Sun Country Launches San Francisco To Hawaii Flights Amid Southwest Launch

It seems that Sun Country has strengthen it’s hold on Hawaii, beating the launch of Southwest to the island state with a new cheap route from San Francisco to Hawaii!

This comes at a time that Southwest is patiently awaiting permission from the shutdown government to fly its twin-engine planes over the Pacific.

What are the details?

Just in time for the summer season, Sun Country will be flying from San Francisco International (SFO) to Honolulu (HNL) from May 18th.

The new route will cross over the Pacific to Hawaii.

The plane will be flown on a Sun Country 737-800 and will take approx five and a half hours. They have not yet revealed the frequency of the service.

Flights will be sold from $259 each way. The average price for the route at the time is $339, so this is a boon for customers.

This route will join other Sun Country flights from Los Angeles and Portland. This is part of a larger expansion of routes from the airline as it tries to dominate the low-cost west coast market place. They will also be adding eight routes from Minneapolis, three from Las Vegas and Nashville, Tennesse, and two from both Dallas-Fort Worth and Portland as it builds its new secondary hubs.

Sun Country Launches San Francisco To Hawaii Flights Amid Southwest Launch

What will service be like on board?

Now, Sun Country is a little bit of a controversial airline. Just over a year ago it was bought up by a new firm with the direct objective of making the airline the biggest ultra-low-carrier in America, placing them in direct competition with Frontier, Allegiant and Spirit.

sun country
Sun Country economy class

Part of the appeal of flying on an ultra-low-cost carrier is that, if the route is short, it doesn’t really matter how lackluster the experience is. After all, you don’t really choose between bus or train companies when commuting under an hour. However, this particular flight is over five hours and thus the experience actually is significant.

Here are some the features you can expect with the new San Fransisco to Hawaii route:

  • There are two classes on board, first and economy. There are 12 seats in first class and 150 seats in economy. First has a seat pitch of 39 inches (no lie-flat seats here unlike Hawaiian) and 21 inches of width. Economy is a little tighter with 31 inches of pitch (but still a little roomy compared to other airlines) but only 17 inches wide.
  • There is no entertainment on board. Passengers are advised to bring their own devices
  • Baggage starts from $30-$40 US for the carry on bag (not checked bag). An additional checked back is only $25 however.
  • Non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary on board, but you will need to pay for food.

Why is Sun Country beating Southwest?

Observant readers may have noticed that Sun Country is flying the same routes as the planned Southwest Hawaii routes, with the same planes. Yet, Southwest is not yet authorized to fly the route.

This is because any new flights over the Pacific for an airline need to be authorized by the FAA, a government department. And as the government is currently shut down (Which is a political topic outside the scope of this topic), it seems southwest can’t actually get the permission it seeks!

Will this new route beat off Southwest before they arrive at the table? We personally think it is unlikely as Southwest has a better experience, but it is very possible Sun Country will beat them on price and steal some of their market share.

Will you fly on the new Suncountry route? Let us know in the comments!