Southwest Airlines is saying aloha to more flights across the Hawaiian islands, beginning in mid-January.
The Dallas-based budget carrier announced last week that it will soon run two new inter-island routes with four departures daily in each direction: one between Honolulu and Hilo, on Hawaii Island, and one between Honolulu and Lihue, on Kauai. There will also be one daily nonstop flight between Kahului, on Maui, and Kona, on Hawaii Island, according to a press release. The fares are now available for bookings from 19 January through 6 March, 2020.
“The people of Hilo that we’ve met have been very vocal in asking for Southwest to serve the Hilo market,” Steven Swan, senior director of strategic planning and airline partnerships for Southwest, told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald. “We believe that we’ve got a phenomenal offering for the people of Hilo, whether they’re flying just to Honolulu or whether they want to connect on to the 90-plus destinations that we have on the mainland as well.”
Southwest is also increasing its options between the mainland and the islands, with new, daily service between Sacramento and Honolulu as well as new nonstop flights from Oakland and San Jose to Kauai and the Big Island.
This expansion more than doubles Southwest’s coverage map in the Pacific. The carrier first introduced service to Hawaii in March, and today, it runs 16 daily inter-island flights and 12 between Hawaii and the mainland; the new offerings bring that total to 34 inter-island flights, and 18 departures from California and the Southwest.
As an added draw, the airline is promising “in-cabin snack enhancements” for its Hawaii routes, and in keeping with Southwest’s other offerings, passengers get two checked bags for free and can change tickets without incurring fees. As president Tom Nealon said in a release, "we're focused on bringing Hawaii an authentically Southwest experience with comfort across all seating—for every customer."