Flying time to Maui 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, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Island-hopping is easy, with more than 160 daily interisland flights connecting all the major islands. International travelers also have options: Oahu and the Big Island are gateways to the United States.
Although Maui’s airports are smaller and more casual than Oahu’s Daniel K. Inouye International, during peak times they can also be quite busy. Allow extra travel time to either airport during morning and afternoon rush-hour traffic periods, and allow time if you are returning a rental car. Plan to arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure for interisland flights.
Plants and plant products are subject to regulation by the Department of Agriculture, both when entering and leaving Hawaii. Upon leaving the Islands, you’re required 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 jade vine and mauna loa. Also banned are insects, snails, soil, cotton, cacti, sugarcane, and all berry plants, including fresh coffee berries.
Dogs and other pets must be left at home: a quarantine of up to 120 days is imposed to keep out rabies, which is nonexistent in Hawaii. However, if specific pre- and postarrival requirements are met, animals may qualify for 30-day or 5-day-or-less quarantine.
The Transportation Security Administration has answers for almost every question that might come up.
Air-Travel Resources in Maui
State of Hawaii Airports Division Offices. 808/836–6413; hidot.hawaii.gov.
All of Hawaii’s major islands have their own airports, but Oahu’s Daniel K. Inouye International is the main stopover for most U.S. mainland and international flights. From Honolulu, daily flights to Maui leave throughout the day from early morning until late evening. To travel interisland from Honolulu, you can depart from either the interisland terminal or the commuter-airline terminal, in two separate structures adjacent to the main overseas terminal building. A free bus service, the Wiki Wiki Shuttle, operates between terminals. In addition, several carriers offer nonstop service directly from the U.S. mainland to Maui. Flights from Honolulu into Lanai and Molokai are offered several times a day.
Maui has two major airports. Kahului Airport handles major airlines and interisland flights; it’s the only airport on Maui that has direct service from the mainland. Kapalua–West Maui Airport is served by Hawaiian and Mokulele airlines. If you’re staying in West Maui and you’re flying in from another island, you can avoid the hour drive from the Kahului Airport by flying into Kapalua–West Maui Airport. Hana Airport in East Maui is small; Mokulele Airlines flies twice per day between Kahului and Hana.
Molokai’s Hoolehua Airport is small and centrally located, as is Lanai Airport. Both rural airports handle a limited number of flights per day. There’s a small airfield at Kalaupapa on Molokai (prebook your ground tour with Damien Tours 808/567–6171). Visitors coming from the U.S. mainland to these islands must first stop in Oahu or Maui and change to an interisland flight. Lanai Airport has a federal agricultural inspection station, so guests departing to the mainland can check luggage directly.
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL). 300 Rodgers Blvd., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96819. 808/836–6411; www.airports.hawaii.gov/hnl.
Hana Airport (HNM). 700 Alalele Rd., Hana, Hawaii, 96713. 808/248–4861; www.airports.hawaii.gov/hnm.
Kahului Airport (OGG). 1 Keolani Pl., Kahului, Hawaii, 96732. 808/872–3830; www.airports.hawaii.gov/ogg.
Kalaupapa Airfield (LUP). Kalaupapa, Hawaii. 808/838–8701; www.airports.hawaii.gov/lup.
Kapalua–West Maui Airport (JHM). 4050 Honoapiilani Hwy, Lahaina, Hawaii, 96761. 808/665–6108; www.airports.hawaii.gov/jhm.
Lanai Airport (LNY). Lanai City, Hawaii, 96763. 808/565–7942; www.airports.hawaii.gov/lny.
Molokai Airport (MKK). 3980 Airport Loop, Hoolehua, Hawaii, 96729. 808/567–9660; www.airports.hawaii.gov/mkk.
If you’re not renting a car, you’ll need to take a taxi, or SpeediShuttle if your hotel is along its route. Maui Airport Taxi & Shuttle serves the Kahului Airport. Cab fares for up to five passengers to locations around the island are estimated as follows: Kaanapali $79, Kahului town $15, Kapalua $99, Kihei town $45, Lahaina $69, Maalaea $35, Makena $59, Wailea $50, and Wailuku $20.
SpeediShuttle offers transportation between the Kahului Airport and hotels, resorts, and condominium complexes throughout Maui. There is an online reservation and fare-quote system for information and bookings. You can expect to pay around $67 per couple to Kaanapali, $47 to Wailea.
Maui Airport Taxi & Shuttle. 808/877–2002; www.mauiairporttaxi-shuttle.com.
SpeediShuttle Hawaii. 877/242–5777; www.speedishuttle.com.
Service to Maui changes regularly, so it’s best to check when you are ready to book. Alaska Airlines offers nonstop flights from Anchorage, Bellingham, Wash.; Oakland; Portland, Ore.; Sacramento; San Diego; and Seattle. American Airlines flies from Dallas, Los Angeles, and Phoenix. Hawaiian Airlines has nonstop service from Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle; it also offers the only nonstop flight from JFK to Honolulu. United's nonstop flights leave from Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Delta has flights from Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. Virgin flies nonstop from Los Angeles and San Francisco. In addition to offering competitive rates and online specials, all have frequent-flyer programs that will entitle you to rewards and upgrades the more you fly.
George’s Aviation offers on-demand private air charters and cargo service between all the major Hawaiian Islands. Should you want to explore Maui, Kauai, Oahu, and the Big Island from the air and ground, you can book tours through Discover Hawaii Tours.
Discover Hawaii Tours. 808/690–9050; www.discoverhawaiitours.com.
George's Aviation. 808/834–2120; www.georgesaviation.com.
Hawaii's inter-island airline market can be volatile, and many smaller carriers have come and gone over the years, abruptly ceasing service. The exception is Hawaiian Airlines, which has a long history of safe reliable flying. It offers regular interisland service to Maui’s Kahului and Kapalua airports. Mokulele Airlines provides interisland service between Maui (Kahului), Lanai, Molokai (Hoolehua), Oahu, Kauai, and the Big Island. Makani Kai Air provides service between Maui (Kahului) and Molokai (Hoolehua and Kalaupapa). Mokulele also services Maui’s Kapalua and Hana airports.
Be sure to compare prices offered by all the interisland carriers. Plan ahead and be flexible with your dates and times if you're looking for an affordable round-trip.
Hawaiian Airlines. 800/367–5320; www.hawaiianairlines.com.
Makani Kai Air. 808/834--1111; 877/255--8532; www.makanikaiair.com.
Mokulele Airlines. 808/495--4188; 866/260–7070; www.mokuleleairlines.com.