This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In the summer of 2016, Boeing’s 737 MAX was merely a fascination for aviation professionals and enthusiasts — this Wednesday, Southwest took the plane mainstream. Late last night, the carrier took Twitter by storm after it posted a simple graphic on the social platform:

That’s right! Come 2018, everyone’s favorite Companion Pass carrier will fly to Hawaii. It isn’t yet clear which routes Southwest will fly first, but several will surely originate in California, likely from airports with a significant Southwest presence, like San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC) and Santa Ana (SNA). Beyond The Golden State, Las Vegas (LAS) and Phoenix (PHX) are possible candidates. As for destinations in Hawaii, we’ll surely see Honolulu, while a Southwest executive suggested Kauai and the island of Hawaii as well.

What’s more clear is the aircraft variant Southwest will utilize here — it’ll almost certainly be the new Boeing 737 MAX 8. Southwest has a whopping 170 copies on order, along with 30 MAX 7s. The airline has begun flying the MAX 8 within North America — in fact, TPG’s Emily McNutt was on the very first flight, which traveled from Dallas Love Field (DAL) to Houston Hobby (HOU) on October 1.

While it can’t operate service until it receives Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) certification from the FAA, once Southwest completes that process the MAX 8 will have more than enough range to make it from the West Coast to Hawaii.

Southwest focus cities within range of Honolulu.

Boeing lists the variant’s range at more than 4,000 miles, and more than 4,400 miles for the MAX 7. Theoretically, that would enable nonstop flights from Dallas and Houston, though ETOPS and other requirements for reserve fuel place those cities a bit out of reach.

Emily found the 737 MAX’s seats to be pretty comfortable, but her trip from Dallas to Houston was only a few minutes long — it’s hard to say how comfy they’ll seem after a six-hour flight from the West Coast to Hawaii.

Another potential shocker for those new to Southwest is the lack of seat-back TVs — while there’s a full-size tray table and a literature compartment, each MAX seat is otherwise bare. Instead, Southwest offers free streaming live TV and on-demand TV and movies on your own device.

The carrier also offers paid Wi-Fi on many flights, and the MAX 8 will soon be powered by Panasonic’s next-generation modem, which is expected to deliver far better performance than we’re seeing today.

Bottom Line

Boeing’s 737 MAX 8 is one of the most comfortable narrow-body planes flying today. It’s not equipped for long-haul travel, but even six-hour trips from the West Coast to Hawaii would be doable. I can’t wait to hear more about what Southwest has planned for our 50th state!

For more on Southwest’s new Boeing 737 MAX 8, see:

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.