We’ve known for a long time now that Southwest Airlines is soon to start services to Hawaii. In fact, any regular Simple Flying readers will know that we have almost kept a running commentary on the developments. Even from reading the article comments alone, we know many are anxious to purchase Southwest tickets to Hawaii. Well, today we can announce that Southwest Airlines is just weeks away from selling Hawaii tickets. While we don’t know exactly what “weeks away” entails, it means that flights will go on sale toward the start of Q1 2019. Given that previously all we knew was Q1 2019, this could have been any date up to March 31st.
FAA Approval Close
The FAA is reportedly close to issuing final approval for Southwest to fly to Hawaii. Because the flights spend a large amount of time over open water, a special approval known as ETOPS is required for the flights to go ahead. Back in August, I wrote that Southwest was aiming to commence these services in October. Now, this clearly didn’t happen as just days later we found out the launch would be delayed until 2019. It seems that the final approval from the FAA is now “very close”, however, meaning flights should be able to start sooner rather than later.
Why Won’t Southwest Give A Date?
Southwest has repeatedly refused to give an exact date that services are due to start. The Southwest Chief Revenue Officer, Andrew Watterson, previously said “no one will remember the day we started. They’ll remember if we started poorly, so we want to do this properly and wait for the FAA to finish their process before we start ours.” This means that Southwest doesn’t want to give a deadline that they’ll miss.
The other factor involved here is how quickly flights can be launched. According to sources, everything is already set up at Southwest for the launch of Hawaii services. This means that the second the airline gets their ETOPS approval, somebody can press a button and ticket sales will go live. Flights are expected to commence shortly after this. If southwest assumes that they won’t be able to launch flights until March, then the approval comes in January, they could miss out on a large chunk of revenue.
Let’s talk about points:
If you want to go to Hawaii with Southwest with points, then you are in luck. Southwest Airlines a few co-branded Chase credit cards. Let us tell you about a couple of them:
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card:
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card you get 40,000 points after spending $1000 within the first 3 months, you also get 3000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary date. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You can earn unlimited miles and they don’t expire as long as the card account is open. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card is perfect if you are an occasional Southwest flyer and the annual fee is $69.
The Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card:
With the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card you get 40,000 points after spending $1000 within the first 3 months, you also get 6000 bonus points on your cardmember anniversary date. Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases. You can earn unlimited miles and they don’t expire as long as the card account is open. The Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card is perfect if you are an avid Southwest flyer and the annual fee is $99.
What is the difference between the Plus and Premier Credit Card?
The annual fee between both cards has a difference of $30, however with the Premier card you get twice as man points on your card anniversary date which according to Nerd Wallet, 3000 extra points are worth around $30 per year, so this of sets the additional $30 in annual fees that the Premier card has. Furthermore, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit Card has no foreign transaction fees whereas the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card charges 3% for all foreign transaction fees.
Southwest’s Hawaii flights are set to be a huge hit. With the airline’s low fares and established customer base, the airline should have no problem establishing a presence in Hawaii. In addition to flights from the mainland, Southwest will also offer inter-island flights in due course. As a result, JetBlue and Hawaiian Airlines recently expanded their codeshare agreement.
Are you ready to buy Southwest flights to Hawaii? Let us know in the comments down below!