Updated 6/20/23. Today we heard from Southwest, and they said, in essence, not so fast. There has been a change of plans for next week’s rollout of flights with overnight connections that will lead to true red-eye flights from Hawaii. This is something many visitors are clamoring for.
Just to say, for those willing and able, an overnight flight will typically extend your vacation by an average of 15% compared with flying back early in the morning. Not only that, but you save one night’s hotel charges, which in Hawaii, well, you get the idea.
Southwest’s Dan Landson told us, “While this was the original date we were planning to offer this service, the work has been delayed slightly and now we’re planning to offer overnight connections as early as later this summer (no firm date at the moment).”
within days sometime soon, Southwest Airlines will make a change that’s been long awaited in Hawaii. Details are forthcoming, but for now, the airline says that this is coming to Hawaii flights. The next updated schedule from Southwest Airlines is due out on June 29, 2023, which should more fully reflect will not yet reflect these changes. So please check back soon when we will have all the details. However, Southwest’s next update will offer flights for sale through March 6, 2024.
New overnight connections lead to overnight Southwest Hawaii flights.
Other airlines’ Hawaii flights include overnight connections and overnight flight options. Those are very popular since they, in essence, extend Hawaii vacations for an additional day. Southwest has been the only airline flying to Hawaii that doesn’t include overnight flights whatsoever.
The airline committed and confirmed to Beat of Hawaii years ago that they would provide both overnight connections and overnight flights and now there’s finally a tangible move in that direction. After that, we await flights that leave in the late evening from Hawaii and arrive on the mainland in the morning.
Previously Southwest had technology issues that prevented these offerings. But while they have been technically able to offer these flights for some time, they have just now decided to start doing so. Hawaii to mainland overnight flights are a high priority for Southwest. The question remains as to how Southwest will add those flights, given that they continue to be plagued by pilot shortages that are likely to go on for the foreseeable future.
First up on the overnight connections offered will be from Honolulu to Houston. A first-time-ever option will be to depart Honolulu at 3:00 pm and arrive in Oakland at 11:16 pm. The connecting flight will depart Oakland at 5:05 am and arrive in Houston at 10:45 am. In the past, two tickets would have been required for each segment when flying overnight. Now both flights can be purchased as one ticket.
Unaccompanied minors will not be permitted on these overnight connections. These new overnight connections will be offered starting on June 26.
Southwest Hawaii cuts seasonal flights later this summer.
Southwest last year started seasonal-only routes to and from Hawaii. That isn’t unusual for them or other airlines. As we previously announced, starting right after Labor Day, on September 5, 2023, Southwest will remove the routes below from their schedule. We do expect them to return in spring 2024, as they did earlier this year. While these are very popular routes, they are also overserved by every airline except one flying to Hawaii, and that’s Alaska Airlines. The competing airlines on these routes are American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United Airlines. That could be one reason for the seasonality.
1. Los Angeles to Kauai. This is an extremely popular route, as are all the routes between Los Angeles and Hawaii. Passengers on Southwest will need to change planes in Honolulu or the US mainland while the route is missing.
2. Los Angeles to Kona. As with the Los Angeles to Kauai route, passengers must change planes when flying Southwest on this route.
When Southwest reduces nonstop Hawaii flights, they prioritize moving passengers on the mainland to other nonstop Hawaii flights rather than using their interisland flights. That may still prognosticate future reductions in Southwest interisland flights, which, given they are still selling flights for $44, would not surprise us. — Beat of Hawaii.
Other Southwest Hawaii routes previously chopped.
The routes below were cut previously, and they now appear to be gone permanently:
Phoenix to Kauai/Kona. Southwest discontinued these popular routes, both to Kona and Kauai. Travelers from Phoenix need to change flights either on the mainland or in Hawaii. Both of those options are offered on the Southwest website. The only remaining nonstop option on those routes is American Airlines, and there may not be enough traffic to warrant competition.
San Diego to Kauai/Kona routes stopped. Nonstop service between San Diego and both Lihue and Kona also ceased operating. As with Phoenix, passengers traveling from San Diego require connecting flights on either the mainland or another island. Nonstop flights are available on Alaska Airlines to both Hawaii airports.