Posted by William Charles on October 29, 2018
Airline Rewards

Published on October 29th, 2018 | by William Charles


Southwest Hawaii – [Signs Up At Maui Airport]

Update 10/29/18: File this under interesting but useless, Southwest signs are now up at Maui airport. Hat tip to reader ER.

Update 10/26/18: During yesterday’s earnings call Southwest shared some additional information regarding Hawaii. Interesting quotes below (emphasis ours):

  • “…speaking of Hawaii, it’s our expansion focus for next year. And just subject to the timing of our ETOPS certification from the FAA, our goal continues still to be to sell tickets at the end of this year and operate flights early next year.
  • “Our schedule is currently published through early June 2019 and they exclude expected Hawaii flying. You can see that excluding Hawaii our January through May year-over-year ASM growth is modest.”

Update 08/16: Beat Of Hawaii has spoken to Andy Watterson, SWA Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer, based on this conversation they are expecting flight announcement and ticket sales to start in October to November and flights to Honolulu/Maui to begin shortly thereafter. I’d recommend reading their full post for additional information.

Update 05/03/18: Southwest has announced that they will offer non stop service from:

  • Oakland (OAK)
  • San Diego (SAN)
  • San Jose (SJC)
  • Sacramento (SMF)

They also intend to provide inter-island routes as well.

Update 04/26/18: Southwest has announced they will serve the following airports in Hawaii:

  • Honolulu, HI (Oahu)
  • Kahului, HI (Maui)
  • Kona, HI (Island of Hawaii)
  • Lihue, HI (Kauai)

We don’t have specific routes yet, but all initial routes will be out of California according to Beat of Hawaii. They are also still quoting a launch date of December 2018 or early 2019.


Southwest Airlines have just announced that they will be entering the Hawaiian market on Twitter. They did this by replying to a tweet from back in 2008. At the moment details are extremely scarce, but we will update this post as they come in.

Things to note:

  • They need approval from the FAA for extended flights over open water [ETOPS (Extended Twin Operations)]
  • No routes announced yet
  • Plan to sell tickets starting in 2018, but first flights might not launch until 2019. ““We wouldn’t be so bold as to say we’ll start flying in October or November or July of 2018 and not go through the FAA process,” “We know we’ll get through the FAA process in time to sell tickets next year, but until the FAA gives us better indications of the authorization timeline, we’re not going to speculate and put a date out there. This has been a long time coming so there’s no particular reason for us to rush it. For us, it’s more important to do it properly than doing it a certain date.” [Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson]
  • Boeing 737 MAX 8 (175 seat plane) will be used for the service as speculated
  • According to this LA times article Southwest will fly most of its routes from California to Kauai, Honolulu and the island of Hawaii (quoting Andrew Watterson in that article again). California confirmed here again
  • We anticipate fares will drop – Andrew Watterson

Hat tip to reader @bhuynh08

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Any guesses on RR redemption costs?

~1.5 cpp just like everything else. You can bet that the cash costs will be cheaper than other airlines, so that should give you some idea.

Less than 1.5cpp now, right? Isn’t it 1.3 with some small moving based on foregone taxes?

For the most part I’m seeing 1.45 cpp now, typically on wanna get away fares. Biz select and Anytime are slightly lower (1.4-1.35 cpp) since the airport fees and taxes are a lower percentage of the overall ticket price.

Free checked in bags?
Assigned seating?

They flew to Hawaii for a short while years ago. It was not profitable for them and fares weren’t crazy cheap. Interested to see how round 2 works out. I really hope they are here to stay this time

Correction they had a codeshare with another airline. That airline folded. Nevertheless, I think that was the first time I had seen Hawaii flights actually sold on the southwest website.

They (Southwest) have never flown to Hawaii. Southwest bought the assets of ATA when they went into bankruptcy, and ATA used to fly to Hawaii, but that’s as close as they have been. As William points out in the things to note, they don’t even have ETOPS certification yet.

Wait so they are flying to Kauai, Oahu, and Hawaii but not Maui?

Wondered the same thing. Watched Hawaii fares last year from CA and the consistent sales were West Coast- Honolulu or Maui. Maybe, it’s possible Maui has reached some sort of maxed out / too much competition level compared to the other islands and wouldn’t be as profitable? Also possible they just forgot to mention it I guess. It will be interesting to see what routes they start selling next year for sure! Even slightly lower prices and free checked bag? YES PLEASE!

If only Southwest allowed you to pick seats, then I’d be all for it. Unfortunately, being stuck in a window or middle seat for a 5 hour flight makes this a complete no-go (and a no-go for other folks with back pain/injuries). Wish Southwest was accommodated folks with medical needs, unfortunately they seem to be deluded into thinking that not having assigned seats is good, which really confounds me.

They do. During ticketing you can disclose your need for medical accommodation. Also, anyone can pay $15 extra for early bird check-in.

Or you can simply check in as early as possible. Set a reminder on your phone. You’ll always be able to get an aisle seat with no issues.

Early bird check in does not guarantee you anything. On last flight me and wife had early bird check in and we got the last two seats together by pushing someone out of the way. I have companion pass and 90k southwest points but not sure if I want to fly in them again even for free. They are just so terrible.

Well, you aint seen the hottest air hostesses they have. Chicago to Buffalo flight.

Ugh! I have to get to Chicago first for the chance at seeing “Mark” on the flight to Buffalo.

Maybe I’ll use the last of my SW miles for that 😛

“Pushing someone out of the way”? Please don’t fly southwest if you are pushing people around! I find it very hard to believe you would not find 2 seats together if you bought early-bird when you bought your ticket. Most of the time that gets you in the A group and I believe that’s 60 people. I have been very happy with all my Southwest flights.

Not true. We consistently get seats together, EVEN when we are in the mid-B’s. WE have companion pass and love it. We use SW for all of our domestic travel. We’ve gotten used to it.

I’ve even been able to sit with next to my wife when we were in the C’s


I agree…this has never been a good way to do business in my opinion and the main reason i bypass SW when i travel…trying to be the first 40 or so to check in is for the birds…let me pick my seat like a normal airline…

Seattle, please!!!

Aditya Shrivastava
Aditya Shrivastava


Hope to see this too – especially in light of Alaska’s latest moves in The Race To The Bottom. I take hope that they say “MOST of the flights will be from California.” Most, not all. Seattle seems like the obvious next flights to add.

That would be nice although Delta flies pretty cheaply from there. The good thing is all the airports with non-stop to Hawaii are also nonstop to Seattle so at least you don’t have to do 2 stops.

Fantastic news! Too bad they didn’t give an exact date.

Worthless if they don’t offer a direct flight out of Chicago

Chicago to an island with no stops on a Southwest flight? I’m not with you on that one. Let me out in CA to stretch my legs and regroup. That’s a hell of a haul in cramped quarters. Now if they had 1st class…

Their planes can’t fly that far.

The new 737 max probably can

According to wikipedia, the 737 MAX 8 has a range of 4,045 miles. Chicago to Hilo is 4,172 miles. Planned upgrades to newer MAX 8s in 2021 will extend the range but still 20 miles short of Chicago to Hilo.

MDW-HNL is over the 737 MAX 8’s operational range, so it won’t be happening.

Do you even fly Southwest? They don’t even offer direct flights coast to coast.

they fly San Diego direct to Newark.

YES! As awesome as this is, it also makes me wonder what else might be coming. South America routes on the horizon too? Let’s hope.

They only decided to do Hawaii because Alaskan was moving in to their turf in California and Hawaii is most popular reward flight redemption. Theyvdidnt want business passengers flying on Alaskan just because they wanted free vacation to Hawaii

all their longer flights have the issue of bathrooms— as in there are not enough on the plane — two for 175 people for 5 hours is tough —so make sure you restrict your fluid intake

Several of WN’s newer planes have three lavs–two in the back and one up front.

That’s good news, I’ve not yet seen one with three lavs. Certainly no guarantee you’ll get one. Not a big deal, but I’ve seen some cranky passengers on trips to Costa Rica, Mexico, and from east to west coast.
Any way to find out ahead of time whether the equipment would make it handy to bring along your leg bag or pee cup?

Also they have no meals. You can’t even buy one. Long flightvwith no food and long lines for bathrooms, plus chance you will be separated from family.

@Beth, pee cups.

COMPANION PASS !!!!!! Luv it.

this has been in the pipeline for a long ass time. everyone has been waiting. game changer dude.

I for one can’t wait, as I’m planning on taking all 11 of my family to Hawaii, in 2019, so can I just say more than 1 companion pass, YES!

That just made getting a companion pass priority in late 2018!

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