Southwest Airlines travelers can now fly directly from San Diego to Honolulu on a new service that took off Wednesday out of the San Diego International Airport.
Southwest Airlines launched its inaugural nonstop service from SAN to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) with an 8 a.m. flight. Kimberly Becker, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority President and CEO, said in a press release that the airport had been anticipating the nonstop route for months.
“There has always been high demand for leisure travel to both San Diego and Honolulu, and with a military presence in each city, a desire to visit friends and family,” she added.
Though this marks Southwest’s first time offering the nonstop SAN to HNL service, two other airlines currently offer the nonstop route out of San Diego: Hawaiian and Alaska airlines.
On Southwest’s website, the new nonstop flight (with the 2-hour time difference between California and Hawaii) clocked in at 6 hours and 20 minutes of travel time. Ticket prices (for travel in the coming weeks in November) started at around $445, round-trip.
The San Diego International Airport said travelers heading to Hawaii should review the state’s COVID-era travel policy, which includes a pre-travel testing program, a health form and temperature screening upon arrival.
Last month – on the first day of the pre-travel testing program – nearly 8,000 people landed in Hawaii. The new program allows travelers to visit the islands without quarantining for two weeks if they test negative for COVID-19. Early in the pandemic, Hawaii health officials enforced a mandatory quarantining rule for all visitors, and they believe this rule was an integral part of the state’s early success in keeping the virus at bay.
The pandemic has deeply impacted Hawaii’s tourism industry and this new testing program is an effort to get some of that tourism back to the islands as the world continues to see a slump in air travel.