If you wonder what happened to those $49 to $99 cheap flights to Hawaii, here’s the answer. But first, there are still great Hawaii deals to be found. Last week, for example, we posted a peak summer Hawaii airfare war with tickets at nearly 50% off. And next, watch for fall Hawaii airfare sales, as those are just getting ready to break out. Plus more summer deals. And, regarding Southwest, Hawaii airfares now start at $159 each way to and from the islands, with better prices ahead. Lastly, Hawaiian will compete vigorously with them on all routes.
So when will the $49 to $99 introductory airfares return?
It all comes down to the seemingly unrelated Boeing Max aircraft grounded on March 13. That following two deadly crashes (not SWA) that took place on October 29, 2018 and March 10, 2019. That grounding remains in effect as of today, and there is no clear indication of when Max planes will return to the skies. Southwest has suspended its 34 Max aircraft from schedule through August 5. It is possible that date will again be extended.
Southwest started out with $49 airfares.
Back in March, Southwest Hawaii flights were announced from Oakland and San Jose to both Honolulu, Maui and Kona. Those flights are now operating. With that introduction came $49, $79 and $99 introductory Southwest Hawaii deals that were scooped up within hours.
There was no fare war as a result of those Southwest announcements. They were just too short-lived for the other airlines to have the time or need to retaliate. We have however sees some reduced fares on those specific routes. Thereafter another one-day round of $99 Southwest Hawaii deals followed on those routes. We wouldn’t be surprised to see those fares resume for fall travel at some point soon.
Southwest was poised to announce flights from San Diego, and Sacramento next, together with flights to Kauai. That would included more introductory airfares, and Hawaii airfare wars. But those announcements have not materialized.
Why have we been waiting since March for more announcements and introductory deals?
The reason for that is that Southwest needed to redeploy aircraft in order to make up for these grounded planes. Even with that redeployment, thousands of flights have had to be cancelled, and this has spiraled into an out of control customer relations nightmare. Therefore, adding more Hawaii routes, when you can’t fulfill existing route obligations, made no sense.
What is going to happen next, and when.
When Max planes can return to service, and a definite date is set, Southwest will add the now long-awaited additional routes to their Hawaii schedule. The big question is when could that happen. We aren’t hearing anything conclusive, and the earliest possible time frame being thrown around recently is fall 2019. Until that return to service occurs, we do expect to see more Hawaii flights announced by Southwest in rapid order.
Importance of Max planes to Hawaii flights.
Max planes are the future fleet for Southwest Hawaii flights. While the company is only certified for and uses Boeing 737-800 aircraft for Hawaii, it has always been their intention to convert Hawaii service to the new fleet when feasible.
Cheap flights to Hawaii are still to be found.
Remember that the incredible airfares we saw with the introduction of Southwest Hawaii flights are just on hold “temporarily.” There are still, however, other deals to be found. Watch for more great deals as soon as this week, for summer and fall travel. Stay tuned.