Flying time to Hawaii is about 10 hours from New York, 8 hours from Chicago, and 5 hours from Los Angeles.
Hawaii is a major destination link for flights traveling between the U.S. mainland and Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Although the Neighbor Islands' airports are smaller and more casual than Honolulu International, during peak times they can also be quite busy. Allot extra travel time to all airports during morning and afternoon rush-hour traffic periods.
Plan to arrive at the airport at least 60 minutes before departure for interisland flights.
Plants and plant products are subject to regulation by the Department of Agriculture, both on entering and leaving Hawaii. Upon leaving the Islands, you'll have to have your bags X-rayed and tagged at one of the airport's agricultural inspection stations 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.
You'll have to leave dogs and other pets at home. A 120-day quarantine is imposed to keep out rabies, which is nonexistent in Hawaii. If specific pre- and post-arrival requirements are met, animals may qualify for a 30-day or five-day-or-less quarantine.
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration (www.tsa.gov.)
Air Travel Resources in Hawaii
State of Hawaii Airports Division Offices (808/836–6413. www.hawaii.gov/dot/airports.)
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. No matter the island, all of Hawaii's airports are "open-air," meaning you can enjoy those trade-wind breezes up until the moment you step on the plane.
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.
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) (808/836–6411. www.hawaii.gov/hnl.)
Maui has two 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 Hawaiian Air and Island Air. The tiny town of Hana in East Maui also has an airstrip, served by Pacific Wings 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.
Kahului Airport (OGG) (808/872–3830. hawaii.gov/ogg.)
Kapalua–West Maui Airport (JHM) (808/665–6108. hawaii.gov/jhm.)
Hana Airport (HNM) (808/248–4861. hawaii.gov/hnm.)
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.
Hilo International Airport (ITO) (808/961–9300. hawaii.gov/ito.)
Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) (808/327–9520. hawaii.gov/koa.)
Waimea-Kohala Airport (MUE) (808/887–8126. hawaii.gov/mue.)
On Kauai, visitors fly into Lihue Airport, on the east side of the island.
Lihue Airport (LIH) (808/274–3800. hawaii.gov/lih.)
Molokai and Lanai Airports
Molokai's Hoolehua 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 in Maui or Oahu and change to an interisland flight.
Lanai Airport (LNY) (808/565–7942. hawaii.gov/lny.)
Hoolehua Airport (MKK) (808/567–9660. hawaii.gov/mkk.)
US Airways, American, and United fly into Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Alaska flies into Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. Delta serves Oahu (Honolulu), Maui, and the Big Island. Hawaiian Airlines flies direct into Oahu from many cities in the western United States. In 2012 it added direct service from New York's JFK Airport.
Hawaiian Airlines, go! Mokulele Airlines, Island Air, and Pacific Wings offer regular service between the Islands. 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. Inter-island fares have increased in recent years, but if you are somewhat flexible with your dates and times you may find a lower fare.
There are three companies that provide charter flights between the Islands. go! Mokulele Airlines services Oahu, Maui, and Molokai. Pacific Wings serves Oahu, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, and the Big Island. Services include premiere (same-day departures on short notice), premium (24-hour notice), group, and cargo/courier. The company also has a frequent-flier program. Paragon Air offers 24-hour private charter service from any airport in Hawaii. In business since 1980, the company prides itself on its perfect safety record. Should you want to explore Kaluapapa or other sites on Molokai and Maui from the air and ground, you can book tours through Paragon that depart from either the Kahului or Kapalua-West Maui airport.
Alaska Airlines (800/252–7522. www.alaskaair.com.)
American Airlines (800/433–7300. www.aa.com.)
Delta Airlines (800/221–1212. www.delta.com.)
United Airlines (800/864–8331. www.united.com.)
US Airways (800/428–4322. www.usairways.com.)
go! Mokulele Airlines (888/435–9462. www.iflygo.com.)
Hawaiian Airlines (800/367–5320. www.hawaiianairlines.com.)
Pacific Wings (888/575–4546. www.pacificwings.com.)
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