Air Travel

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Air Travel

Flying time to Hawaii is about 10 hours from New York, 8 hours from Chicago, and 5 hours from Los Angeles.

All the major airline carriers serving Hawaii fly direct to Honolulu; some also offer nonstops to Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, though most flights to the latter two come from the West Coast only. Honolulu International Airport, although open-air and seemingly more casual than most major airports, can be very busy. Allow extra travel time during busy mornings and afternoons.

Plants and plant products are subject to regulation by the Department of Agriculture, both on entering and leaving Hawaii. Upon leaving, you'll have to have your bags x-rayed and tagged at the airport's agricultural inspection station before you proceed to check-in. Pineapples and coconuts with the packer's agricultural inspection stamp pass freely; papayas must be treated, inspected, and stamped. All other fruits are banned for export to the U.S. mainland. Flowers pass except for gardenia, rose leaves, jade vine, and mauna loa. Also banned are insects, snails, soil, cotton, cacti, sugarcane, and all berry plants.

Bringing your dog or cat with you is a tricky process and not something to be done lightly. Hawaii is a rabies-free state and requires animals to pass strict quarantine rules, which you can find online at airlines do not allow pets to travel in the cabin on flights to Hawaii (though Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are notable exceptions). If specific pre- and post-arrival requirements are met, most animals qualify for a five-day-or-less quarantine.

Airline-Security Issues

Transportation Security Administration.

Air-Travel Resources in Hawaii

State of Hawaii Airports Division Offices. 808/836–6413;


All of Hawaii's major islands have their own airports, but Honolulu's International Airport is the main stopover for most domestic and international flights. From Honolulu, there are flights to the Neighbor Islands almost every half-hour from early morning until evening. In addition, some carriers now offer nonstop service directly from the mainland to Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island on a limited basis.

Honolulu/Oahu Airport

Hawaii's major airport is Honolulu International, on Oahu, 20 minutes (9 miles) west of Waikiki. When traveling interisland from Honolulu, you will depart from either the interisland terminal or the commuter-airline terminal, located in two separate structures adjacent to the main overseas terminal building. The airport operates a free shuttle system between the terminals from 6 am to 10 pm every day.

Airport Information

Honolulu International Airport (HNL). 808/836–6413;

Maui Airports

Maui has two main airports. Kahului Airport handles major airlines and interisland flights; it's the only airport on Maui that has direct service from the mainland. If you're arriving from another island and you're staying in West Maui, you can avoid the hour drive from the Kahului Airport by flying into the much smaller Kapalua–West Maui Airport, which is served by Mokulele Airlines. The tiny town of Hana in East Maui also has an airstrip, served by Mokulele Airlines and charter flights from Kahului and Kapalua. Flying here from one of the other airports is a great option if you want to avoid the long and winding drive to Hana.

Airport Information

Hana Airport (HNM). 808/248–4861;

Kahului Airport (OGG). 808/872–3830;

Kapalua–West Maui Airport (JHM). 808/665–6108;

Big Island Airports

Those flying to the Big Island of Hawaii regularly land at one of two fields. Kona International Airport at Keahole, on the west side, best serves Kailua-Kona, Keauhou, and the Kohala Coast. Hilo International Airport is more appropriate for those going to the east side. Waimea-Kohala Airport, called Kamuela Airport by residents, is used primarily for commuting among the Islands.

Airport Information

Hilo International Airport (ITO). Hawaii. 808/961–9300;

Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA). Hawaii. 808/327–9520;

Waimea-Kohala Airport (MUE). Hawaii. 808/887–8126;


On Kauai, visitors fly into Lihue Airport, on the East Side of the island. Visitor information booths are outside each baggage-claim area. Visitors will also find news- and lei stands, an HMS Host restaurant, and a Travel Traders gift shop at the airport.


Lihue Airport (LIH). 808/274--3800;

Molokai and Lanai Airports

Molokai Airport is small and centrally located, as is Lanai Airport. Both rural airports handle a limited number of flights per day. Visitors coming from the mainland to these Islands must first stop on Maui or Oahu and change to an interisland flight.


Lanai Airport (LNY). 808/565–7942;

Molokai Airport (MKK). 808/567–9660;


Alaska, American, Delta, and United fly into Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island from the mainland United States. Hawaiian Airlines flies direct into Oahu from many cities in the western United States. Allegiant Air files only to Honolulu from the mainland United States. Virgin America flies direct to both Honolulu and Maui from the mainland United States.

Hawaiian Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, and Island Air offer regular service between the islands. Makani Kai Air provides service between Maui (Kahului) and Molokai. All have frequent-flier programs, which will entitle you to rewards and upgrades the more you fly. Be sure to compare prices offered by all the interisland carriers. Interisland fares have increased in recent years, but if you are somewhat flexible with your dates and times you may find a lower fare. Charter flights are also available between the islands.

Mainland Airline Contacts

Alaska Airlines. 800/252–7522;

Allegiant Air.

American Airlines. 800/433–7300;

Delta Airlines. 800/221–1212;

Hawaiian Airlines. 800/367–5320;

United Airlines. 800/864–8331;

Virgin America . 877/359--8474;

Interisland Airline Contacts

Hawaiian Airlines. 800/367–5320;

Island Air. 800/652–6541;

Makani Kai Air. 808/834--1111; 877/255--8532;

Mokulele Airlines. 808/495--4188; 866/260–7070;


Ready for a trip of a lifetime to Hawaii?