Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission that helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published. For more details please see the advertising disclosure found at the bottom of every page.
It was way back in October 2017 that Southwest announced its intention to commence flights between the mainland and Hawaii and although flights were supposed to go on sale in 2018 it wasn’t until March of this year that Southwest finally opened up bookings for travel out of 6 California airports.
With some of its announced Hawaii services yet to commence (San Jose – Maui doesn’t start until May 26th) Southwest has put out a tweet to confirm that it will be adding a second city on the Big Island of Hawaii to its network.
Big news for the Island of Hawaii! We’re excited to announce that Hilo will be the fifth airport served by Southwest in the Hawaiian Islands.
We’ll let you know when our low fares and interisland flights for Hilo are available for purchase. pic.twitter.com/HkwXSJA9OU
— Southwest Airlines (@SouthwestAir) May 11, 2019
This announcement is interesting for a number of reasons.
Firstly, Southwest hasn’t yet told us when it plans to start up service between the mainland and Kauai despite the fact that Kauai was announced as a destination back in March….so it’s interesting that it’s already mentioning other Hawaiian destinations it plans to serve.
Secondly, Southwest has been hit as hard as any US airline by the grounding of the 737 MAX aircraft and it was these aircraft that were supposed to be the key to the airline making the routes to/from Hawaii profitable.
At the time of writing, there’s no indication when the 737 MAX will be allowed to take to the skies again and Southwest has already postponed its next schedule announcement a number of times thanks to the uncertainty surrounding its MAX aircraft (the latest date for an announcement is June 20th).
Thirdly, Southwest makes no mention of how it plans to serve Hilo. Will it be a city served from the mainland or will it form part of Southwest’s intra-island network? I suspect a connection in Honolulu will be required but it would be nice to know for sure.
It’s great that Southwest says it plans to offer some sort of service to/from Hilo but it’s hard to take the announcement too seriously until we get a lot more information….and that’s probably information the airline doesn’t have right now.
For the time being I’ll settle for Southwest telling us when we can expect service to/from Kauai and any news on service to/from Hilo will just be a bonus when if and when it finally comes along.