Roughly 99% of visitors to Hawaii arrive by air. Hawaii's major interisland carrier – reliable Hawaiian Airlines – offers frequent interisland flights in jet planes, as well as turboprop service through its new subsidiary brand, ʻOhana by Hawaiian. Island Air provides scheduled service daily in turboprop planes with six daily round-trip flights between Lihuʻe and Honolulu.
Smaller turboprop planes fly so low that their flights almost double as sightseeing excursions – fun! The only drawback to turboprop planes is that carry-on baggage limitations are usually much more strict, so you may end up paying extra to check all of your bags.
Expect further schedule changes and possible shake-ups in the interisland flight biz. Interisland airfares vary wildly, from $50 to $190 one way. Round-trip fares are typically double the price without any discounts. Usually the earlier you book, the cheaper the fare.
While it's often possible to walk up and get on a flight among the four biggest islands (particularly to/from Honolulu), advance reservations are recommended, especially at peak times.
Airline regulations concerning surfboards, bicycles and other oversized baggage vary and can be restrictive, not to mention expensive – ask before booking.
Airports & Airlines
The vast majority of incoming flights from overseas and the US mainland arrive at Honolulu International Airport, where travelers can catch an interisland flight to Kauaʻi. In Honolulu, you will pass through customs. Airlines flying directly to Lihuʻe Airport from the US mainland and Canada include Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, United Airlines and WestJet.
You pass through agricultural inspection on departure from Kauaʻi.
Book ahead for rental cars. Major car-rental agencies have booths outside Lihuʻe Airport's baggage-claim area, with complimentary shuttles to off-airport parking lots. Taxis wait curbside, or you can use an airport courtesy phone to call one. Average fares from Lihuʻe airport include Kapaʻa ($25), Lihuʻe ($10) and Poʻipu ($40 to $50). For families or groups, it may be more economical to book an airport shuttle with Speedi Shuttle.
Hawaii is a competitive market for US domestic and international airfares, which vary tremendously by season, day of the week and demand. Competition is highest among airlines flying to Honolulu from major US mainland cities, especially between Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines, while Allegiant Air serves smaller US regional airports.
The 'lowest fare' fluctuates constantly. In general, return fares from the US mainland to Hawaii cost from $400 (in low season from the West Coast) to $800 or more (in high season from the East Coast).
Departure tax is included in the price of a ticket.
It is not possible to travel here by land.