Southwest Airlines Launches Major Hawaii Expansion

As much of the world remains shut to vacationing Americans, the world’s largest low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines is seizing the moment and launching a major expansion to Hawaii. The airline announced Thursday that, beginning June, it will be adding flights to four destinations on the Hawaiian Islands from Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix.

Southwest Boeing 737-700
Southwest Airlines is making Hawaii more accessible starting on June 6th. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Era of affordability

Flights will depart to Honolulu on Oahu, Kahului on Maui, Kona on the Island of Hawaii, and Lihue on Kauai from all three airports – LAS, LAX, and PHX. Most services will operate once or twice per day. The LAX to Kahului Airport (OGG) meanwhile will depart thrice daily.

Most routes will commence on June 6th, June 27th and 29th. However, passengers will need to wait until September 7th to fly nonstop from PHX to Kona and Lihue. One-way fares from PHX and LAS begin at $159, while customers can purchase tickets from LAX for as little as $129.

“We’re building on an era of affordability that Southwest initiated for Hawaii air travel. These new flights bring Hawaii service closer to more of our Customers who live near airports across the West, and make it possible to choose Southwest to fly between the Aloha State and cities as far east as Nashville, without spending an entire overnight in the air,” Andrew Watterson, Chief Commercial Officer & Executive Vice President for Southwest Airlines, said in a statement.

Southwest Hawaii
Southwest is also adding several departures for existing Hawaii routes. Photo: Stephen M. Keller / Southwest Airlines

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Added services from California gateways

The Dallas-based LCC is also adding flights to existing routes and adding services from airports already connecting the mainland to the Aloha State. Flights from San Diego (SAN) to Honolulu will double to twice per day from June 6th. The airline will also add services from SAN to the Island of Hawaii, Maui, and Kauai throughout the month.

Southwest Airlines said the increase in nonstop flights from San Diego is due to requests from both sides of the sea. Military travelers will especially benefit from the new, time-saving options, the airline believes. All additional and new services from SAN begin at $129 for a one-way ticket.

The all-Boeing 737 carrier is also adding services to Hawaii from other existing gateways in California. Flights from San Jose to Maui will increase to twice daily from June 6th. Long Beach will also get a twice-daily service to Honolulu from June 27th through September 6th. Flights from Oakland to Honolulu will depart three times per day between June 6th and September 6th.

Southwest Boeing 737-700
Southwest Airlines first launched flights to Hawaii in 2019. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

Rebooting after two wobbly years

Southwest first launched flights to Hawaii only two years ago, following hard work from the airline to receive ETOPS certification. However, much of the airline’s plans were contingent on the 737 MAX 8, of which it was the launch customer.

While it managed to switch the MAX for its 737-800s, the time since have been marred by both the grounding of the MAX and the pandemic with Hawaii’s strict entry requirements to boot. Let’s hope this new launch of routes is the restart Southwest’s LCC Pacific adventure needs.

Are you excited to see more Southwest nonstop flights to the Aloha State? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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