For the everyday flyer, the more competition between airlines, the better. The Federal Aviation Administration granted approval to Southwest Airlines to fly to Hawaii after gaining ETOPS certification.
Initially, there will be non-stop flights from Oakland (OAK), San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC), and Sacramento (SMF). Destinations will include Honolulu, HI (Oahu), Kahului, HI (Maui), Kona, HI (Island of Hawaii), and Lihue, HI (Kauai). It also sounds like they will do an intra-island service between the islands, as well.
It will be interesting to see if Southwest expands its Hawaii routes at some point. I imagine Las Vegas (LAS) and Los Angeles (LAX) would be leading contenders.
Southwest initially announced back in 2017 its intentions to fly to Hawaii, however the partial government shutdown delayed the plan to start selling tickets in 2018. The FAA had to approve the airline’s ability to fly over water for an extended period of time.
How does this affect you
As mentioned above, more competition to Hawaii is great. Many of the other domestic carriers fly to the Islands, so adding another airline into the mix will hopefully lead to some good deals.
The airline typically has good fare sales from time to time. With this launch, consumer can expect sales on flights to Hawaii as Southwest tries to gain some of the market share.
Southwest is a great airline for everyday flyers. Not only do they have a pretty extensive route network, but they are also a transfer partner of Chase. If you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve card, you can easily use Chase Ultimate Rewards to get to Hawaii.
Southwest has said over the last few months that flights to Hawaii will still be eligible for its companion pass. The companion pass is a perk granted to flyers that earn more than 110,000 Southwest Rapids Rewards in a calendar year.