Tag Archives: flights

Travel Between Hawaiian Islands Update

What is the best way to travel inter-island? What is best depends on what you prefer. Here’s a run down of what services are available and the pros and cons of each option. 

Island hopping has changed over the past few years. Aloha and Go! went out of business, leaving two fewer jet airlines. Then the Hawaii Superferry revved its engines, adding ferry service between Oahu and Maui, but now it’s pau because it never performed an environment impact statement.


Airlines remain the gold standard for inter-island travel, and there are a few choices.


Hawaiian Airlines (website: Hawaiianair.com ) offers the most direct jet flights out of Honolulu International (HNL) to all of the other islands. If you’re starting on another island, however, you’ll likely have to connect in Honolulu. Hawaii partners with American and the OneWorld alliance.

Direct flights from the Mainland occur more frequently to neighbor islands, and ultimately, this saves the most time and hassle. Check these airlines websites: Air Canada, Alaska, American, Continental/United, and Hawaiian.

Jets are always loud, especially if you are sitting behind the wings. Consider investing in hearing protection. I always fly with Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices, White(wired, 3.5mm). On longer flights, I often layer these over Lysian 35dB Foam Earplugs. 

Pros: Fast jet service with easy connections to Mainland flights.

Cons: TSA hassles, direct flights between neighbor island cities can cost more, and long flights can damage hearing.

Pro Tip: Sit up front to get on and off in less than half hour.

Prop Planes

Inside the cabin of a Cessna 208B Grand Caravan´╗┐

Commuter airlines offer a more laid-back alternative. Because these airlines operate smaller planes (i.e., prop planes or puddle jumpers), they don’t use the main airport terminals. Did you catch that? No main terminals. That means no airport security hassles! It’s almost to good to be true, but it is. If you don’t mind riding in a small plane, you don’t have to bother with TSA. In other words, you can save heaps of travel time without interrupting that easy island vibe you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

Commuter Airline:

  • Kona-based Mokulele Airlines (website: mokuleleairlines.com ) operates 9-seat Cessna 208B Grand Caravan turboprop aircraft.

In addition to avoiding TSA and offering more direct flights between neighbor island cities, they fly at lower altitudes than jets do, providing passengers unparalleled views of Hawai’i’s magnificent scenery – pristine coastlines, spectacular mountains, frozen lava flows, plunging waterfalls and frolicking whales. An interisland flight on a commuter airline could substitute for a costly aerial tour. Airfares are typically comparable to or less than jet service.

Pros: Frequent direct flights between neighbor island cities, no TSA hassles, killer scenery.

Cons: Small planes make for longer, bumpier rides.

Pro Tip: Ask the captain which side of the plane overlooks the land and sit on that side.

Ferry – No Longer in Service

Update: As of June 30, 2009, the Superferry is sunk. They company  filed for bankruptcy protection in May and now wants to ditch the two high-speed catarmans, leaving Hawaii taxpayers on the hook for a cool $50 million in harbor improvements to accomodate them (read recap of how the Superferry sunk).

Fasten your seat belt, across your forehead

Each red eye flight, I hope for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep. My ritual goes like this: I settle (contort) into my cramped coach seat, inflate my lumbar and neck pillows, stuff in ear plugs, pop a pill, lower my eye mask, pull up the flannel blanket and hope to catch a few hours snooze before waking up three time zones ahead. But it never quite works out. Just as I doze off, thunk!, there goes my head, dropping to my chin like a bowling ball from a child’s hand. The ensuing jerk to my spine startles me awake every time.

Half-jokingly I’ve told my travel companions for about the last year that I want to tie my head to the seat, if only to spare my vertebrae the stretch marks. But I’ve never seen anyone do it. But it’s not so crazy; you’re already buckled in at the waist. Why not at the forehead, too?

Any should strap could be used to tie your forehead to the airplane seat
I used this shoulder strap to tether my head to the airplane seat

Continue reading Fasten your seat belt, across your forehead

Cheap Interisland Travel Fares

The bad economy and falling visitor counts to Hawaii are finally lowering interisland airfares.

Hawaiian Airlines announced today prices for interisland airfares not seen since the 90’s. They’re offering a guaranteed fare of $43 each way good for travel between March 3, 2009 and May 15, 2009.

The catch is that you have to be a member of the frequent flier club, which is free to join, and sign up for the deal in advance by March 11, 2009. They say that coupon you’ll receive in your email is good for up to 40 one-way interisland flights priced at $43 each.

Sign up for the deal

Become a Hawaiian FF member