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Southwest Airlines: Good Or Bad For Hawaii?

Amid Hawaii’s travel storm sits latecomer Southwest Airlines. A look at the pros and cons of their curious presence in Hawaii.

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64 thoughts on “Southwest Airlines: Good Or Bad For Hawaii?”

  1. I agree that Hawaii tourism is unmanageable. For both residents/businesses and the tourists themselves. I’m not sure it’s legal but maybe a limit on daily visitors to Hawaii rather than the unlimited amount only limited by number of seats and flights. This would benefit the tourist in that they wouldn’t have to be fighting others for seats at a restaurant or seats on a boat or having to make reservations a year in advance. Then perhaps the locals would not have such negative feelings toward tourists because they’ve been overrun by them.

  2. I have been to Hawaii many times, & yes it was expensive, but now it is super expensive. But the grocery prices are out of control. I am spending 32 days here, I don’t think I’ll be back. There are other places where my money will go further. Sorry, but you have priced regular people out of this market.

  3. Southwest Airlines has two incredible things going for it! The first one is that you can cancel at the last minute and with Covid and all the other stuff going on that’s important for my family. Secondly, you get two free bags which we can load up with souvenirs bought with all that money we’ve saved! Thank you BOH for all of the information you provided all of us!

  4. To heck with Hawaiian Air, I’ll fly Southwest over Hawaiian all day long. Hawaiian has used inter-island fees to pad their other flights and have ripped off the state residence for a long time.

  5. My trick to flying on SWA to Hawaii is to have one person book all those going. We have a family of six so by doing that we all fly on one confirmation number. When confirming 24hrs before departure we get assigned our six positions together. IE: A 16 thru 22. It has worked for the last eight times leaving out of Vegas.

  6. My wife and I are older and have no interest in unassigned seating
    so we will never fly SW. We are long time loyal HA customers.
    Competitive capitalism is a mixed bag both good and bad.
    Right now there are short term benefits which may later become long term negatives.

  7. A decade or more ago, my wife wanted to go to Kauai. We looked at all of the options and schedules, but we would have had to change planes at HNL. Hawaiian wanted as much to go from HNL to Kauai as they did to go to HNL from the west coast.

    I Love Hawaiian. Great service. However, they brought this on themselves. I don’t feel sorry for them. Now, they need to adjust how they do business to keep up with the competition. This keeps things fresh for the consumer. Offer a better product at a competitive price and the consumer will choose you. Southwest offers free checked bags, while Hawaiian, Alaska, all the others, have their hand out. I’m retired. Pinching pennies is my new job. I don’t think I’m alone in that.

  8. I will never again fly SW Airlines. They cancel flights with zero warning, nor rhyme nor reason (threatened pilot strike… Not stated… My K.C. to PHX planned trip 2021), lately the Mauna Loa eruption which affected nothing in Hilo’s airspace and other airlines continued on… Most recently their Christmas 2022 fiasco). SWA is a cattle-car / folks fighting for every seat. I want to choose my own seat in advance, Thanks.
    Now SWA seems to want to drive others (HAL) into bankruptcy, like Mesa airlines (aka Go Airlines) did to Aloha Airlines… making HAL lose $100 Million last year.

  9. Aloha! This is our first flight, out of about 10 visits, that we’ll use Southwest. They offered the better flight price at the time I purchased. I think the highest we’ve paid, one time, was about $198 each way. I usually pay closer to $135 each way, & that’s when we’ve used Delta, Hawaiian, Alaska, American, & the first flight on Aloha @ $125 each way. In all we’ve only has one terribly long flight, on Hawaiian when we had to fly around a storm. I’m a thrifty flyer so we can enjoy what the island offers. Aloha!

  10. I talked with Amanda Hawaiian Airlines employee about Southwest coming to the islands. They were unconcerned because Hawaiian didn’t need to compete with southwest. We were paying $300-$500 to fly to Oahu from Sacraments. We counted down the day till Southwest came to Oahu. Hawaiian made the mistake of thinking they didn’t need to be competitive. It’s the same old store p. Do Hawaiian executes know how much a gallon of milk costs or a dozen eggs? I don’t know—just my opinion.

  11. As a regular, decades long annual visitor, I was happy to see SWA offer strong competition to the always overpriced Hawaiian Airlines.

    1. Totally agree. If Southwest wasn’t here, the locals would be screwed. Hawaiian would be overcharging us right now. Look, they drove Island Air out of business, then shafted the people of Molokai and Lanai. What’s all the crying about? Southwest is here, and Southwest is good for the people of Hawaii period!

  12. $39 fares are not sustainable. The airlines know this. SW has large pockets and has the ability to wait out and watch HA go bankrupt.
    At that point, SW would rid the island of non-sustainable $39 fares.
    SW does not offer a product that interests me. One class flying blows IMHO. I like what HA offers. Their frequent flyer program allows me to get free upgrades and make offers for upgraded travel.
    SW will never offer the flying experience that I like.
    Competition is good in a free market economy, but predatory competition is not good for anyone.
    Thank you, Gentlemen

  13. I believe a more significant way to look at the lower fair, visitor, is by spending less on travel, we can put those dollars into the Hawaiian economy, during our stay. We can enjoy more of the beautiful sights Hawaii has to offer! It is our favorite destination!

  14. Bottom line: Southwest permits travel without being overcharged for inter island fares. Hawaiian Air cheated us for years without inter island competition. SWA did not bring more people. People come because they choose to. Overall, real estate interests in the islands consistently expand and build. Citizens of Hawaii have control over expansion or the lack thereof. Blaming SWA for more travelers is obtuse thinking. The airlines do not create the travel demand but merely react to the opportunities.

  15. If it wasn’t for Southwest, my family would rarely get to any of the Hawaiian islands. We love spending our money in Hawaii and love the people there and with competitive pricing, we can visit more often.

  16. Why is someone creating a controversy about normal economics, capitalism at its best. Who ever put forth this is ignoring the other players in the game american, delta and alaska. Granted they don’t do inter island but didn’t Hawaiian drive out Aloha Airlines? If you really need to worry about a true monopoly look at HECO as they have most of the islands.

    1. SW is a budget airline without budget prices. Their mainland flights are just as expensive as any other airline but you get poor to nothing service. They’re out of their league being it’s the longest route they fly and it shows. Always dirty bathrooms, that they don’t require the flight attendants to upkeep. (I know becuase I asked SW directly) A nightmare of an experience boarding even if you purchase their business class. SW needs to reimagine thier future in Hawaii. And the people of Hawaii need to realize SW will just choke out the decent airlines and we’ll be stuck paying more for less! Loose money on SW!!Alaska, United, American and Hawaiian offer more value than SW will ever have as a ‘budget’ airline. Please spend your money wisely

    2. GO! did predatory pricing and drive out Aloha, not Hawaiian. Hawaiian actually won $50 million from Mesa airlines, GO!’s parent company.

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