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- Southwest Flights Available for Booking this Fall – Likely starting in October.
- Southwest Flights Projected to Start shortly thereafter and before the end of 2018.
- Southwest plans on flying interisland routes by rotating aircraft on a schedule between the islands and then to the mainland.
- Southwest does not plan to base planes in the islands or create a dedicated “Hawaii” sub-fleet of aircraft.
- Southwest Fares – Southwest says that it will come in with lower fares not introductory fares and that when they enter a market fares come down. Southwest’s policy of no bag or change fee will apply to Hawaii Flights.
The latest news from the blogosphere including info from Beat of Hawaii indicates that Southwest should begin to sell tickets this Fall, likely starting this October, for their inaugural flights to Hawaii before the end of the year. Southwest Airlines held a private event in Honolulu, on August 7, to discuss their upcoming plans. Beat of Hawaii quotes Andy Watterson, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President; Chief Revenue Officer, as saying that “Southwest would rather risk revenue loss caused by a short lead time than announce flights before FAA final approval”.
Earlier this year, in May, Southwest confirmed that in addition to mainland flights they would also offer interisland service. The Star Advertiser quoted Southwest President Tom Nealon as saying that an inter-island ticket that he recently purchased was “very expensive” and that “they would come in with lower fares, not introductory fares” because Southwest’s cost structure allows it to compete very aggressively.
Southwest airlines is still working to receive final approval from the FAA for ETOPS (extended operations over water) certification. Service is planned to start shortly thereafter with initial flights to be operated by Boeing 737-800’s with 175 seats and then switching to Boeing 737 MAX 8’s as more airframes are delivered to Southwest. Southwest says that it will roll out flights from California to Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Kona on the Big Island at a measured pace and building up their schedule/frequency before starting interisland service.
Southwest has confirmed that their policy of no bag or change fee will apply to Hawaii Flights. They have also announced that they will offer food on flights to Hawaii, a first for Southwest. The aircraft will be equipped with satellite WIFI and a streaming entertainment system that passengers can access with their own devices.