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. Planes & man power needed on mainland. to get people out of Hawaii back to mainland. It’s a mess and SW needs to do a reset. Sad it means doing this and more. It can’t take on new passengers when it has passengers stranded everywhere. I’m part of being caught in this mess. finally made it into the USA after 4 days delay now rented car to get home. 20 hr drive. grateful for a rental car. 2 luggage pieces are 😞 lost. SW employees are super employees they are working hard. It’s an upper corp issue they do need to be held accountable but Gen staff plz send a woo hoo to them. They are working their butts off even as they too are displaced – some like us with no lodging and they are still helping us. Govt needs to step in to help get people home

    1. I’m sure the execs will reward themselves with huge bonuses and and buy back more stock to increase their bonus while laying off the staff. They actually said anyone calling in sick would be fired that’s how you run a business lol.

  2. Aloha guys – SWA hasn’t “cancelled” those flights. They have stopped selling seats on all flights systemwide until they can clean up the mess. They don’t want people booking seats on flights that might be cancelled the next day. Once they determine what flights CAN be operated, the seats on those flights will be re-opened for sale.

  3. FYI, the FAA says it will investigate Southwest’s high number of cancellations, including the Hawaii flights.
    Thanks for your ongoing coverage of the commercial aviation fiascos with the Islands.

  4. I’m just waiting for the lawsuits against SWA. What a mess. Really? what’s the point of cancelling inter island flights? Terrible move on SWA’s part. Many people I know are stranded all over the country because of SWA and they are having to rent cars and drive hours and days to their final destinations.

  5. I don’t think this is true. While you cannot buy a ticket on a SWA flight, if you already have a ticket, the flights are still flying

  6. I’m assuming they need all possible man power to fix the mess they have with all the current stranded passengers… Is my guess anyway!

  7. Why is SWA doing this? Planes need on mainland? I heard the had big problems on mainland due to weather. Is that Ffecting Hawaii. Weird.

    1. Carolyn SWA operates their inter island flights from the mainland. They are dispatched from a mainland dispatch office with no local knowledge, the airplanes are from mainland flights that have just arrived from the west coast and the crews are from the mainland and only here for a day to fly what can easily be their first time in Hawaii.
      It’s a completely different deal from HA’s full time inter island operation.

      1. Actually, while it is true, that all of the aircraft that do inter island flights also do mainland to Hawaii flights as well, but the way Southwests crew system works, there are many local Hawaii residents who work for Southwest and are able to trade with flight attendants coming from the mainland and work the interisland flights. So there are many local residents working interisland flights. It’s not all mainland personal as you suggest.

        1. Carl, not sure you caught it but I said “could easily be their first time”, not all. But the bottom line is SWA is a remote part time inter island operation whereas HA is a full time highly experienced inter island operation. They are based here, they have spare crews immediately available and have spare airplanes and parts on hand. As the recent Mauna Loa eruption and now this weather event shows, there is a distinct advantage to having a local airline.…and of course when you fly HA you are supporting the Hawaii economy, SWA ticket revenue goes to Dallas.

          1. John , you also said … “and the crews are from the mainland” … which is what my reply was about. There is no argument that Hawaiian has the edge with local bases, more local personnel, etc. I worked for Hawaiian several years ago. I am not knocking Hawaiian, I just think, as a new comer to the islands, Southwest is at least giving options, and some needed competition. Also, Southwest does employ many local residents as ground personnel, and those jobs do benefit the local economy.

      1. Nothing could be further from the truth than that Joe. Safe to say you you are pretty clueless about HA’s balance sheet, Amazon contract in the works or the fact that they were very profitable leading up to Covid. International is their bread and butter and Japan is starting to open up nicely.

        1. Joe, I will say you have done a nice job of highlighting the issue of the SWA supporters that make throwing stones at a Hawaii institution as a means to try to promote themselves. People who love Hawaii don’t take to well to people not from here throwing stones at people from here. Pretty much the opposite of what Aloha is.

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