Southwest adding Hawaii
Southwest Airlines is finally going to start flying to Hawaii, and a top executive says ticket prices will get cheaper.
Flights will begin next year or in 2019, the discount carrier said. The initial service will be from California, said Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson, without elaborating on specific routes.
The new service will test whether Southwest can compete against larger carriers on flights that take more than five hours from the West Coast. While some rivals offer premium cabins with roomier seats, full meals and more legroom, Southwest’s no-frills service is all coach class, with only snacks.
Starting in December, United plans to boost service on 11 routes between the mainland and Hawaii. It is is adding flights from its hubs in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
“We don’t see Southwest having success in Hawaii due to an inferior product and an already crowded marketplace,” Hunter Keay, a Wolfe Research analyst, said in a note to clients this week, in which he speculated on potential service. “We expect Southwest will bleed margins here for a couple years before scaling back or exiting outright.”