Skip to content

Hawaii plagued by flight delays and long TSA lines

Aug. 18, 2022
6 min read
Plane takes off in sunset
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

If you're planning a trip to Hawaii anytime soon, expect flight delays and increased lines in airports. You should also account for increased layover times that are required to catch connecting flights.

Delays are becoming problematic and "incessant" at Hawaiian airports, particularly Honolulu's Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG), according to a report from local news source Beat of Hawaii last week.

"Our suggestion is to allow a minimum of 3 hours between arrival time and departure time when transiting either Honolulu or Maui," the website read.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Hourlong wait times at TSA lines and traffic and parking problems have also contributed to Hawaii travel challenges in recent weeks, as confirmed by TPG readers who have recently visited the islands.

Here's what we know right now about the flight delays and airport slowdowns.

Want more TPG news, deals and tips? Sign up for our daily newsletter.

Hawaii flight delays and cancellations

A plane flies into Lihue Airport on Kauai. (Photo by Matthew Wright/Getty Images)

If you're flying to Hawaii, or between the islands, expect flight delays. More than 15% of flights departing Honolulu this year were delayed, according to the latest information from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. This is more than double the average number of delays from the past five years.

Flightview's status chart showed about 1 in 4 of Honolulu's departing flights on Aug. 16 was delayed.

Given that the weather conditions were good, and the Federal Aviation Administration reported no air control-related problems, chalk up the delays to the overall scheduling and staffing problems affecting many airlines this summer. The recent return of direct flights from Japan to Hawaii could exacerbate the scheduling challenges.

"Most of the flights delayed are interisland. But mainland ones are delayed too," Beat of Hawaii reported last week. "You might do some checking on the flight you will be on ... the shortest connection time Hawaiian Airlines offers is 2 hours. And that seems like about the minimum that’s appropriate."

"I was on one of those 50 flights yesterday that was delayed, which made it a VERY stressful day!" said one Beat of Hawaii commenter. "My flight from Lihue to Oahu was delayed by 2 hours, which meant I missed my flight to Hilo. It was a frantic day of trying to get flights out of Lihue, as they kept putting me on another flight to try to make my Hilo flight, which then was subsequently late."

However, in his 22 segments in and out of Honolulu in the last four months, TPG reader Robert Malka said he only had delays on two of his flights back to the U.S. mainland. Other TPG readers confirmed they did not have significant flight delays out of Honolulu recently. So the bulk of the delays may be on interisland flights.

If you plan to take interisland flights, select direct routes whenever possible to avoid the risk of missing a connection. Also, whenever you have a connection, be sure to allow extra time.

Related: The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles

Hawaii TSA wait times and other airport hassles

Aerial view of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport. (Photo by Art Wager/Getty Images)

In addition to flight delays, getting to and through Hawaii airports has been a challenge.

TSA security lines can be particularly long during busy midday and evening travel times, according to multiple TPG readers who recently visited the islands. Expect midday wait times of more than one hour in TSA security lines at OGG, according to the latest information from the MyTSA app.

Other airports, including HNL, have regularly reported longer-than-average TSA wait times. Allow enough time before your flight to arrive at the airport. This is another reminder of why it's a good idea to enroll in TSA PreCheck or Clear.

Regardless of your flight or trusted traveler status, we recommend using the TSA app to forecast wait times, as the delays have varied widely by airport and time of day.

"My airport ride wanted me to be at the airport 3 hours in advance because she had seen long lines," said TPG reader Peter Pritzl. "So I just checked online and it was just a 5 minutes wait for my early evening departure."

Given the TSA delays, it's also a good idea to bring water and a hat with you to the airport, as many TSA lines in Hawaii traverse outdoor areas that may be exposed to the sun and humid summer heat.

"In June, when we left Maui the regular TSA line was insane," shared TPG reader Kimberly Gonzales, "especially out in the sun."

Traffic across the Hawaiian Islands has also been an ongoing challenge to both visitors and locals trying to get to the airport on time.

If you have a rental car, check ahead for traffic conditions and allow for extra time both to return your car to the rental area and to get from there to airport check-in. Airport rental car counter wait times have been reported to be one to two hours when arriving to get a car, so pack your patience and leverage your rental car membership status when possible.

Ongoing construction projects at several Hawaii airport parking areas have added another challenge for traffic, as well as timing the pickup of visitors. Consider using airport shuttles or public transportation to reduce the stress of driving and help take a few cars off the roads.

Related: Hawaii is crowded again

Bottom line

Hawaii has experienced an increase in delayed and canceled flights, as well as long lines and hassles at multiple island airports.

Since you're likely visiting Hawaii to relax, avoid airport stress by adding extra time for layovers. When arriving at airports, consider using public transportation or airport shuttles to avoid dealing with rental car and traffic hassles.

Use the MyTSA app to check airport waits. Also, check with your airline ahead of time for potential flight delays. When planning a trip, account for the likelihood of delays, and choose a longer layover time for any multiisland itinerary. Local reports suggest that two to three hours between flights is recommended to ensure you'll catch your next flight.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 6X points
6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.

Intro offer

Earn 100,000 points75,000 points
Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

Annual Fee

$125

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best Marriott card for Business Owners
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

6X6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
4X4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
2X2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.

    Earn 100,000 points
    75,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $125
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

The Marriott Bonvoy Business Amex is a stacked card with a rewards rate that will help you earn bonus points on everyday and business-related purchases. You'll earn 15 elite night credits each calendar year, and receive automatic Gold elite status. Finally, the free night award certificate with a redemption level of 35,000 points or less can get you hundreds of dollars in potential value each year.

Pros

  • 6x points on eligible purchases at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 4x points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. shipping
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases
  • Earn a free-night award each card renewal month (up to 35,000 points)
  • Receive 15 elite night credits to jump-start status
  • Transfer Marriott points to 40+ airlines

Cons

  • Airline points transfer ratios are poor
  • Must spend $60,000 in a year for second free-night award
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 100,000 Bonus Marriott Bonvoy Points after spending $4,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 11/2/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy® program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees