Updated: Jan 12
Despite being the world's longest island chain, Hawaii might sometimes feel like it's a little bit further than simply beyond the horizon. And if all you want to do is relax on the beautiful beaches, hike some cool trails or soak up some of that rich culture & local history found nowhere else, you probably want to worry less about getting there and more about what to do when you arrive!
Even if you're only just starting your trip planning, it might be helpful to know what the options are for getting there and home again in a safe, reliable manner. If your preferred airline runs the route, great! However, comfort and convenience can also mean flying the most direct route possible.
January 2021 Update
Disruption during 2020 has resulted in some diminished services across the globe, unfortunately affecting schedules for Hawaii and its beautiful islands.
Most of the routes described in this article should still be in operation, however a reduced frequency of services may be reflected on schedules for the upcoming season.
Which airline is the best option for direct flights to Hawaii?
But which offer direct flights to Hawaii from Canada? Which cities in the US have the best routes to the Honolulu, Kahalui, Kona, and beyond?
Related | Check out our Hawaii travel guide
Before we get too carried away, it might be helpful to know where it is you can visit before choosing which airline is the best option to get you there! Hawaii is comprised of 8 main islands, but you should also note that visitors may only explore 6 of them on their own: Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, and the Big Island of Hawaii.
Here’s our roundup of the best airlines servicing Hawaii from Canada and the United States. For airlines serving destinations in Canada, feel free to scroll a bit down to Air Canada and WestJet Hawaii route details. It's just past the segment on United.
While not a common carrier or specific airline, what kind of best of round-up would I be writing if it didn't truly include the best options for direct flights?
We're not just talking comfort and style. Chartering a jet has never been so accessible, and I'm sure I don't need to describe just how convenient the experience can be; You won't only choose your seat, you'll choose your aircraft, departure city, maybe even what's for dinner or the highlights on the drinks menu!
As mentioned, a private charter has never before been so easy to arrange. Corporate incentive trips and large family & friend groups aren't the only ones now benefiting from chartered jet services.
It might seem like the obvious first choice for common carriers, the name of the destination is on the side of the plane! With its partner in local airline 'Ohana by Hawaiian, operated by Empire Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines connects all 6 island options, making it one of the best choices for the simple execution of a comfortable trip.
What's more, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Hawaiian Airlines had the highest performing on-time rates and the lowest number of cancellations for any US carrier throughout all of 2019 (Source).
Note that Lanai and Molokai are only achievable with a connection.
Hawaiian Airlines offers direct flights to Hawaii from the following cities:
New York City
There are a number of codeshare partners for Hawaiian Airlines and several airlines marketing their code on Hawaiian-operated flights.
Watch for flights offered by China Airlines, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, and Virgin Australia as codeshare flights. I feel most passengers would be well served by Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Virgin Australia, and even JetBlue in most instances. But I would not recommend China Airlines for any comfortable level of travel.
On the flip side, the following airlines offering their code on a Hawaiian-operated flight wouldn't be the worst choice! This might include:
Air China (another to avoid), American, China Airlines, Delta, Japan Airlines, JetBlue, Korean Air, Philippine Airlines (no comment), Turkish Airlines (apt service!), or United.
As you can imagine, Alaska Airlines serves flights from Alaska, including direct routes from Anchorage to any of Honolulu, Kahalui, and Kona.
Alaska Airlines also offers direct West Coast departures from Seattle or from Portland for Honolulu, Kahalui or Kona, but also Lihue on Kauai.
In summary, Alaska Airlines offers direct flights to Hawaii from the following cities:
Anchorage > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona
Portland > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
Seattle > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
As the largest carrier in the US and overseas, it's no surprise that American offers some great routes of its own and in addition to their codeshare arrangement with Hawaiian Airlines.
West Coast and regional departures include LA and Phoenix direct routes to Honolulu, Kahalui, Kona or Lihue.
There is another option serving as a hub for certain easterly destinations, with direct routes from Dallas Fort Worth to either of Kahalui or Kona.
Finally, American wraps up its domestic direct coverage with a single route from Chicago to Honolulu. One of the surprisingly sparse options for residents of Indiana and Wisconsin to jump on a surfboard in Waikiki with only a single flight.
In summary, American Airlines offers direct flights to Hawaii from the following cities:
Chicago > Honolulu
Dallas > Kahalui / Kona
LA > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
Phoenix > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
Delta Air Lines
By this point in the article you'd be forgiven if you started feeling like there were an awful lot more options for westerly departures to the Hawaiian Islands. Delta adds a few more West Coast launch pads for visitors to Hawaii, but also options elsewhere.
I'd also remind Canadian passengers that Delta and WestJet have been upgrading their commercial relationship, evolving a simple codeshare or alliance relationship into something far more robust in a joint venture.
This doesn't mean direct flights from Canadian cities onboard Delta aircraft, but it does mean a far wider scope for single-connection flights where passengers live closer to one of the hubs for either airline.
Back to direct routes:
Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Seattle options exist for direct air to both Honolulu and Kahalui.
LA and Seattle further enjoy service to both Kona and Lihue.
Delta has not forgotten its Hawaii-bound travel fans from elsewhere in the country, with direct routes to Honolulu from Detroit, Minneapolis, and even Atlanta!
In summary, Delta Air Lines offers direct flights to Hawaii from the following cities:
Atlanta > Honolulu
Detroit > Honolulu
Los Angeles > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
Minneapolis > Honolulu
Salt Lake City > Honolulu / Kahalui
Seattle > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
With a small but growing number of California-only departures, fans of Southwest will be delighted to see options for direct flights from the following cities:
Oakland to Honolulu, Kahalui, Kona, and Lihue
Sacramento to Honolulu or Kahalui
San Diego to Honolulu or Kahalui from April of 2020
Further, inter-island options have been increased by Southwest's recent presence as a local operator in Hawaii, serving the 4 main spots in Honolulu, Kahalui, Kona, and Lihue, but also the cruise port stop of Hilo.
In summary, Southwest offers direct flights to Hawaii from the following cities:
Oakland > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
Sacramento > Honolulu / Kahalui
San Diego > Honolulu / Kahalui
Our final recommendation for US / domestic departures to Hawaii...
Operating out of their hub in Denver and serving a variety of destinations throughout the country, United has a few direct routes and codeshare options travelers to Hawaii might enjoy.
Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco direct service to each of Honolulu, Kahalui, Kona, and Lihue.
Chicago service to Kahalui, for those who aren't necessarily boarding a cruise ship from Oahu.
Another rare option exists for LA residents only, with direct service to Hilo.
Finally, United rounds up the respectable contenders for best commercial flight options / direct air service to Hawaii from within the United States in its route to Honolulu from any of New York, Washington DC or Houston.
In summary United offers direct flights to Hawaii from the following cities:
Chicago > Kahalui
Denver > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
Houston > Honolulu
Los Angeles > Hilo / Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
New York > Honolulu
San Francisco > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Lihue
Washington DC > Honolulu
Connecting Hawaii-bound cruise & travel enthusiasts from Canadian cities on a direct route is left to the two national carriers, Air Canada and WestJet.
Remembering that there are plenty of codeshare options for connections, including the abovementioned joint venture between Delta and WestJet. Canada's routes to Hawaii are a bit more seasonal, leaning toward the November / December through April period for the largest variety of options.
That does not mean that there are no flights outside the peak season, just that Canadian visitors to Hawaii might expect a connection if they don't live within driving distance of Toronto or Vancouver between April and November.
Pretty much the only option for anyone living east of Alberta, with a solitary direct route from Toronto to Honolulu.
Other direct options for Canadian visitors to Hawaii are from Vancouver to Honolulu, Kahalui, and Kona; a single option exists for residents of Alberta in direct service Calgary to Kahalui.
In summary Air Canada offers direct flights to Hawaii from the following cities:
Toronto > Honolulu
Vancouver > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona
Calgary > Kahalui (seasonal)
As described above, WestJet's direct options to Hawaii depart Western Canada only at this time, with the bulk of routes serving Hawaiian destinations during the seasonal peak period between December and April.
Vancouver has the only year-round direct flight options, with routes to Honolulu, Kahalui, and Kona. Another seasonal direct route exists to Lihue between December and April.
Finally, residents of Calgary and Edmonton can enjoy seasonal direct flights with WestJet to either of Honolulu or Kahalui between December and April.
In summary WestJet offers direct flights to Hawaii from the following cities:
Vancouver > Honolulu / Kahalui / Kona / Seasonal service to Lihue
Calgary > Seasonal service to Honolulu / Kahalui
Edmonton > Seasonal service to Honolulu / Kahalui
The other options
This article is a round-up of the best direct flight options. While it is questionable that Southwest made the list, their fans swear by their service and they do operate a pretty good timetable of inter-island flights in Hawaii. I also can't argue with a bag-inclusive ticket, just remember that you're paying for everyone else's luggage if you're a light traveler.
There is another domestic option for residents of the Las Vegas area, Allegiant. I just struggle to include it in a recommendation, rather I'll include the option as a matter of being thorough in my article writing.
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