Q&A: What you need to know about Southwest’s new Hawaii flights

Q&A: What you need to know about Southwest’s new Hawaii flights

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s been years in the making, but tickets are now available for Southwest Airlines flights in the Hawaii market. The low-cost carrier is one of the largest in the country, with more than 4,000 daily departures across the U.S., and now that ticket sales for Hawaii routes have begun, here’s a list of everything you need to know.

(Photo: Southwest Airlines)
(Photo: Southwest Airlines) (SWA)

First up: What are the new Southwest routes to (and within) Hawaii?

Southwest Airlines will initially fly to Honolulu from four West Coast markets: San Jose, Oakland, San Diego and Sacramento. They’ll also fly to and from Kahului from Oakland and San Jose. Details have only been released for some of the routes, but those are the company’s initial Hawaii plans.

Once passengers arrive on Oahu or Maui, the airline will fly inter-island routes between Honolulu and Kahului, Kona and Lihue. The company is still trying to iron out the start dates for every route.

What about the 9th Island? Will they fly to and from Las Vegas?

There’s interest in doing so, according to company officials, but there are currently no plans to fly between Honolulu and Las Vegas at this time.

When do flights begin?

The company’s inaugural Hawaii flight, from Oakland to Honolulu, is scheduled for March 17, and flights from Oakland to Kahului begin April 7. The first inter-island flights — four times daily between Honolulu and Kahului — begin April 28.

Flights from Honolulu to Kona start on May 12; the San Jose to Honolulu route begins May 5, and the San Jose to Kahului flight takes to the skies on May 26.

Details on the rest of the routes are still being worked out.

Once I have a ticket, is it still a first-come, first-served seating arrangement?

The airline is well known for its seating procedure, and the company has given no indication they’ll make any changes to that procedure for the Hawaii flights. Get on the plane early — your choice of seat likely depends on it.

Are checked bags still free?

Yup. You’ll still get up to two free checked bags when you fly on Southwest, even for the Hawaii flights...

What about my surfboard? Is that a free bag?

...except if it’s a surfboard. Those are special items that will cost $75 to check, and they have to have removable fins.

Southwest doesn’t serve meals on mainland U.S. routes. Will that change for the Hawaii routes?

Doesn’t look like it. The company says it will have snacks available for purchase on the Hawaii flights, but it won’t be serving meals on the flight.

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