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This is it: after more than 16 months from when Southwest Airlines first tweeted that it was going to serve the Hawaiian Islands, today is the day you can be one of the first to buy a ticket to fly Southwest from California to the Aloha State.
Southwest plans to eventually fly from four California cities: Oakland (OAK), San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC) and Sacramento (SMF) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL), Lihue Airport (LIH), Kona International Airport (KOA) and Kahului Airport (OGG). But it isn’t launching all of those routes at once. Intra-island flights within Hawaii will also come later.
Today, you can purchase tickets to paradise for as low as $49 one-way.
That translates to just 1,950 Rapid Rewards points with $5.60 in taxes!
Southwest hasn’t officially revealed any information, but looking at the airline’s booking page, it looks like flights start on March 17 and are quickly selling out on some of the early dates.
Clicking around the flight schedules, it looks like the flight launch dates are as follows:
Oakland (OAK) to Honolulu (HNL): Launches March 17
Oakland (OAK) to Maui (OGG): Launches April 7
San Jose (SJC) to Honolulu (HNL): Launches May 5
San Jose (SJC) to Maui (OGG): Launches May 26
Inter-island Honolulu (HNL) to Maui (OGG): Launches April 28
Honolulu (HNL) to Kona (KOA): Launches May 12
Inter-island flights seem to begin on April 28 with the Honolulu to Maui route that is pricing at $59 that day, but $29 on most other days. Flights between Honolulu and Kona come a bit later on May 12. Flights to Kauai don’t seem to be loaded on the schedule at this time.
If you are interested in booking one of the first flights, don’t wait.
Southwest has also said it will debut new snack offering on its Hawaii routes. “We’ve got a new snack bag full of tasty goodies to make sure that when you land you’ll be ready to explore everything Hawaii has to offer,” the airline says on the Hawaii booking page.
The airline also says it will put “a tropical twist” on its usual drink menu. “You can sip on a Minute Maid® Pineapple Orange Juice Blend for free, or purchase a Kona Longboard® Island Lager® or Blue Chair Bay® Coconut Spiced Rum,” Southwest says.
Southwest will be serving Hawaii with its largest aircraft, the Boeing 737-800, which seats 175 in a single class. In the future, Hawaii will be served by the newer 737 Max 8, with the same seating capacity. The first Southwest test flight without passengers landed in Honolulu on Feb. 6, as part of the process of getting certification for long flights over water with a twin-engine airplane.
If you want to be one of the first to fly on Southwest flights to Hawaii, we recommend booking now and asking questions later. Not only do you have 24 hours to cancel without penalty, but with Southwest you can refund your Rapid Rewards points to your account without penalty at any time if you have booked with points and your plans change before departure.
Should you be booking with cash, Southwest allows you to change flights without penalty (just pay any fare difference) — or you can cancel and use the flight credit within a year of booking. You can also reprice and get a flight credit if the price drops. There’s a reason Southwest came out on top among TPG‘s Best Airlines for Families.
Those who have the Southwest Companion Pass are in for an even better deal, as they can now use it to bring a friend or family member along for the ride to Hawaii for just the cost of taxes. If Southwest flights to Hawaii are making you yearn for a Southwest Companion Pass, here’s how to earn it this year.
If you want to use points to fly on Southwest to Hawaii, you can bulk up your Rapid Rewards balance by getting a Southwest credit card. All of the Southwest-branded cards are currently offering between 40,000 and 60,000 Rapid Rewards points after you hit the spending requirements. And yes, these will count toward earning your Companion Pass in 2019.
You can also transfer Rapid Rewards points from Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio from the Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and Ink Business Preferred Credit Card, though these points won’t count toward a Companion Pass.
Hawaii is roughly a six-hour flight from California, so where you sit on the plane may matter a bit more than on most Southwest hops. If the airline’s open-seating policy makes you nervous, this may be a good time to spring for Early Bird Check-In to get as high a boarding pass position as possible.
Those with kids six and under can rest assured that they will board during ‘Family Boarding’ between the A and B groups, even without Early Bird Check-In.
In just a few days, Southwest Airlines will fly passengers to Hawaii, changing the dynamics of air service to the 50th state. You can book your tickets now starting at just $49 and be one of the first to learn what it is like to get to Hawaiian paradise on this low-frills, low-cost carrier.
To help you on your Hawaii planning journey:
Featured image by Getty Images.
Earn 2 points $1 on Southwest and Rapid Rewards car and hotel purchases and 1 point per $1 on all other purchases. This card also comes with an annual $75 travel credit.
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the 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.
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