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Hawaii Update: Southwest, Allegiant and Alaska Air

Three carriers are poised for game-changing Hawaii airline services that could change the face of Hawaii airfare deals. Here’s the latest news.

It seems no one wants to dive into Hawaii’s shallow air transport swimming pool, head-first. Fearing that Hawaiian waters may not support a major commitment at this time, both Southwest and Allegiant continue to hedge bets. Each is posturing somewhat differently, but in the end, they’re both saying the same thing. We can come to Hawaii, but just how much we want to do so remains contingent of fast-changing market conditions.

Southwest Airlines

When will Southwest start serving Hawaii?

“No telling”  –Gary Kelly, Southwest Airlines CEO

“The carrier is preparing to take delivery of 175 seat, Hawaii-capable 737’s starting early next year. Last December Southwest gave every indication that they would be jumping into the aloha frey wholeheartedly. Then came this quote, from their CEO at the end of August. Now it’s anyone’s guess when they will serve Hawaii, and exactly what their ultimate plans will entail. Southwest also has an abundance of Boeing 717’s on hand, so don’t rule out the possibility of inter-island services from Southwest quite yet.


allegiant air hawaii
SWA’s Gary Kelly wasn’t the only airline exec speaking recently. Allegiant President Andrew Levy recommitted his company’s plans to serve Hawaii in a September SEC filing.

Here’s what’s going on at Allegiant:

  • Have contracts for 6 757-200’s. Four are purchased and two more will be added by year end.
  • 3 of 4 aircraft are on lease to European operators (as we reported previously).
  • 1 757 is currently flying on the Mainland to and from Las Vegas.

Do I buy their Hawaii plans? Well not completely. I think that Allegiant’s real decision on Hawaii has yet to be made and will be directly contingent on what Southwest and Alaska do first. They may still come to Hawaii, although I personally wouldn’t bet on it.


Alaska is the only one of the three that currently flies here. The Hawaii market has been working reasonably well for them so far, with only limited competition. They’re butting heads primarily with Hawaiian Air, which has its future largely pinned in another direction, Asia Pacific expansion.

Alaska has flights to all major islands from the Pacific Northwest and the San Francisco Bay Area. They’d ideally like to expand their services, perhaps to include Orange County and Burbank, plus central California. They are another carrier that has the ability to offer inter-island service using the expertise and equipment of their Horizon Air division.

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5 thoughts on “Hawaii Update: Southwest, Allegiant and Alaska Air”

  1. I worked for an inter-island company that went down in 2008 for about 5 years which I ‘m sure you’ve probably know by now. I enjoy working with people and I was crushed to see the company fold. I personally feel we need to have a resonable competitve airline company to give our current inter-island carrier competion. I currently keep up with the latest on-line stats on when SW, Alliegiant will come to the islands. Should these Airline carries come to the islands I would like to be a part of the family team and work for them.

  2. Any chance Alaska will offer discount fares from the East Coast (Boston)? We’d like to visit next summer (2012) but there hasn’t really been a lot of discounting by any of the airlines recently for EC to Hawaii.
    Southwest is in the midst of acquiring Air Tran (large fleet of 717’s) so maybe that’s what slowing them down. Sure hope they do decide on “taking the plunge”, it’s a great airline with good price structure. We’ve flown both SW and AT, the latest being AT this summer RT Boston-SF via Milwaukee and it was hassle free.

    1. Hi Larry.

      You’re definitely right about Air Tran being one of SWA’s obstacles.

      If you’re planning on coming from mid-June through mid-August, then discounting isn’t likely. Outside of those dates there may well be deals.



  3. Can we expect to see $330 RT fares like we got for flying last May from LAS to OGG? We want to go in April 2012 – when will the deals start being offered for that time??

    1. Hi Phil.

      Yes, I think we’ll see plenty more fare sales to Hawaii. Las Vegas should be on the list. Keep a eye out, as will I.



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