With the flight routes in high anticipation, Southwest Airlines has announced that it will finally begin ticket sales to Hawaii in the “coming days.” Southwest is officially cleared to fly to Hawaii from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The approval allows the airline to begin its operations.
Southwest announced their plans to operate to and from Hawaii a while back. For the past few months, the airline has been preparing itself for the expanded operations. One requirement for this particular route included Extended Range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) verification.
ETOPS verification is for airlines traveling long distances over oceans. It ensures that the planes are capable of making the journey without having an airport to divert to in case of emergencies. Southwest’s approval certifies that its Boeing 737 airplanes comply with regulations. The planes had to undergo various flight tests, diversion tests, and other performance inspections.
Southwest has only received verbal approval about the ETOPS verification. Flights will officially be announced as soon as the written approval is in hands.
Southwest to Hawaii
Hawaii has been a top priority for Southwest according to Gary Kelly, the CEO of Southwest. In a statement from the company to ThePointsGuy, “Now that we have the authorization, Southwest Teams will finalize our plans for offering service to Hawaii, and we’ll publicly announce our timing for selling tickets and inaugurating flights to the Hawaiian Islands in the coming days.”
Southwest has already begun to highlight potential routes and time schedules with the website portal Southwest.com/Hawaii. The air carrier will focus on west coast flights to the islands. Southwest flights will go from Oakland, San Diego, San Jose, and Sacramento and fly to Honolulu, Kahului, Kona, and Lihue. It will also offer inter-island service.
The airline completed six trips between these destinations during its FAA testing. The success of these routes will allow more routes to be established between the mainland and the islands.
Southwest Ticket Sales
Southwest’s ticket sale announcement could have a significant impact on overall industry ticket sales to Hawaii. Hawaii is always one of the top destinations for traveling in the US. Southwest is a low-cost airline compared to its competitors. With the addition of flight service to Hawaii, there are a few things to consider.
Ticket prices to Hawaii could be lower than usual. Increased competition leads to lower prices. While Hawaii remains a popular destination, Southwest has made the paradise accessible to more travelers. It’s expected to operate up to eight flights daily to the islands. When ticket sales are announced, reactions from competing airlines may result in travel deals to Hawaii.
Southwest will provide a more cost-efficient way of traveling to Hawaii. Flight details include no in-flight meals (to reduce costs) and special Hawaiian treats being served to passengers. Saving money and better flight experience is how Southwest plans to compete in the Hawaii destination market.
Ticket sales will be announced soon, and flights could begin as early as March. Thanks to the FAA approval, Southwest is all set to start flying to Hawaii.