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This was (finally) the week that we saw a Southwest Airlines plane land in Hawaii with iconic Diamond Head in the background. On Tuesday, Southwest Airlines flight 8275 landed at 2:50pm at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) after flying from California’s Oakland International Airport (OAK) with only FAA inspectors and Southwest ETOPS crew on the plane — no passengers.

A Southwest Airlines 737 800 flight lands for the first time at Honolulu International Airport, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, in Honolulu. (Marco Garcia/The Points Guy)
A Southwest Airlines 737 800 flight lands for the first time at Honolulu International Airport, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, in Honolulu. (Marco Garcia/The Points Guy)

There is no denying that was a momentous event in the process to get Southwest customers on planes to Hawaii, but it is not the last hurdle in the race. There have been some exciting rumors circulating online that perhaps Southwest will have tickets to Hawaii on sale as early as next week. Valentine’s Day was pegged as a possible target date for these rumors, which would have been a great way for Southwest to play up their ‘LUV’ symbol on the NYSE and home base at Dallas Love Field. But, sadly, that myth looks to be busted

Southwest Airlines crew celebrate their inaugural flight to Hawaii at the Honolulu International Airport, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, in Honolulu. (Marco Garcia/The Points Guy)
Southwest Airlines crew celebrate their inaugural flight to Hawaii at the Honolulu International Airport, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, in Honolulu. (Marco Garcia/The Points Guy)

TPG reached out to Southwest about next steps in getting customers on planes to Hawaii, and while the airline was tight-lipped about an exact ticket sales date, they did share the following:

“As part of the ETOPS application process, we will participate in multiple days of tabletop exercises next week to demonstrate our ETOPS procedures to the FAA. Once the FAA deems those exercises successful, we will be required to perform multiple ETOPS validation flights between the mainland and Hawaii. After we complete those tasks to the FAA’s satisfaction, we will we be granted ETOPS authorization. Only after Southwest receives ETOPS authorization from the FAA will we announce sell or operate plans for Hawaii.”

Essentially, next week is currently booked with multiple days of tabletop exercises where Southwest proves it has solid plans in place should unplanned events occur en route to Hawaii. Then, after that, it still has multiple validation flights to Hawaii still on the agenda. It’s not going to sell tickets to Hawaii until all of that is complete, and the official ETOPS authorization is received. So, it sounds like next week is not going to be the much anticipated week when we will get to buy a Southwest flight to Hawaii.

Hawaiian kahu Kalama Cabigon, a cultural practitioner, gives a Hawaiian blessing over the Southwest Airlines flight that landed for the first time at the Honolulu International Airport, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, in Honolulu. (Marco Garcia/The Points Guy)
Hawaiian kahu Kalama Cabigon, a cultural practitioner, gives a Hawaiian blessing over the Southwest Airlines flight that landed for the first time at the Honolulu International Airport, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, in Honolulu. (Marco Garcia/The Points Guy)

However, we are getting close. If the government can avoid another shutdown, we could very well be within a few weeks of Southwest receiving necessary approvals to operate flights to Hawaii. Tickets to Hawaii will go on sale very shortly thereafter.

Bottom Line

You’re probably going to need to come up with a different Valentine’s Day present for your loved one than a Southwest ticket to Hawaii. We don’t know the exact date that tickets will go on sale, but we know there are still multiple steps left in the certification process before Southwest can fly planes to Hawaii.

All photos by Marco Garcia/The Points Guy.

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