rats like me will abandon ship.

            I’m afraid, there are too many people who wish them ill because they dared to challenge the local favorite. They and their passengers had a terrible Christmas but they seem to have successfully resumed their regular flight schedule.

            I’m not a regular flier any longer due to health problems. But even though I own a small business we fly all over the country, and even to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. I put employees on SWA as often as possible-no extra charge for baggage, carry-on, seat assignments etc. Fewer pricing hassles.

            But, I really don’t like the seat assignment issue.

            Happy New Year!

          2. It’s not so much that they challenged HA, it’s how they went about it. Their arrival in Hawaii embraced aggressive self interest and some pretty clueless perspectives about the State. How they have conducted themselves since has reinforced that. I guess you could say they well represent the divide in this Country’s political discourse. Their approach to the market is offensive to some and not to others.
            Hauoli Makahiki Ho’u Rod!

          3. John,

            If Customers go elsewhere that wouldn’t help SWA improve.

            They had a bad week. Against over 50 years of disrupting the big boys overcharging customers.

            If next Christmas they have a repeat I will no longer trust them to get my employees where they need to be.


          4. Aloha Rod..the problem is SWA expanded beyond what they were capable of handling when difficulties arose. They don’t have the infrastructure to currently deal with what they have attempted by flying transpacific and inter island. Seems to me the more people that fly them the closer they would get to another implosion. They need to retrench and repair, not try to grow with the current level of IT they have.

          5. Their inter island is another example. It’s a shoestring operation. It’s the first time an inter island operation has been flown like this.. No local dispatch, minimal maintenance support, crews without normal reserve back up and just general inexperience in the market. They are attempting to cherry pick the market without important behind the scenes investments.

  8. Not surprised at all. Southwest cheap rates
    and mismanagement has caught up to them.
    Upper management taking in big money.
    While screwing the Airline crews etc.
    I feel sorry for the customers and employees. But I saw this coming when they started the ridiculously low rates to Hawaii while still expanding on the mainland. Not upgrading their computer systems supporting their employees.
    You reap what you sow. I warned so many that Southwest was due for a crash. A mismanaged company trying to squeeze profits out of a turnip while screwing their employees…Welcome to reality. D DAY has arrived for Southwest.

    1. The Southwest pilots and flight attendants unions warned upper mgt.
      years ago that it’s tech systems were horribly out of date and now this happens.
      Shame on upper mgt. for putting $$ ahead of their customers and employees.
      Your greed has made your airline a worldwide joke that you might never recover from, financially and reputation.
      Quick ? did ex-Disney ceo Bob Chapek and current Southwest ceo Bob Jordan go to the same philosophy of business school ???
      We hope everyone who was treated so badly by Southwest gets every dollar they paid for everything refunded.

      1. Last year the execs gave themselves 120 million in bonuses and paid out 400 million in dividends. No other airline right now is paying dodvisends. They also bought back stock with the 8 billion they received in loans to drive the stock price up so execs could cash those out.

    2. Aloha –
      Do you realize Southwest has 8 Billion dollars in the bank and 40 plus years of consecutive profitability? 8 months of $39 dollar fares means nothing to the bottom line. This was a corporate decision from decades back not to invest in IT. SWA could run free interisland fares for years and not impact profitability one iota.

  9. Here is an example of a company that has expanded beyond the capacity of it’s aging software infrastructure.

    Story has come out that SWA has done little to modernize their reservation and flight crew assignment software. Their old software reached its limits during normal operations and was overwhelmed by the latest weather crisis.

    Weather, flight cancellations and customers overwhelming inquiries caused paralysis’s of the system which made SWA to go to a square one reset of the whole operation.

    1. You have that correct. The SW system is heavily reliant on its computer system with all that 24 hour check in procedures. You’re asking for a system that was designed for 10 to handle hundreds of bits of info and it broke down. It’s going to take SW some time to fix this problem.


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