Updated 3/4/19. Southwest Hawaii inter-island Flights were announced today and Southwest Hawaii deals are now available.
News from our sources today on just how and when Southwest inter-island flights will roll out. When we met with Southwest Executive VP Andy Watterson last summer, he said that flights would arrive in Hawaii from the mainland on one day, spend the next flying inter-island and then return to the mainland on the third day. In other words, a three day rotation. Andy recently added, “we see that big (inter-island) market with higher price points and it’s short haul, which is what we’re known for.”
1. When will Southwest Hawaii inter-island start? Flights between Honolulu and Maui will be starting by early April, and will be part of the initial roll-out of Southwest Hawaii flights.
2. Inter-island routes and frequency. We’ve seen indication that inter-island will consist of four to eight flight segments per day, at the beginning. Those will start as flights between Honolulu and Maui, and soon thereafter expand to Kona, Lihue, and then Hilo.
3. Inter-island aircraft. Southwest will use their Boeing 737-800 aircraft for inter-island flights. Those accommodate 175 passengers, or approximately 50 more than Hawaiian Airlines‘ 717’s. In their all-economy configuration, Southwest will have 32 inches of seat pitch in a 3×3 configuration, whereas the Hawaiian fleet has 30-31 inches of pitch in a 3×2 configuration. That information according to Seat Guru.
4. What prices do we expect to see? While Southwest Hawaii inter-island may be a minor component in overall competition, it will still be enough of a force to bring prices down significantly. We will go out on a limb and predict best fares on both carriers could drop to the $39 range.
5. Southwest planes are mainland based. There will not be a separate fleet of aircraft for Hawaii inter-island service, either now or in the future. As a result, no separate Hawaii maintenance or crew base should be required.
One concern a mainland based inter-island fleet raises, is that Southwest inter-island flights might have some degree of reduced punctuality. Should a mainland flight be late, which can happen due to a range of issues including weather, winds, etc., that could impact follow-on inter-island flights. That in contrast to Hawaiian’s huge inter-island fleet that is based here in Hawaii. Those of us who live here, and visitors too, rely on that on-time dependability. One way the initial Southwest schedule appears to deal with that potential issue, is to segregate inter-island flights to be on the 2nd day of the rotation only.
6. Southwest Hawaii personnel. Honolulu and Kahului airports are staffed by Southwest employees. At Lihue and Kona, however, staffing will be a mix of a limited number of Southwest employees with the remainder being contracted from local companies. That is similar to what Alaska Airlines does in Hawaii.
7. Is there any issue with 737’s flying short hop Hawaii inter-island flights? In a nutshell, 737 can easily fly inter-island, it just can’t do it all day, every day, the way the Hawaiian 717 fleet can. This relates to addition engine stress created by these rapid short cycles, especially in our island weather conditions. When we asked Southwest about it last year, they stated emphatically that flying inter-island flights will not be any problem for the 737 fleet. Period. And that’s how we understand it too.
See our latest updates on Southwest Hawaii flights.
when will the direct flights from SAN to HNL be available?
Belinda J says
I’m trying to get a ticket from kona, hawaii to Honolulu , hawaii in june ….
Conrad D says
Southwest will be a most welcomed competitor and hopefully a permanent one!!! The bully on the block has skinned the hawaii residents for too long! Now I can visit where I grew up on the big island … Often and still enjoy spending my money! Aloha and mahalo southwest airlines!!! Conrad
Absolutely! Ever since Aloha went away, Hawaiian gouged us with steep increases in airfare & started charging for checked bags! SWA will gain a lot of customers because of the 2 free checked bags. I hope SWA doesn’t get forced out by political pressure like the way we lost the Superferry which affected Hawaiian, Young Brothers, car rental & parking lots!
Totally Agree! Hawaiian Airlines has increased their prices significantly since the shut down of Aloha. I’m glad to see another competitor here in the islands. It won’t break the bank to visit our family on another island.
Laura B says
I am trying to book flights from Sacramento to Honolulu-when can I expect to see this? Only seeing Oakland
$49 each way oak – hnl
Grammy E says
When will Southwest fly from Los Angeles to
We have flown on Hawaiian for many years and enjoy the service they provide. I look forward to Southwest joining the field of flying in Hawaii. I’m sure there will be some start-up problems, but I’m sure they will be corrected and the competition is a good thing to give us choices. There’s a lot of room for more flights and more choices in this industry. Welcome to Southwest, I’m sure both airlines will still be profitable, and locals can visit family more frequently with affordable air fares.
To Stephen (Feb 21st)… you sound like another airline’s shill trying to create doubt in SWA service. That’s sad. Another viable carrier is long overdue here. SWA entering will humble Hawaiian and the others quick. Thankfully.
Beat of Hawaii says
We don’t know Stephen so can’t comment directly on him. We believe, however, that a fair number of website comments are emanating from individuals who have an agenda. That just seems to be the nature of online reviews, whether they be here, on TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. If they aren’t egregious, we don’t delete them. And luckily, they are fairly easy to spot in most cases.
We went thru the same thing with the super ferry. Groups were paid to protest it. Hawaii is controlled by a few and they don’t like change. They try anything to stop it. To 5 plus years to get gas at Costco Maui.
Doug S says
I work for NO OTHER Airline and infact recently retired running a $300M travel program, I can absolutely tell you planes coming into an area (Hawaii or ANY place else) will be subject to delays that LOCALLY based aircraft will NOT be subject to. I would gladly try Southwest (WN) inter island, but would be FULLY AWARE they arrive from long haul destinations. Fog in OAK Airport area WOULD DELAY your flight!!…..
Dear Best of Hawaii, Thank you for your updates on Southwest Airlines delayed service to our beautiful state. Just wondering if they are rethinking their service. Please try to get something out of them. I know their stock is way down and their mechanics are mad. Goldman Sachs downgraded them to a sell rating yesterday. And their Instagram account is lit up like a Christmas tree today when they cancelled over 700 flights with no rule 240 accommodations for their customers. It seems like they have bigger fish to fry right now to try to get their customer service upgraded. Mahalo and Aloha for your service to our Staye
Is there Hilo flights?
Donald E says
Southwest started as a short hop airline from HOU to DAL in the beginning. They currently do a lot of flying short hops from Houston to Corpus, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. I’m not sure why that would be much different than from HNL to KOA, LIH, or OGG.
It will be a lot different since they do not have an aircraft/pilot base in Hawaii.