Southwest Airlines, disappointingly, didn’t divulge any new information on its Hawaii service during its Q2 earnings call. However, they did talk to the folks over at Beat of Hawaii. So, here are some updates on Southwest Hawaii service.
Southwest Airlines said they’d begin selling tickets in 2018. But the only information we know so far is from where they’ll initially fly to Hawaii and that they’ll operate inter-island flights. I don’t know about you, but the suspense is killing me. And I’m not even a Southwest fan. So, while the information Beat of Hawaii was able to obtain is minor, it’s still something all the same.
The big question is why there hasn’t been an announcement yet. And, just as was the case last time, this is because Southwest still hasn’t obtained FAA certification. In fact, the Airline won’t make an announcement until it receives its final go-ahead.
When they do start service to Hawaii, though, it looks as if their first flights will be to Honolulu or Kahului, Maui. To me, this was a given, as Oahu and Maui are the two largest visitor markets in the state. And, no, aircraft won’t be based in Hawaii, not even when they begin inter-island service. Andy Waterson, Executive Vice President, and Chief Revenue Officer states that the aircraft will likely spend a day or two flying inter-island before operating a flight back to the mainland.
Onboard the aircraft, Southwest will continue to offer 32″ inches of pitch, among the most in the market. Their fee structure will also remain the same according to VP of Customer Relations, Jim Ruppel. Even better, the aircraft used for Hawaii routes will have satellite-based wifi installed, so you’ll have an internet connection and live TV, even over the Pacific. And, perhaps the most interesting tidbit is the fact that Southwest will offer food onboard. However, no details were given, so we’ll have to wait and see what they mean by this.
Some Updates on Southwest Hawaii Service, Final Thoughts
With the end of the year getting closer and closer, Southwest is rapidly approaching its self-imposed deadline. And while I’m sure they’ll begin ticket sales by the end of the year, I doubt they’ll begin service. In fact, I bet they’ll start flying to Hawaii either late in Q1 2019 or in Q2. And while it would be great to know when they think they’ll start, the information obtained by Beat of Hawaii is pretty exciting in itself.
Southwest represents a major new force in the market. They allow two free checked bags, 32″ of pitch, offer free snacks and drinks, will have satellite-based wifi, and live TV. No other airline operating between Hawaii and the Continental U.S. offers all of that. But, of course, you have to be ok with not having an assigned seat. Still, it’ll be interesting to see how Southwest’s presence changes the dynamic of the local market. Can’t wait!