Maybe just in time for travelers to geta COVID-19 vaccination, Southwest Airlines is launching services to sunny destinations this winter and spring.
Beat-the-cold getaway destinations include Sarasota, Florida, Hilton Head, South Carolina, and a return to Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. But the biggest news is that Southwest is finally flying to Hawaii from populous Los Angeles County with new service from Long Beach to Honolulu.
Long Beach will become the fifth California airport offering Southwest service to the Hawaiian Islands. One-daily service between Long Beach and Honolulu begins March 11, 2021, with one-way fares as low as $99. Blackout dates apply.
(Full disclosure: I own stocks in Jet Blue, American Airlines and Southwest.)
Southwest Airlines began operating its much-anticipated service to Hawaii in the spring of 2019,with flights departing Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, and San Diego. But as I noted at the time, “The big question is when service from the Los Angeles and Orange County metro areas will begin. The 13 million people who live in those areas served by LAX, Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach and John Wayne/Orange County airports are currently left out of Southwest’s schedule.”
Nonetheless, many passengers flew SWA to Hawaii on flights that originated in Chicago, Texas or even further away, bumping across the US to save money.
Now the other shoe has dropped, and Southwest is offering the vast Los Angele-area market non-stop flights to Hawaii. And if Honolulu isn’t necessarily your top vacation choice in Hawaii, Southwest is also operating inter-island flights to and from Oahu (HNL), Hilo (ITO) and Kona (KOA) on the Big Island, Maui (Kahului, OGG) and Kauai (Lihue, LIH).
For Southwest’s service to Hawaii, one airline’s loss of gates (Jet Blue) is another airline’s gain. When JetBlue decided to pull out of Long Beach, Southwest was eventually awarded all of the airline’s 17 slots at the airport, giving SWA 34 slots at Long Beach.
If for some reason Hawaii is not your cup of tea, Southwest has several other new warm destinations.
Service to Florida’s Sarasota/Bradenton will begin next Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2021. Lovers and other can fly non-stop from Houston Hobby ad Nashville for as low as $69 one way, and from Baltimore/Washington and Chicago Midway for as low as $89 one-way.
Similarly, Southwest is adding service to Georgia’s Savannah/Hilton Head area on March 11, 20201. Nonstop flights will be offered from Baltimore/Washington and Nashville starting at $49 one-way. Chicago (Midway), Dallas (Love Field) and Houston (Hobby) will also be served by non-stop flights starting at $79. Flights can be booked on Southwest.com.
March 11 is also the day that Southwest will reinstate service from Orange County, CA t (SNA) to Mexico. Flights from Orange County/Santa Ana will resume that date with once daily service to both Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta. Potential passengers might also see (SNA) flights listed as originating at the now-controversially John Wayne Airport, (not even John Wayne’s real name.)
But for COVID-19-trapped travelers dreaming of Hawaii, the good news is a new pre-travel testing program allowing travelers to return to paradise without a quarantine. Hotels like the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel and The Westin Hapuna Beach Resort are offering deals now.
And Mau’s Ka’anapali Beach Hotel has a Welcome Back Promotion that include a: 5th night free and $50 Food and Beverage Credit per room per day. The deal is applicable for Partial Ocean View, Ocean View, Premium Partial Ocean View, and Premium Ocean View rooms.
This deal is good for travel dates of April 2021 to December 20, 2021, just in time for the new Long Beach flights, plus an inter island hop and hopefully, a COVID-19 vaccine.