Testing requirements be damned, mainlanders are eager to get back to Hawaii. And Southwest Airlines is ready to help them get there with a Thursday announcement of a massive expansion of its routes out to the islands starting within the next month.
Two years after starting its first flights to Hawaii from several of its California hubs, Southwest is adding new service from Los Angeles (LAX) as well as its first cities outside the Golden State: Las Vegas (LAS) and Phoenix (PHX). The first flights from all three new outposts are set to begin in early June. By summer's end, you'll be able to fly Southwest nonstop to all the major Hawaiian islands.
At the same time, Southwest is adding even more flights to Hawaii from San Diego (SAN), Oakland (OAK), and San Jose (SJC). Keep reading for the full list of new routes.
It all adds up to a drastic increase in flights as more people flock to Hawaii this spring and summer. And the benefits of those new flights will extend beyond residents of Phoenix or Las Vegas: New routes from Arizona and Nevada will make it much easier for Midwesterners to connect and fly Southwest to the islands. With service so concentrated in California, the timing of connections made that nearly impossible for years.
“We're building on an era of affordability that Southwest initiated for Hawaii air travel. These new flights bring Hawaii service closer to more of our customers who live near airports across the West, and make it possible to choose Southwest to fly between the Aloha State and cities as far east as Nashville, without spending an entire overnight in the air,” Andrew Watterson, Southwest's chief commercial officer and executive vice president, said in a statement.
New flights went on sale Thursday, with fares as low as $99 each way. The Southwest flight schedule is currently bookable through Nov. 5, 2021.
Read our guide to using the Southwest low fare calendar to find the best deal!
While they've loosened since opening last fall, Hawaii travel restrictions still require all visitors to present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before their flight to the islands. Hawaiian officials are pushing to accept proof-of-vaccination in place of testing requirements as soon as this summer, but that's not in place yet.
Here's a look at all the new Southwest routes to Hawaii.
Los Angeles to Hawaii Flights
- Flights to Honolulu (HNL) start June 6 with daily service, which increases to two daily flights on June 27.
- Flights to Maui (OGG) commence June 6, with three flights a day.
- Flights to Kona (KOA) begin June 27, with one flight a day.
- Flights to Kauai (LIH) kick off June 27, with one daily flight.
Las Vegas to Hawaii Flights
- Flights to Honolulu (HNL) begin June 6 with daily service.
- Flights to Maui (OGG) commence June 27, with two flights a day.
- Flights to Kona (KOA) begin Sept. 7, with one flight a day (but initially just four flights weekly).
- Flights to Kauai (LIH) kick off Sept. 8, with one daily flight (but just three flights a week to start).
Phoenix to Hawaii Flights
- Flights to Honolulu (HNL) begin June 27 with two flights a day
- Flights to Maui (OGG) commence June 27, with one daily flight.
- Flights to Kona (KOA) begin Sept. 7, with one flight a day (but initially just three flights weekly).
- Flights to Kauai (LIH) kick off Sept. 7, with one daily flight (but just four flights a week to start).
More California Flights to Hawaii
- Southwest is doubling its flights from San Diego (SAN) to Honolulu (HNL), starting twice-a-day flights as of June 6.
- The airline is also adding nonstop service from San Diego (SAN) to Maui (OGG) with one flight a day starting June 6 and two daily flights as of June 27. San Diego will also get nonstop daily flights to both Kona (KOA) and Kauai (LIH) on June 27 and June 29, respectively.
- Southwest will also add more daily flights between San Jose (SJC) and Maui (OGG), Long Beach (LGB) and Honolulu (HNL), and Oakland (OAK) and Honolulu (HNL).
The race to Hawaii is on. After some initial confusion about the constantly changing entry requirements, Americans on the mainland are clearly ready to head back to the beach. Case in point: Hawaii's visitor numbers nearly doubled from February to March 2021, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Southwest sees that. And with the woes of the pandemic and Boeing 737 Max issues largely behind them, they're finally ready to send more planes to Hawaii.