Southwest Airlines has plans to fly to Hawaii in the coming months. The flights will be operated from four California airports: Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, and San Diego. The flights will service Honolulu (Oahu), Kahului (Maui), Kona (Island of Hawaii), and Lihue (Kauai). In addition to these flights, Southwest announced that it would provide interisland flights.
Today, the airline completed a major task prior to ferrying passengers to Hawaii. A Southwest Airlines 737-800, carrying federal safety inspectors, landed in Honolulu at 2:50p.m. Hawaii Standard Time. This critical first step paves the way for the airline to receive Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) certification. This certification allows twin engine aircraft to fly routes where, at some point, it will be more than 60 minutes away from the nearest airport suitable for emergency landing.
Southwest hopes to begin selling tickets shortly after receiving the ETOPS certification.
The addition of Southwest Airlines to Hawaii gives customers another option to the islands. The main issue that I foresee is the lengthy time that it will take to get from the east coast to the islands due to connections and layovers. If you have some extra time in your schedule, maybe give Southwest Airlines a try on your next Hawaiian vacation.