Updated 5/29/20. Fascinating Southwest Hawaii updates in multiple ways. From these changes, it appears Southwest believed Hawaii tourism would restart July 1. Here’s what was announced yesterday. Did Southwest have information on what the state was about to do? Or, were they being proactive in an attempt to move the government off its dime. We have seen that here already with the island mayors creating policies that later forced the governor’s hand.
That came right before Hawaii’s governor indicated his intention to extend the 14-day isolation period beyond June 30. More to follow on that.
Here’s what we learned in seven bullet points below:
1. As of May 28, Southwest Hawaii flights through the holidays (until January 4) became available for booking. Until this announcement, you could only book travel on Southwest through October 31.
2. Hawaii flights have been restored to their schedule, with services to tentatively resume beginning July 1. That is in concert with what the State of Hawaii has indicated, which is that the 14-day isolation period is now scheduled through June 30. We are awaiting updates from the government and expect that you won’t have to wait much longer to know definitively.
3. Southwest will begin increasing interisland flights starting June 7, thus they appear to be indicating their belief or desire that the 14-day isolation on interisland flights end by then. The company will return to a full volume of inter-island services on July 1.
4. Airlines including Southwest are continuing to modify their presumed travel resumption dates. Please check the airline’s website directly for the latest schedules, as this has been changing daily.
5. From now through June 30, the only Southwest Hawaii flights operating are those deemed “essential flights.” Those are mostly comprised of limited services between Oakland/San Jose and Honolulu/Maui plus some inter-island flights.
6. Remember that through June, a mandatory 14-day isolation is required for all arrivals in Hawaii.
7. The plan for the Boeing 737 MAX fleet’s return to schedule has been updated too. See CEO Gary Kelly’s latest on that below.
Updated Southwest Hawaii routes and frequencies:
OAKLAND: Honolulu (2 daily ongoing); Maui (2 daily starting 7/1); Kona (1 daily starting 7/1); Kauai (1 daily starting 7/1)
SAN JOSE: Honolulu (1 daily ongoing); Maui (1 daily starting 7/1); Kona (1 daily starting 7.1); Lihue (1 daily starting 7/1).
SACRAMENTO: Honolulu (1 daily starting 7/1); Maui (1 daily starting 7/1).
SAN DIEGO: Honolulu (1 daily starting 7/1).
HONOLULU: Oakland (2 daily ongoing); San Jose (1 daily starting 7/1) Sacramento (1 daily starting 7/1); San Diego (1 daily starting 7/1); Interisland: Maui, Kona, Lihue, Hilo (increasing starting June 7 to become 4 daily starting 7/1).
MAUI: Oakland (2 daily starting 7/1); San Jose (1 daily starting 7/1); Sacramento (1 daily starting 7/1); Interisland: Honolulu (increasing to 4 daily starting 7/1), Kona (1 daily starting 7/1).
KONA: Oakland (1 daily starting 7/1); San Jose (1 daily starting 7/1); Interisland: Honolulu (increasing to 4 daily starting 7/1); Maui (1 daily starting 7/1).
KAUAI: Oakland (1 daily starting 7/1); San Jose (1 daily starting 7/1); Interisland: Honolulu (increasing to 4 daily starting 7/1).
HILO: Interisland: Honolulu (increasing to 4 daily starting 7/1).
737 MAX return update. Plus, will Southwest Hawaii expansion ever resume?
At this point, Southwest has canceled the return of 737 MAX on their schedule through August 10, which is about to be extended to fall or beyond. Until those planes return, Southwest will be using 737-800 planes for Hawaii flights.
CEO Gary Kelly said to employees recently, “I’m sure this will cause us to have to take the MAX out of the schedule beyond October 1.
Further Southwest Hawaii expansion remains unsure during these turbulent times. It has also been limited by ongoing grounding of their MAX fleet. That problem too will eventually come to an end, and those planes may return to service later this year or early in 2021.
If and when Hawaii expansion resumes, the following is our list of possible expansion cities, in the order of likelihood: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Burbank, Salt Lake City, Spokane, and Albuquerque.