Hawaii Fails To Make Conde Naste Traveler Popular Destination List

Three Airlines Fast-Chopping Hawaii Routes In Shakeup

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?


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86 thoughts on “Three Airlines Fast-Chopping Hawaii Routes In Shakeup”

  1. I have to say that folks really shouldn’t be surprised by the recent route cuts. When SWA and other ‘Discount’ airlines entered the market and ticket prices dropped, the already thin margin that the airlines operate at was cut even thinner – Displacing or reducing established carriers who chose not to compete in the race to the bottom. Now, if there is any disruption in the market, that thin margin quickly disappears and routes become unprofitable. We all like low-prices but in the end, you get what you pay for. I’d much rather pay a bit more for each flight and have more flights available to choose from with a variety of carriers offering more direct origin & destinations cities to choose from. Slightly higher ticket prices equates to a healthier and more robust environment for everyone to operate in.

  2. Oakland to Kona non stop flights were the best. Loved the Alaska and Hawaiian airlines direct flights.

    Southwest has taken over, to bad.

  3. I traveled to the Big Island 14 times. I loved the laid back relatively uncrowded atmosphere, beautiful and varied scenery, and the friendly locals. I have no interest in the other islands, particularly overdeveloped Oahu. I was delighted my favorite domestic carrier (SVA) was going to go there, but was frustrated by the anticompetitive and politically motivated delays in their getting approval and by their later decision to eliminate mainland flights to Kona. I was concerned their low fares would bring a flood of tacky tourists to that serene place, however- like when the tourist cruises docked at Kona Bay. As it is now, I will likely never visit Hawai’i again, and you will have lost a friendly tourist.

  4. I already made the switch, Hawaii does not welcome tourists like it used to be years ago, they will regret all this pricing folks out of a vacation to the islands. People are looking and finding more beautiful vacation places for cheaper and friendlier. The Bahamas, Jamaica, Tahiti plus the cruise ships offer free air on bookings all inclusive and you can see the world not just Hawaii. Check out Viking cruises or Canada tourism it is Awesome!!!! Sorry we do not trust the airlines any longer when you only have a week vacation and need to get back to the mainland for work. Let Hawaii figure out their problems they created they must solve.

  5. Perhaps you mentioned it in an earlier post, but don’t forget what United has done effective Jan. 2023 — they are eliminating their almost daily Hilo-LAX flight…the one flight that could take Hiloites to the mainland. This is going to have a significant impact for those of us on Hilo side as we will now be forced to drive 2 hours to Kona or to fly inter-island to HNL.

  6. Hawaiian Airlines seems to have recently switched out A330-200 service to A321 aircraft from Sacramento to Oahu. Not sure if this is temporary?


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