Sleeping Giant Trail Kauai

Expect Serious New Travel Delays On Kauai State Warns

The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT) and the Hawaii Visitor Bureau (part of HVCB), asked in emails that we advise visitors departing from Kauai Airport (LIH) to arrive two to three hours in advance of their scheduled departures. And that isn’t all of what you should be aware of when transiting Kauai!

TSA added that it is addressing “disruptions with the checked bag screening equipment.” Further details have not been forthcoming. We will be at Lihue airport later today to check on the situation.

When the problems first arose Monday, Hawaiian Airlines indicated what they called a “screening machine malfunction” resulting in some passenger bags not getting on their appropriate flights.

No one seemed to be aware that this was going to be an ongoing problem, and Hawaiian indicated at the time that they did not anticipate any further issues. Based on this morning’s multiple emails received, however, that is simply not the case.

Lihue Airport checked luggage screening equipment is not operating correctly.

The Hawaii DOT said that added time will be required during the passenger check-in process as a result of equipment functioning issues that have thus far not been fully described.

DOT is asking that passengers departing LIH check with their airline first to determine their operating and baggage check-in hours and then plan to get to Lihue 3 hours in advance.

Also be alert for extended traffic to and from Kauai Airport.

One additional thing to remember is that as the summer gets even busier, visitors traveling to (and from) the airport on Kauai need to plan for other unexpected traffic delays.

Recently, for example, we encountered delays between Kapaa and Lihue amounting to more than one additional hour of traffic. Delays between the Poipu Beach area and the airport on Kauai can also vary greatly. On that route, while it is typically less than one-half hour, we and many others recently encountered tree trimming that caused a multi-hour traffic delay making it impossible to catch flights. If you were stuck in either of these, let us know.

We highly suggest checking Maps before starting to drive to be sure you don’t get stuck and miss a flight like we did.

Kauai: 1M annual visitors traveling on country roads.

On any given day, there can be 12k rental cars joining us on the Garden Island. The two areas mentioned above are those where you are most likely to encounter traffic gridlock. The “Kapaa Crawl,” in particular, is the most consistently challenging of those drives.

And while the idea of a bypass road there to help has been in discussion for decades, it isn’t likely to ever happen. Nonetheless, at this time, another study is being proposed that is currently pending funding.

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12 thoughts on “Expect Serious New Travel Delays On Kauai State Warns”

  1. We love that route but haven’t told a single soul since we found out years ago. Please please please do the same or it will become yet another traffic jam!

  2. Our guests are leaving tomorrow but on American. is the above comments applicable to American as well as Hawaiian? Mahalo!

    1. Hi Barbara.

      Yes that impacts all airlines and the alert is still active on their website. We just called HDOT/Airports, are awaiting a callback, and will let you know. Thanks for asking, and for nearly 700 comments!


  3. Kauai has always been our favorite of the HI islands, since our first visit in 1988. Even bought a timeshare in Princeville because we knew we wanted to keep coming back, which we did at least a dozen times. Until last summer, our previous visit to Kauai was in 2013. And while we still feel Kauai is the most beautiful, we are only going to Maui next month…and then, I’m afraid, that will be it for our beloved Hawaiian Islands for the foreseeable future. Between the costs (getting, staying, eating there) and infrastructure issues, we will spend our travel dollars elsewhere.

  4. Go to the mainland and you will realize what an absolute joke hi infrastructure and State run entities are.

    Nice mountains though.

  5. The bag scanners at Lihue Airport are antiques that break down constantly. The DOT needs to purchase new scanners to alleviate this misery.
    One airline had a flight to take off with many passenger bags unloaded in the aircraft. The TSA agents are resentful that they must perform hand checks and go about this task at a snail’s pace.
    They take out their resentment on airline employees by not assisting with loading bags on the scanner rollers to be delivered to the belt. The agents will just stack up the bags near the scanners, it is difficult to know which bags are ready and can be placed on the rollers to be delivered to the aircraft.
    TSA is most unhelpful in this matter, some agents are great, but the majority are just miserable.

  6. I understand why so many are attracted to this beautiful island. Yet, it saddens me so deeply. I can’t help but think of Izzy song over and over when I see these islands, as some say, “loved to death”. …Many are not loving the islands, just enjoying a social media bragging op. I loved the days, when i would take my old trusty camera and have the slides delveloped at home for my own enjoyment and sometimes share and bore my friends. I didnt have to get on social media and say, look at me and look at this where I am. Social media is destroying these islands in paradise….and there will be no coming back. I am in my twilight years of life and was really really sure that I could live my life out enjoying these islands.

  7. The roads on Kauai are an embarrassment to both the county and the state. This issue has been present for at least 35 years and now the county wants to spend taxpayer dollars on another study that they have no plans on ever implementing. Why haven’t the residents revolted?! Let’s just keep on putting up traffic cones is their answer

  8. As a resident of Kauai and someone who is on the one main highway I cannot for the life of me see how or why this tree trimming activity is allowed to happen. These tree trimming activities have resulted in airline flights missed, dr’s appointment missed and add any other appointment let alone arriving to wort on time. It is ridiculous. DOT(dept of transportation ( allows the employees to determine traffic flow. I’ve used my time stuck on the hwy to call the mayor and state DOT!

  9. Back in early May we headed to the airport from the North Shore and took the Kapaa bypass road only to be met with a huge jam on that road as well. Fortunately my brother-in-law was familiar with the “back way” that goes behind Sleeping Giant. save a bit of time and saw some different parts of Kauai that we hadn’t seen before.

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