Good news from Southwest Airlines, as the airline has officially announced it will fly to four Hawaiian islands when it launches nonstop service from the U.S. later this year or in early 2019. Southwest confirmed Thursday it will eventually fly to Honolulu (HNL), Kahului (OGG), Lihue (LIH) and Kona (KOA).
The details of which cities will fly to Hawaii and when each route will launch are still in the works, but it’s a welcome development to the service Southwest first announced last year.
Southwest started laying the groundwork in October 2017 by confirming its long-rumored plan to begin nonstop flights to the Hawaiian islands. The entry of the budget-friendly market could bring some much-needed competition to one of the United States’ hottest tourist destinations.
It’s still unclear what cities will fly to any of the four airports Southwest is targeting. However, it’s a safe bet that nonstop service will begin from the West Coast, likely starting with California.
Of course, flyers all over the country could connect in California, Washington or Oregon for the flight to Hawaii. Phoenix and Las Vegas could be in the mix, too.
By eventually flying into Honolulu (HNL), Kahului (OGG), Lihue (LIH) and Kona (KOA), Southwest will have a presence at all of Hawaii’s major airports. Just which airport will get Southwest’s first flight remains to be seen, but CEO Gary Kelly has said the airline plans to “ramp up pretty rapidly” to all four destinations.
Kelly said tickets will go on sale sometime later this year, and that flights will begin sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. That will answer the biggest outstanding question about these routes: What will the price be?
Southwest will eventually fly brand new Boeing 737 MAX planes on these Hawaii flights, as they have a greater range to make the overwater flight. But the airline will start off service with some older 787-800s.
Southwest is going to soon be a great option for getting to Hawaii on an award ticket. Keep in mind, Southwest Airlines is a 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. Chase Ultimate Rewards can be earned from credit cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Further, the co-branded Southwest credit cards are also a great option for earning Southwest Rapid Rewards points and a great way to earn the Southwest Companion Pass.
If you can get approved for a Chase Southwest business card, you will still have an easy path to the Companion Pass.
Details keep trickling out as Southwest prepares to shake up the US-Hawaii market. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about the start of this exciting service.