As of today, Southwest Hawaii has increased its presence in the islands even further. Coming at this time, that’s more indication than ever of their determination to be a major factor in Hawaii travel, both now and in the future. See the most recent updates in five bullet points and their updated Hawaii flight schedule below.
1. Southwest Hawaii flights from Long Beach to Maui were just announced today. This is their second route from Long Beach. Both of these routes compete directly with Hawaiian Airlines’ flights, which will keep downward pressure on pricing not only from Long Beach but from all of Southern California.
2. Remaining Southwest Hawaii flights have all resumed except for Kauai, which only has Southwest interisland service at this time. That is due to Kauai’s travel limitations which include a resort bubble option. See details of their complete flight schedule below.
3. Travel on Southwest to Hawaii and elsewhere can now be booked through August 16, 2021. We don’t have a date yet for their next scheduled release for travel later in 2021.
4. Southwest and other airlines are no longer blocking middle seats. Southwest indicated it will advise passengers 2 to 3 days in advance if their flight is likely to be at least 65% full. The airline says that based on availability, passengers can change flights within 3 days of their original flight at no cost. Also, unlike every other airline, note that Southwest does not permit passengers to buy the extra middle seat.
5. 737 MAX returns. As indicated earlier this week, the problematic planes are close to returning to the skies. We expect Southwest to be the first airline to use the planes for regular Hawaii passenger service, probably as soon as this spring. We will keep you updated on that.
Latest Southwest Hawaii routes and frequencies:
LONG BEACH: Honolulu (1 daily starting March 11). Maui (1 daily starting March 11) Priced from $99 each way.
OAKLAND: Honolulu (2 daily); Maui (2 daily); Kona (1 daily); Kauai (1 daily – on hold).
SAN JOSE: Honolulu (2 daily); Maui (2 daily); Kona (1 daily); Kauai (1 daily – on hold).
SACRAMENTO: Honolulu (1 daily). Maui (1 daily).
SAN DIEGO: Honolulu (1 daily).
HONOLULU: Oakland (2 daily); San Jose (2 daily) Sacramento (1 daily); San Diego (1 daily); Interisland: Maui, Kona, Kauai (2 daily), Hilo (up to 4 daily).
MAUI: Oakland (2 daily); San Jose (2 daily); Sacramento (1 daily) Interisland: Honolulu (4 daily), Kona (1 daily).
KONA: Oakland (1 daily); San Jose (1 daily); Interisland: Honolulu (4 daily); Maui (1 daily).
KAUAI: Oakland (1 daily – on hold); San Jose (1 daily – on hold); Interisland: Honolulu (2 daily).
HILO: Interisland: Honolulu (3 daily).
737 MAX returns. How to check to see if you’re on one.
See the latest details of the MAX planes return to Hawaii. The company has 34 MAX 8 that planes in its fleet with another 245 coming. Until further notice, Southwest Hawaii flights are all on 737-800 planes.
From our Max update earlier this week, “To determine if your Southwest Hawaii flight will be onboard a MAX, here’s what to check. Go into the booking process and select the flight. Once flights are selected, you will be shown flight numbers. Those are clickable. When you check, the aircraft type will be listed. At this time, it doesn’t appear that MAX flights are being shown. However, the website says, “Boeing 737-MAX8 Aircraft are currently grounded by the FAA (that’s obviously old language that hasn’t been updated). Until the MAX8 aircraft returns to service, Southwest plans to operate MAX8 flights with a different aircraft type. Flight schedules and aircraft type remain subject to change per the Contract of Carriage.”
Until then, Southwest will continue using 737-800 planes for Hawaii flights.
Will Southwest Hawaii expand further?
Southwest Hawaii expansion beyond today’s routes remains unsure. The latest expansion to Long Beach, however, is a good indication that they plan to keep it going. If and when expansion resumes, the following is our list of possible expansion cities, in the order of likelihood.
Salt Lake City
Note that we have moved Los Angeles out of the list as it now doubtful, while Orange County has been removed and isn’t going to happen at all.
See all rules about traveling to Hawaii during COVID.
Please refer to our guide to Hawaii travel during covid.
Photo credit: SWA.