This Low-Cost Carrier Is Expanding in Hawaii Before Southwest Gets There

Jan 9, 2019

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.

Sun Country Airlines, a low-cost carrier based in Minnesota, said on Tuesday it would expand its route network into Hawaii — an increasingly competitive market for budget airlines as behemoth Southwest is on the precipice of launching service to the islands.

The new Hawaii-bound flights will depart from San Francisco (SFO) for Honolulu (HNL) and will supplement Sun Country’s two existing routes to Honolulu, one from Portland, Oregon (PDX) and the other from Los Angeles (LAX). According to Bloomberg, the fares to HNL will start at $259 one-way, with the average cost of a one-way ticket around $339 during peak summer travel season, which Sun Country identifies as June 8 to mid-August. The airline operates Boeing 737s on its Hawaii routes.

Sun Country’s expansion no doubt puts more pressure on Southwest to launch its anticipated Hawaii flights, which have been delayed from the airline’s original rollout goal of “the end of 2018.” Southwest has been working on obtaining its extended operations (ETOPS) certification from the Federal Aviation Administration — the carrier’s last hurdle to entering the Hawaii market. The certification process“typically takes 12-18 months to complete,” the airline says.

But Southwest’s ETOPS process has been put on hold during the partial government shutdown, during which the FAA has stopped all “nonessential” work and certifications.

“Employees who have a direct, imminent mission to ensure public safety, like air traffic controllers and the technicians who maintain the air traffic control system, remain on the job,” an FAA spokesperson told TPG in an email on Tuesday. “The ETOPS certification process is not a part of those duties being performed during the partial shutdown.”

Sun Country’s new Hawaii route was part of a broader expansion of 19 new flights. The new routes, which the carrier said comprise its biggest expansion ever, include new flights from Las Vegas, Nashville, Dallas, Minneapolis and Portland.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn a $200 statement credit after your first Delta purchase within the first three months. Offer ends 7/28/21.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles after spending $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months and a $200 statement credit after you make a Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Limited Time Offer: Plus, get a 0% intro APR on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening, then a variable 15.74%-24.74%. Offer expires 7/28/2021.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
0% on purchases for 12 months
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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.

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.