One small consolation amid burgeoning Hawaii vacation costs is that some airfares will remain suppressed for the foreseeable future due to fierce and unending, multi-faceted competition between Southwest Airlines, bellwether Hawaiian Airlines, and others. But that’s just the beginning of the news, as there’s also a significant shift in Southwest’s Hawaii focus that’s in process. Plus, you won’t find some of Hawaiian Air’s flights on Expedia any longer.
Southwest drops 10 routes. Mainland to Hawaii cut 38% from the peak.
While their flights in Hawaii are expanding, Southwest is cutting back significantly on its flight schedule between the US mainland and Hawaii. They will operate just 23 daily flights, which is down from their previous high of 37 Hawaii flights.
Flights that are canceled include:
- Los Angeles to Kauai
- Los Angeles to Kona
- Phoenix to Kauai
- Phoenix to Kona
- Sacramento to Kauai
- Sacramento to Kona
- Sacramento to Maui
- San Diego to Kauai
- San Diego to Kona
- San Diego to Maui
$39 airfares guaranteed through December or longer.
While Hawaii airfare sales have traditionally been for reasonably short periods and don’t cover holidays and weekends, that has also changed. Here’s what’s going on.
$39 airfares are valid every day on every interisland flight on Southwest Airlines and most days and flights at Hawaiian Airlines. This comes as Southwest adds a ton of new interisland flights and is poised for head-to-head combat with Hawaiian. Southwest’s lineup includes:
- 5 flights a day, each way, from Honolulu to Hilo.
- 6 flights a day, each way, from Honolulu to Kauai.
- 6 flights a day, each way, from Honolulu to Kona.
- 11 flights a day, each way, from Honolulu to Maui.
- 1 flight a day, each way, from Maui to Kauai.
Hawaiian Air joined Southwest in pulling interisland flights from Expedia.
If you ever looked for Hawaiian Air interisland fights on Expedia, don’t bother now. The airline has removed those flights, and the result is you won’t be able to search or book there. Priceline and Booking, however, have struck a marketing deal with Hawaiian, so you will still find Hawaiian Air’s interisland fights there. Southwest also does not permit booking through these online travel agencies. The only Hawaiian interisland flights found will be those that are code-share ones associated with other airlines.
How Southwest Hawaii hones its chops at Hawaiian Airlines.
Southwest’s Executive VP and Chief Commercial Officer Andy Watterson came to Southwest directly from Hawaiian Airlines. He is responsible for Southwest’s network planning, marketing, revenue management, and pricing, among other things. Andy is a large part of the fast-changing Southwest Hawaii plan.
Andy was previously VP of Planning and Revenue Management at Hawaiian. He said recently that Southwest’s goal right now is to get people here in Hawaii to understand Southwest better so that they will choose them for future flights. That says that while Southwest is a strong choice for its California frequent flyers, it is far less true of those of us who live in Hawaii.
Hawaiian Air “to Mahalo Members with Double Hawaiian Miles.”
Hawaiian is taking this competition very seriously. One added thing they’re doing is to offer double Hawaiian miles on every interisland flight through 2022. The only thing here is that getting 200 miles instead of 100 miles only amounts to $1 in additional value based on the traditional one cent per mile. For long-term Hawaiian Air travelers, you will remember that the airline once offered a minimum of 500 miles for interisland flights.