advertisement

By Plane

Most major U.S. and many international carriers fly to the Daniel K. Inouye International (HNL)—formerly Honolulu International Airport—on Oahu. Some also offer direct flights to Kahului Airport (OGG) on Maui, Lihue Airport (LIH) on Kauai, and Kona International Airport (KOA) and Hilo Airport (ITO) on the Big Island. If you can fly directly to the island of your choice, you’ll be spared a 2-hour layover in Honolulu and another plane ride. If you’re heading to Molokai Airport (MKK) or Lanai Airport (LNY), you’ll have the easiest connections if you fly into Honolulu or Kahului. See island chapters for detailed information on direct flights to each island.

Hawaiian Airlines offers flights from more mainland U.S. gateways than any other airline. Hawaiian’s easy-to-navigate website makes finding the cheapest fares a cinch. Its closest competitor, price-wise, is Virgin America Airlines, which flies nonstop from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Alaska Airlines offers daily nonstop flights from West Coast cities, including Anchorage, Seattle, Portland, and Oakland. New to the market, Southwest Airlines is worth checking out for deals from the West Coast. From points farther east, United, American, Continental, and Delta all fly to Hawaii with nonstop service to Honolulu and most neighbor islands. If you’re having difficulty finding an affordable fare, try routing your flight through Las Vegas. It’s a huge hub for traffic to and from the islands. 

For travel from beyond the U.S. mainland, check these airlines: Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Qantas Airways, Japan Air Lines, All Nippon Airways (ANA), the Taiwan-based China Airlines, Korean Air, and Philippine Airlines. Hawaiian Airlines also flies nonstop to Australia, American Samoa, Philippines, Tahiti, South Korea, and Japan.

Arriving at the Airport

IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS CLEARANCE—International visitors arriving by air should cultivate patience before setting foot on U.S. soil. U.S. airports have considerable security practices in place. Clearing Customs and Immigration can take as long as 2 hours.

AGRICULTURAL SCREENING AT AIRPORTS—At the Honolulu and neighbor-island airports, baggage and passengers bound for the Mainland must be screened by agriculture officials. Officials will confiscate fresh local produce (avocados, bananas, and mangoes) in the name of fruit-fly control. Pineapples, coconuts, and papayas inspected and certified for export; boxed flowers; leis without seeds; and processed foods (macadamia nuts, coffee, jams, dried fruit, and the like) will pass.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.