Southwest Airlines’ long-anticipated flight service to Hawaii is here, having completed its first successful flight on March 17th. Crew and passengers arrived to a proper Hawaiian welcome, complete with leis and music. The trip is the first of many new routes due to be launched by Southwest to and around the Hawaiian Islands.
Inaugural flight success
Since Southwest announced plans to launch a service to Hawaii in 2018, we’ve all been eagerly awaiting the start of this route. Their first commercial flight ran this week from Oakland, CA to Honolulu. The nonstop flight took approximately 5.5 hours on the Boeing 737-800. When the aircraft finally touched down in Hawaii, big celebrations awaited the passengers on board.
When the plane landed, it received a traditional water cannon salute as is customary when a new airline arrives for the first time. Passengers disembarked the flight and were greeted by beautiful Hawaiian weather and a team of Southwest staff. Each person was applauded and given a lei to begin their Hawaiian experience. A traditional singer performed native music and media was present to capture the historic moment.
Flight WN 6808 is the first of many Southwest flights that will travel between the islands and the continental United States.
Southwest Hawaii service rollout
Southwest Airlines is continuing to roll out many planned routes between the mainland and Hawaii, as well as a number of island services. The first flights for the new routes are expected to begin over the next few months.
The next flight slated to launch is scheduled for April 7th, flying from Oakland to Kahului Airport (OGG) in Maui. After this, the next new route will be between two Hawaiian Islands, Honolulu to Kahului, on April 28th. When launched, there will be four flights each way along the route.
Southwest Airlines Hawaii service rollout will also extend into May. On May 5th, the airline will begin operations between Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) to Honolulu, and on May 26th from SJC to Kahului. Lastly, another inter island route from Honolulu to Ellison Onizuka International Airport at Keahole (KOA) on Hawaii Island will begin on May 12th, which will also operate four times daily. The new routes will allow passengers to make connections from Kona to Oakland or San Jose.
Increased Hawaii flight competition
The launch of the Southwest Airlines flights to Hawaii brings with it an increase in competition between airlines for services operating to the mainland. Hawaiian Airlines, along with a few others traveling to the islands, should expect changes in revenue as well as passenger traffic on their flights.
Southwest is well known as a low cost airline offering great deals to regional destinations. Now that Hawaii has been added to its services, passengers can expect the same great rates and service that Southwest is known for. Lower prices and more flight options is great news for passengers visiting Hawaii, but what will the long term impact be for other airlines operating these routes?
What do you think? Let us know in the comments!