There's been plenty of lousy travel news this year: the parasite-like absorption of forever-favorite Virgin America by the utterly milquetoast Alaska, the emergence of gross basic-economy fares, the fact that now we all understand the phrase "passenger dragging."
At last, a bright light on the travel horizon: Southwest will soon begin flying to Hawaii.
Why's this such great news? First, Hawaii is awesome, and well worth the time, expense and hassle it takes to get there. Our fav? Climbing Mauna Kea, Hawaii's highest point. Trivia fact: "kea" means "white," making this "White Mountain," a nod to the fact that it's often covered in snow(!).
Second, and more important: Southwest is awesome as well, with some of the most generous policies in the business. (Read: refunds, free checked bags.) And they'll soon be launching flights to Hawaii from the Lower 48, a boon for us Mainlanders.
Consider that even from West Coast cities like L.A. and San Francisco, Hawaiian flights are frequently more expensive than transatlantic ones among new, low-cost and major carriers — primarily because the Hawaiian routes lack competition. But the introduction of Southwest (and their frequent dirt-cheap flash sales) could help incite a bit of a fare war among airlines that serve the Aloha State.
The only bad news is that due to additional regulatory requirements, flights might not kick off until 2019, though ticket sales could begin next year. And while Southwest is based in Dallas, experts say it's likely the Southwest flights will depart from California cities.