Southwest Airlines has started selling tickets to Hawaii with service beginning March 17.
Southwest Airlines’ cheapest tickets to Hawaii are rapidly disappearing just a few hours after they went on sale, and some flights to Hawaii are entirely sold out in March.
The airline’s eye-catching $49 fares from Oakland to Honolulu, which were available on Tuesdays and Wednesdays into June, are gone, according to Southwest’s website. The airline is showing no availability in March at any price for that route and scant availability in April.
There are also no more $49 flights from Oakland to Maui, which starts April 7. The lowest fare, available on a handful of dates in April and May: $79.
Southwest’s flights between San Jose and Hawaii, which debut in May, also went on sale Monday, and the $49 introductory fares on those routes are gone, too. As of 12:30 p.m. ET, there were a few dates in May with $99 one-way fares between San Jose and Maui and a few May dates with $119 fare each way from San Jose to Honolulu.
Southwest’s $49 fares always sell out quickly during the carrier’s twice-a-year mega fare sales, in June and October, though they are generally only available for short flights. The cheap tickets have disappeared even more quickly on the Hawaii flights given the $98 round trip bargain — fares between Oakland and Honolulu started at $328 round trip on competing airlines Sunday for an early April trip — as well as demand for the service and the limited number of flights.
Southwest is starting with a single daily flight from Oakland to Honolulu, for example. Each flight can accommodate 175 passengers.
Competing for those seats: travelers buying tickets, cashing in frequent-flier miles (the lower the price, the fewer miles required) and those paying for one ticket and getting a companion ticket for free under Southwest’s generous companion-pass program. The airline offered a free companion pass earlier this year to travelers who signed up for one of its frequent flier credit cards, and many travelers signed up specifically to use it on Hawaii flights.
Travelers who didn’t snag the $49 tickets early Monday are turning to social media to vent.
One user wrote: “Went from really good deal to you can find it cheaper else where in 20 minutes!!”
Southwest responded to one customer: “As there are many avenues to book, fares for peak travel times tend to sell out quickly. We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope to see you in the sky soon!”
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