The ONE Advantage Other Airlines Have Over Southwest When Flying to Hawaii

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Southwest will begin flights to Hawaii in (likely) less than 2 months.  Sign-up for our newsletter so you’ll get the word immediately when flights go on sale!

Here are the reasons you should be investing in Southwest points if you’re interested in flying to Hawaii next year:

  • Southwest lets you change or cancel your flight for free up to 10 minutes before departure
  • Southwest gives you 2 free checked bags
  • Southwest is known for super low prices (both cash & award flights)
  • If you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you can to bring a travel buddy with you every time you fly Southwest (even if you fly every single day of the year!)

Southwest really is the best value for all the perks it provides.  But it’s lacking something huge that lots of folks in the miles & points community value highly.  And there’s no solution in sight.

Southwest Is Great for Lovers of Coach – It’s All They Offer

Is Southwest Losing Out by Failing to Include a “Fancy Seat” Option?

I’ve visited Hawaii a couple times.  The flight isn’t short (~6 hours from the West Coast).  I’ve flown there once in coach and once in Business Class.  And let me tell you, Business Class turns the nuisance of air travel into one of the best parts of the trip.  Complimentary unlimited alcohol, big recliner (or even lie-flat) seats, and other little details make a huge difference.

I’m not too concerned with flying Business Class, but I know many folks are.  I’ve talked to other miles & points bloggers who consider Business Class a necessity if the flight is more than 5 hours.

This is a demographic that Southwest can NOT serve.  Its planes aren’t equipped with multiple cabins and different types of seats.  Southwest’s “Business Select” prices will put you in the exact same seat as everyone else on the plane.

While the entire Million Mile Secrets team is excited for Southwest service to Hawaii, the only time we would conceivably NOT choose Southwest to book flights to Hawaii is when we’re looking for a fancy lie-flat seat across the Pacific.  And while we’re seeing other airlines scramble to keep from losing lots of coach customers for flights to Hawaii, their Business Class seats are one thing they offer that Southwest can’t (or at least isn’t).

American Airlines is even raising it’s Business Class award prices to Hawaii beginning January 16, 2019:

  • From the contiguous 48 US states – 55,000 miles (15,000 miles more)
  • From Canada – 55,000 miles (12,500 miles more)

Perhaps American Airlines is doing this because it’s expecting to lose out to Southwest on coach seats, and planning to even-out its losses by charging more for the Business Class passengers Southwest can’t serve.  Hopefully other airlines don’t up their prices to Hawaii, too!

I think most of us are okay with sitting upright and slightly cramped for 6 hours.  You won’t get extras like complimentary unlimited alcohol, but you can buy Southwest drink tickets on eBay for like $2.50 each.

I’d love to hear your Hawaii 2019 (and beyond) strategy.  Are you willing to forego the super convenient Southwest customer policies and low fares for a more luxurious Business Class experience?

Joseph Hostetler is a full-time writer for Million Mile Secrets, covering miles and points tips and tricks, as well as helpful travel-related news and deals. He has also authored and edited for The Points Guy.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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