Getting there & away
An increasing number of flights go directly to Kona and Hilo airports, though many flights also route through Honolulu first. Kona is the busier of the two airports, with the bulk of mainland and international flights.
Hilo International Airport (ITO; 935-5707) Off Hwy 11, just under a mile south of the intersection of Hwys 11 and 19.
Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA; 329-3423) On Hwy 19, 7 miles north of Kailua-Kona. For directions to/from the airport, see right.
The major inter-island carrier is Hawaiian Airlines (800-367-5320; www.hawaiianair.com), plus newcomer Go! (888-435-9462; www.iflygo.com). All inter-island flights require a stopover in Honolulu (except one Hawaiian Airlines flight from Kailua-Kona to Maui). Service through Honolulu is regular; each airline has about 10 flights daily from both Hilo and Kailua-Kona. Current fare wars have prices down to $30 to $40 one way.
Another option is Island Air (800-652-6541; www.islandair.com), which offers three to five flights daily from Hilo to Honolulu; specials run at $30, but typically are more like $50 to $65. Island Air is the only carrier that flies between Kailua-Kona and Hilo ($20 one way); a single round-trip daily serves commuters. Most Big Island visitors opt to drive.