It was years in the making, but it's finally a reality: Southwest Airlines has officially started nonstop flights to Hawaii.
The airline's first flight to Hawaii took off and landed Sunday, flying from Oakland (OAK) to Honolulu (HNL). It caps a rollercoaster ride for Southwest to begin this service to the tropical paradise.
Southwest first announced its plans to start flying to Hawaii way back in the spring of 2017. But it needed to get its planes certified to make the long flight across the Pacific Ocean, and the longest government shutdown in U.S. history put that on pause. Finally, the airline started selling tickets earlier this month – with fares as low as $49 one-way to start.
The first of Southwest's Hawaii-bound passengers landed at about 2 p.m. local time on Sunday.
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) March 18, 2019
The flight from Oakland (OAK) to Honolulu (HNL) is the first of Southwest's many expected routes to the Hawaiian islands.
The airline will launch flights from OAK to Maui (OGG) beginning April 7. Next up are flights between San Jose (SJC) to HNL starting May 5, followed by SJC to OGG on May 26. Southwest will also launch connecting flights between HNL and Kona (KOA) May 12. Check out Southwest's dedicated page for Hawaii flights for more details.
It's part of an aggressive buildup of nonstop flights that are expected to eventually connect much of the West Coast to all four Hawaiian islands. While that may be bad news for Midwestern and East Coast-based travelers, you can still connect to one of Southwest's California gateways to hop on a flight to Hawaii. Just beware that it may require a long layover to do so.
This was long overdue, but we're glad it's here. More flights to Hawaii = more competition, which should mean cheaper prices. And whether you're itching to fly Southwest or not, I think we can all get behind that.