HONOLULU (KHON2) – Summer travel has increased dramatically, as has flights to the Hawaiian Islands.
Southwest Airlines has added three new destinations to and from Hawaii, including non-stop flights from Las Vegas and Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
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Las Vegas’ first non-stop flight touched down on Sunday afternoon and residents and businesses of the Ninth Island said they were excited for June 15, when vaccinated residents will be able to travel even more.
“The planes are completely full at the moment. It’s not very difficult to sell Las Vegas or Hawaii and go between the two; it’s a no-brainer, ”said Andrew Watterson, executive vice president of Southwest Airlines.
“Las Vegas is very busy right now. They have reopened their tourism economy and we are delighted to connect the Hawaiian Islands with the Ninth Island of Las Vegas. This is something we can offer the Kama’aina, ”he continued.
Southwest is adding two non-stop flights between Las Vegas and Honolulu and Las Vegas and Kahului, with flights to Kona and Lihue coming later this fall.
The airline is also adding non-stop flights from Phoenix and LAX.
Las Vegas residents said they were excited to have more options when they returned to Hawaii to see family and friends.
“It’s a perfect fit. There are a lot of people from Hawaii who come to Las Vegas. We are considered the ninth island. We currently have about 55,000 to 60,000 Hawaiian people living there, ”said Dorinda Puanani Keola Burnet, former Hawaii resident, alumnus of Kamehameha schools and current Las Vegas resident who blessed the flight to Las Vegas on Sunday. afternoon.
“It’s a good thing for all of us to take advantage of all the things to come on our trip from the mountains of Hawaii to Las Vegas,” she continued.
Many said they had marked June 15 on their calendar and were delighted to welcome again more Hawaii residents who, if vaccinated, will be able to return home without restrictions for the first time in over a year.
“After June 15, you will be able to come and go much more easily. Now is a great time to get rid of pandemic fever and have fun in Vegas, ”Watterson added.
Vegas businesses are also happy to hear that travel restrictions are easing in Hawaii.
“Most of our customers are from Hawaii, which has a big impact on us,” said Kyrce Higa, whose family owns Las Vegas Jerkys.
“We’ve been waiting for this since like, since the vaccine started,” she said with a laugh. “Yes, we are looking forward to that. Hopefully everyone can get vaccinated, ”said her mother Karen.
The two women said all of their Hawaii customers are missed.
“We get a lot of orders over the phone and people say they’re going to wait until they get up. [restriction], and then they’re going to come to Las Vegas. So we look forward to that, ”Kyrce added.