After over a year of rumors, Southwest is now revealing more details on its upcoming flights to Hawaii.
The airline announced on Thursday plans to offer service from four California airports — Oakland (OAK), San Diego (SAN), San Jose (SJC), and Sacramento (SMF) — to four airports in Hawaii — Honolulu (HNL), Kahului (OGG), Kauai (LIH), and Kona (KOA). Currently, Southwest is seeking authorization from the FAA for Hawaii service. When that happens, those airports will have flights added to the schedule, according to the airline. Which airport connections will be on the schedule remains to be seen.
Airfare to Hawaii has been getting cheaper in recent months, and Southwest’s entrance into the market could cause prices to drop further. A study on the “Southwest effect” found that other airlines cut prices by 10 to 15 percent when Southwest starts service on routes. Since the most recent airline to add service to Hawaii was Virgin America, and that beloved airline has now been absorbed by Alaska, the increased competition will be good news for travelers — even though the other airlines might not like it.
In addition to offering flights from the mainland to Hawaii, Southwest also plans to eventually offer flights between the islands.
“The way we plan to serve Hawaii requires us to share these initial details now so that our facilities in the airports will be ready for all that we intend to offer,” Southwest President Tom Nealon said Thursday. “We’re on-track with our plans to sell tickets this year and are respectfully engaged in the process to receive FAA authorization to operate between the mainland and the islands”.
This lesser-known Chinese airline is poised to take on the world (and they’re offering free upgrades)
Anyone booking an economy ticket for China Southern’s new non-stop service to Wuhan would do well to select a seat in the front six rows of the cabin.
So keen is the state-owned airline to attract visitors to the central Chinese city that it’s selling its premium economy seats – on which travellers enjoy five inches more leg room – as standard, for the same price as economy. Aim for rows 31-36.
Nick Newman, commercial manager at China Southern in the UK, explained that the airline is hoping to establish a market for the route and that the seats are “at the lower end of premium but as an economy seat is amazing”.
The decision is in keeping with an airline that, though the fourth largest in the world by passengers carried (126 million in 2017) and the biggest in Asia, is relatively unknown on British shores. Currently only flying to Guangzhou, one of the world’s fastest growing cities, from London Heathrow, but launching a non-stop service to Wuhan at the end of May, and Sanya later in the year, China Southern is looking to expand its reach into the UK and Europe.
The London-Wuhan route will fly three times a week on one of the carrier’s Airbus A330s.
By Huge Morris – travel news editor
2nd May 2018