If you love the South Pacific as we do, today’s announcement from Hawaiian Airlines will please you. Today they announced service to the Cook Islands starting in May 2023. The once-weekly flight of 2,941 miles is between Honolulu (HNL) and Rarotonga (RAR); both are in the same time zone. That’s right, no jet lag!
Now visitors from Hawaii and the 15 mainland gateway cities served by Hawaiian Airlines will have a convenient way to visit the Cook Islands. You may recall that Aloha Airlines flew this route previously, as did Hawaiian, between 1987 and 1993.
“We are delighted to grow our South Pacific network by offering our guests access to the Cook Islands, an archipelago that shares Hawai’i’s Polynesian roots and natural beauty. — Peter Ingram, CEO, Hawaiian Airlines.
The Cook Island Prime Minister Mark Brown said, “We look to rebuild our tourism industry and strengthen access to our northern hemisphere markets.”
Tickets to the Cook Islands can be purchased starting December 7.
Look for HA 495, which will depart HNL at 4 PM on Saturdays, arriving in RAR at 10:25 PM the same day. The return flight, HA 496, is set to depart a full 24 hours later, at 11:35 PM on Sundays, arriving in Honolulu at 550 AM on Mondays. That’s a change from the nonstop to Tahiti (Papeete) that returns to Honolulu shortly after arrival.
The flights will be aboard Hawaiian’s narrow-body A321neo aircraft, which, unfortunately, does not feature lie-flat seating in business class. It has 16 business recliners, 45 extra legroom seats, and 128 regular economy seats. Entertainment is via wireless streaming to customer devices, and seats feature USB outlets.