Government Shutdown Delaying Approval of New Southwest Flights to Hawaii

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One of the main reasons my wife recently applied for a limited-time Southwest Companion Pass credit card offer is because we’re looking forward to getting 2-for-1 flights to Hawaii.  Unfortunately, the new Southwest flights to Hawaii are on hold due to the partial federal government shutdown.

From previous company statements, it seemed like Southwest was hoping to start selling tickets to Hawaii in late 2018.  But the airline has been waiting to complete the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification process for extended overwater flights.  And due to the shutdown, certifications are on hold because Federal Aviation Administration employees who oversee the certifications are not currently on the job.

The Government Shutdown Is Delaying Southwest Flights to Hawaii Because the Airline Is Still Waiting on FAA Certification

Southwest first announced plans for flights to Hawaii in October 2017.  Since then, lots of Southwest loyalists (including me) have been anxiously awaiting tickets to go on sale for the new routes.

The bright side is Southwest CEO Gary Kelly has said the airline will start selling tickets “within days” of receiving certification, with the first Southwest flights to Hawaii launched within weeks of that.

I’m hopeful folks in government realize delays like this have a real impact on the economy.  I’ve read comments across the web of people who can’t wait to spend money on travel to Hawaii once the new Southwest flights launch.

In the meantime, I think it’s still worthwhile to consider applying for one of the limited-time Southwest credit card offers.  Until February 11, 2019, you can earn the Southwest Companion Pass AND 30,000 Southwest points by applying for just ONE of the below Chase Southwest personal credit cards and spending $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months of account opening:

  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus Credit Card – This card has the lowest annual fee among the Southwest personal cards.  My wife applied for it the first day it came out and was instantly approved!
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Credit Card – This is a good option for folks traveling overseas because you won’t pay foreign transaction fees
  • Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority Credit Card – This is a premium Southwest card.  You’ll earn 7,500 bonus Southwest points every card anniversary and $75 in annual statement credits for eligible Southwest purchases

For all 3 card offers, the Companion Pass is promotional and will be valid through December 31, 2019.  Even if Hawaii flights are delayed, you can still take advantage of the Companion Pass to travel to excellent destinations in the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean.

Any thoughts and feelings on the government shutdown impacting Southwest’s flight certifications?  Let me know in the comments below!

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