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Southwest Airlines’ entrance into the Hawaii market has been eventful. It began with the introduction of an Oakland to Honolulu route on March 17, followed by an Oakland to Kahului, Maui route on April 7. A San Jose to Honolulu route begins on May 5.
The grounding of Southwest’s fleet of Boeing 737 Max 8 planes will delay further expansion plans following two crashes of the model that killed 347 earlier this year. Southwest has had to cancel thousands of flights. The rollout of other routes is delayed indefinitely, although industry experts expect the grounded planes to be back in service by August.
Southwest’s entry into the Hawaii market has sparked a fare war, which is a great advantage for Hawaii visitors. Hawaiian Air, Alaska Air, and United have all entered the fare war, which means plenty of affordable options for travelers to and from Hawaii.
Southwest begins service between Honolulu and Maui on Sunday April 28, which is great news for visitors and residents alike who are increasingly disappointed with the high cost of flying interisland.
Southwest Air was also affected by the month-long government shutdown, as it delayed the approval of a new aircraft.
While the rollout of Southwest’s Hawaii routes have gotten off to a rocky start for a variety of reasons, once things settle down and grounded airplanes are returned to service, Hawaii travelers stand to benefit. Prices are certain to increase as it gains a foothold in Hawaii, but for the time being there are plenty of cheap flights to choose from.