When it comes to Southwest Airlines flights to Hawaii, there are still so abounding questions, so few answers. One of the best awful advancing announcements forth the west bank this year is absolutely back Southwest Airlines will activate aerial to Hawaii.
Given the legions of loyal Southwest fliers in Northern California, abounding are gluttonous specifics on back they’ll be able to fly the airline to the islands — a admired vacation atom for California travelers. (We apprehend you, folks!)
Competing airlines, too, are befitting a aing watch, because Southwest’s access into the bazaar is already upending fares, and could affect routes, schedules — everything. Book watchers will be ecology all these factors to see if the carrier will accompany its “Southwest effect” abnormality to the market. If you’ve been afterward our account book alerts, you apperceive that fares are already falling.
From the Bay Area, United, Hawaiian and Alaska Airlines all action assorted flights to the islands.
News has appear in dribs and drabs, and we apprehend an advertisement about countdown flight dates, routes and fares, to be appear in the advancing weeks, if not sooner. We’ve heard Southwest Airlines administration bandy out a advanced time anatomy for back flights will absolutely begin: either in late-2018 or early-2019.
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We’ve additionally heard that Southwest advisers are on the arena in Hawaii, affair and greeting the bounded biking industry, cutting TV ads, planning countdown anniversary and about accessible to go– and that the airline is artlessly apprehension permission from the FAA to activate flying. We contacted the FAA about this, and it is appropriately mum, advertence that advice about Southwest’s ETOPS proving runs is proprietary information.
Here’s what we do apperceive about Southwest’s plans:
> Four cities on the mainland, four cities on the islands: Southwest appear in May it intends to action flights from four California cities: Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and San Diego In Hawaii, Southwest will serve: Honolulu on Oahu, Kahului on Maui, Lihue on Kauai, and Kona on the Big Island. The absolute pairings accept not yet been announced.
> Inter-island flights: Southwest said it intends to accomplish flights amid the islands, giving cartage a adventitious to island-hop on its jets. Again, the routes accept not been announced, but we ahead these inter-island flights will additionally accord Southwest the added adaptability of affective its airplanes in amid the altered airports. The inter-island bazaar is currently bedeviled by Hawaiian Airlines, which operates a able-bodied agenda of Boeing 717s that affix all the aloft airports in the state. (When we were aftermost in Hawaii, the carriers ample intra-island account was likened to the freeway arrangement in the mainland.)
> FAA approval: Aerial beyond an ocean for continued periods of time requires a appropriate akin of acceptance from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Southwest said it is alive with the FAA to accredit its agile of overwater Boeing 737s for ETOPS (Extended Twin Agent Operating Performance) flying. Southwest needs to authenticate that in the accident of an agent failure, its jets can cautiously fly on aloof one-engine for an continued bulk of time. So-called “proving runs” — flights beyond the Pacific with FAA cadre on-board — is the aing footfall to accretion ETOPS certification. (More on what ETOPS is here.)
> Equipment? Boeing 737s of course: The airline said it will accomplish its all-economy chic Boeing 737-800 jets to Hawaii at first, with newer 737 MAX 8 jets (which accept greater ambit and bigger ammunition efficiency) to analeptic some of the Hawaii aerial in the future. The ambit of the MAX 8 and the MAX 7, a smaller-variant which Southwest has ordered 30 of, could accessible up added ceaseless markets to Hawaii for Southwest, including genitalia of the U.S. Mountain West, like Denver and Salt Lake City. Alaska Airlines additionally flies 737s to Hawaii- but with aboriginal and abridgement sections.
> Honolulu home: We’ve abstruse Southwest affairs to set up a appealing ample operation with several gates at Honolulu International Airport’s Diamond Head Concourse. According to Beat of Hawaii, Southwest will move into an breadth that was declared to be the approaching home of Island Air afore that carrier went abdomen up. There will be no jetways, so Southwest will use air stairs to lath its flights (just like Presidents do it, and aloof like how it’s done at Burbank Airport).
> Will accoutrements still fly free? Yes — annihilation we’ve heard from Southwest indicates it will activate charging for arrested baggage on the Hawaii flights. Each Southwest flier should apprehend to be able to fly with two chargeless arrested bags, as they do now on the blow of the network. We additionally absolutely apprehend Southwest will extend its no change fee action to awning these flights too.
> Rapid Rewards? Accompaniment Pass? The airline has not appear how abundant fares will be or the Rapid Rewards point costs for flights, but those who accept becoming a accompaniment canyon should be able to use it on Hawaii flights. With the Southwest Accompaniment Pass, you’ll alone charge to pay taxes and fees for a additional bench on any accustomed flight.
> On-board food. With flight times of bristles hours or more, Beat of Hawaii blog additionally letters Southwest affairs to action aliment to barter – commons that are heartier than the accepted alms of pretzels, accolade and crackers. But it ability be boxy for Southwest to attempt with Hawaiian Airlines, which prides itself as the alone US airline to action hot commons to abridgement chic customers, back Southwest jets do not accept ovens.
Will you fly Southwest to Hawaii or stick with Alaska, Hawaiian, United or addition carrier? Please leave your thoughts in the comments!
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Chris McGinnis is the architect of TravelSkills.com. The columnist is alone amenable for the agreeable above, and it is acclimated actuality by permission.You can ability Chris at [email protected] or on Twitter @cjmcginnis.
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