At least five mainland cities have been left reeling from a pullback in Hawaii flights from coast to coast. Sacramento, for one, is a popular west coast gateway to Hawaii and, until recently, had many nonstop flight options from Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. But no more. Oakland also lost a big Hawaii player last year, while recently expanded Long Beach to Hawaii routes have just contracted. And there’s more.
The situation in the Hawaii airline business has nearly as many twists and turns as does the Road to Hana (600 turns), pictured above. Please give us and the airlines who all read your comments, your feedback below.
Hawaiian Airlines eliminated these routes.
In March, Hawaiian said they would start Oakland to Kona flights this summer. At the time, these were set to operate from June 15 through September 6. On checking today, however, we no longer find any nonstop flights on that route from Hawaiian. The company last tried that route back in 2016.
Once Southwest Airlines leaves the route, Hawaiian will be the only service between Long Beach and Maui.
The route from Orlando to Honolulu will terminate on September 4. The route announced in December 2020 started in March 2021. We suggested that without a strategic alliance, routes such as that are challenging for any airline.
We do believe more changes are afoot in Hawaiian’s route map.
Southwest Hawaii routes terminated: a long list.
We reported last week that the following Southwest Hawaii nonstop routes were all terminated, and there’s even an addition we noted since then, listed below. This is a significant about-face for the airline, which became laser-focused on its Hawaii expansion in the past couple of years.
- Long Beach to Maui
- Los Angeles to Kauai
- Los Angeles to Kona
- Phoenix to Kauai
- Phoenix to Kona
- Sacramento to Kauai
- Sacramento to Kona
- Sacramento to Maui
- San Diego to Kauai
- San Diego to Kona
- San Diego to Maui
At the same time, Southwest decided to jump more squarely into interisland competition with Hawaiian Air.
Alaska Airlines first started pulling back on Hawaii flights during Covid.
Anchorage to Honolulu. Alaska announced in April 2022 that the popular route was suspended from June until November. We do see it returning to their schedule starting November 17. But at that time, it is set to be a seasonal-only route operating until April 1.
Alaska’s contraction started concurrently with Southwest’s arrival in Hawaii, which anyone would have predicted. It began with the elimination of Sacramento to Kona. That once popular flight which commenced in 2018, was terminated in 2020. At about the same time, Alaska pulled Sacramento to Maui.
Oakland to Hawaii flights. Last year Alaska also stopped Hawaii flights from convenient Oakland. That was a route that Beat of Hawaii editors both miss personally. At the time, Alaska moved its focus to San Francisco and San Jose. Southwest Airlines is the driving force at Oakland Airport, including its Hawaii flights. Hawaiian Airlines also serves Oakland.
And your insightful comments about Hawaii routes being canceled.
Lori: I always flew Alaska from San Diego to Hawaii until Southwest came into the market. However after booking a nonstop flight on Southwest to Kauai, only to be rerouted to a connecting flight at the height of the summer when fares were high, having to go backwards to Las Vegas, my usual 5 hour trip became a 12 hour trip. I travel to Maui as well, and now they just pulled those trips too. They have completely lost my business, and I will go back to Alaska. It is not worth losing 2 full days of my trip to travel–I might as well go to Europe! Foolish on their part to not keep at least Maui. Hope the inter island business is enough for them. Can’t imagine any California residents wanting to take a connecting flight.
Don: Southwest is making a mistake and the Kauai, The Big Island, and to a degree Maui will pay the price as no one wants to fly 5 to 6 hours and have to spend another 2 to 3 hours taking another plane to the other islands. Pathetic decision.
Richard: For us who fly out of Sacramento, Southwest entering service to Hawaii has actually cost us several direct flights from other carriers and now they’re dropping their direct flights. Feels like Sacramento has stepped back 20 years in time when it comes to traveling to Hawaii. Hopefully, a carrier like Alaska can reinstate their direct flight to Maui from Sacramento which they dropped after Southwest entered the market.
Amanda: We flew Alaska from Sacramento to Maui many times…flights always seemed full! We were so disappointed when they discontinued that flight. And now SWA!
Charlotte: From this Sacramento customer to Southwest “boo hiss.” No fair Sacramento area customers have to connect in Honolulu or (shudder) drive to a bay area airport. No offense meant to either, but at my age last thing I want is a stressful drive to the airport and/or a tight connection. Or a long layover to avoid a tight connection.
Kelly: I have been on many non-stop flights from SMF to OGG most were full, so why are they doing this?
I will be flying Hawaiian now.
What’s your take on the fast-changing situation?