Southwest, which is many people's favorite airline, says its fans are constantly asking why it doesn't fly to Hawaii—and it's thinking very seriously about it. Not so much whether, but when.
Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told a shareholder meeting last week that flights to Hawaii are a high priority. He told reporters at the event that "We're deciding what our plans are for 2018 and Hawaii is important to us.''
Southwest, which is often described as the country's biggest domestic airline is solidly #4 after the Big 3, even if it's no longer just domestic since it started flying to the Caribbean and Mexico after absorbing AirTran.
Speculation about Hawaii has spiked recently as Southwest prepares to get its first 737 MAX jets; with their extended range, they could fly to Hawaii from the West Coast. But Kelly said, in effect, not so fast: There would still need to be pilot and crew training and certification for extended over-water operation.