You Can Now Fly From California to Hawaii for Just $49

The airline pricing war continues, and this latest battle is sure to make a lot of travelers happy. 

Southwest Airlines was cleared by the FAA just last week to begin a route from California to Hawaii, and it announced official pricing today. One-way flights from Oakland to Honolulu, which start March 17th, are going for just $49. 

That price is insane. It’s less than a quarter of the cost to fly Southwest’s primary competitor, Hawaiian Airlines. (Unsurpisingly, Hawaiian Holdings took a 10% trading hit today.) I’ve had Ubers to out-of-the-way airports that cost more than that ticket. Of course, there’s a promotional element here, and $49 is no long-term guarantee. Once Southwest begins its other routes in April and May — San Diego, San Jose and Sacramento join the fray on the Cali side, Kahului, Kona and Lihue in Hawaii — prices are sure to vary. 

But at the least, Southwest has instantly made Hawaii more accessible. Consider the way Icelandic airlines “opened up” that country in the last decade. Several other airlines immediately adjusted their round-trip flights to the Aloha State, in an early effort to keep up. The harder they try in the future, the easier it should be to visit Hawaii. An added bonus: it will be easier to hop the Hawaiian Islands, too. Southwest is planning on $29 intra-island flights, which should allow travelers to reliably see the entire state the way Europeans commonly city-hop the United Kingdom.

Where does all this leave those of us salivating/freezing along the East Coast right now? Wait a little while. As The Points Guy notes, connecting flights aren’t optimized with this route yet, and for certain cities, return flights won’t even load yet. Not a bad time to go crash in the Bay Area for a bit, though. (Hawaii weekends, woo!) 

Images via Unsplash