Summer airfare peaks for Southwest Hawaii service as some routes get tossed. The company made some not-so-pleasing changes to its flight schedule, which runs through November 4. There continue to be more changes while Southwest tries to find the optimal fit in Hawaii across its mainland and interisland routes.
Big price increases have finally arrived at Southwest Hawaii.
We were shocked when checking fares on Southwest between Lihue and Phoenix in early August, to the tune of $650 round trip. We also priced Los Angeles in July at $600+ roundtrip from Kauai. Until now, Southwest and its “Southwest Effect” have had a pleasantly moderating effect. at least so far as Hawaii airfares are concerned. But for this summer, and unquestionably going forward, the prices are up, way up. It has been years since we’ve seen Hawaii airfare so high.
Last summer, as airlines clawed their way back, the same routes were operating in the $99 to $119 range. That while in December, Phoenix was just $129.
These popular Southwest Hawaii routes were just cut.
Starting right after Labor Day, on September 5, 2023, Southwest will eliminate the following routes. The issue is that they are also served by almost every airline flying to Hawaii. That includes American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United. Alaska Airlines is the only other carrier to skip the free for all competition.
1. Los Angeles to Kauai. This is an extremely popular route. Passengers flying Southwest on this route must change planes in Honolulu or on the mainland.
2. Los Angeles to Kona. This is the same situation as with Kauai, wherein passengers must change planes to fly Southwest on this route.
We note that here’s what happens when Southwest reduces nonstop Hawaii flights in some instances. The company moves passengers on the mainland to other nonstop Hawaii flights as an alternative instead of using their interisland flights. That might prognosticate less reliance on and a future reduction of interisland flights, which would not surprise us. — Beat of Hawaii.
Seven more Southwest Hawaii routes were chopped in the last round of cuts.
With the routes below, which were cut last year, we weren’t sure if they might be returning on a seasonal basis. But at least at this time, they appear to be gone permanently.
Phoenix to Kauai/Kona routes canceled. Southwest stopped two popular routes, between Phoenix and both Kona and Kauai. Since then, travelers to and from Phoenix must transit via Honolulu or Maui. That left American Airlines offering nonstop flights to Kona and Lihue from Phoenix, and dare we say they are expensive.
San Diego to Kauai/Kona routes were eliminated. Nonstop service between San Diego and both Lihue and Kona also stopped operating. As with Phoenix, passengers traveling from San Diego require connecting flights via Maui or San Diego. Nonstop flights are available on Alaska Airlines to both Hawaii airports.
Sacramento to Kona and Lihue routes were eliminated. We thought these two routes might have a chance of returning, but in the end, they did not. No other airline is operating nonstop flights on these Sacramento routes.
Long Beach to Maui was canceled then restored. Southwest also has the popular nonstop flights between Long Beach and Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines continues to also fly between Honolulu and Maui.