Flying time to Oahu 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 and certain other fruits must be treated, inspected, and stamped. But most other fruits are banned for export to the U.S. mainland. Flowers pass except for citrus-related flowers, fruits or parts, 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 hdoa.hawaii.gov/ai/aqs. Most 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 postarrival requirements are met, most animals qualify for a five-day-or-less quarantine.
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration. 866/289–9673; www.tsa.gov.
Air-Travel Resources in Oahu
State of Hawaii Airports Division Offices. 808/836–6413; www.hidot.hawaii.gov/airports.
Honolulu International Airport (HNL) is roughly 20 minutes (9 miles) west of Waikiki (40 minutes during rush hour), and is served by most of the major domestic and international carriers. To travel to other islands from Honolulu, you can depart from either the interisland terminal or the commuter-airline terminal, located in two separate structures adjacent to the main overseas terminal building. A free Wiki-Wiki shuttle bus operates between terminals.
Honolulu International Airport (HNL). 808/836–6411; airports.hawaii.gov/hnl/.
Some hotels have their own pickup and drop-off service, though they may charge a fee, so check when you book accommodations.
Taxi service is available on the center median just outside baggage-claim areas. Look for the taxi dispatchers wearing yellow shirts, who will radio for a taxi. The fare to Waikiki runs approximately $40–$45 plus 60¢ per bag, and tip, with a maximum of four passengers. An oversize baggage fee may apply. Uber and Lyft also serve the airport.
Another option is to take a private shuttle service like Roberts Hawaii. The company will greet you at the arrival gate, escort you to baggage claim, and take you to your hotel. Call ahead for the service, which costs $16 per person for one-way service, $32 round-trip.
TheBus, the municipal bus, will take you into Waikiki for only $2.75, but all bags must fit on your lap or under your legs.
Roberts Hawaii. 866/898--2523; www.robertshawaii.com.
TheBus. 808/848–5555; www.thebus.org.
Flights from the U.S. Mainland
From the U.S. mainland, Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Hawaiian, and United are the primary U.S. carriers to serve Honolulu. Southwest plans to add service to Hawaii in late 2018 or early 2019.
Alaska Airlines. 800/252–7522; www.alaskaair.com.
American Airlines. 800/433–7300; www.aa.com.
Delta Airlines. 800/221–1212; 800/241–4141; www.delta.com.
Hawaiian Airlines. 800/367–5320; www.hawaiianairlines.com.
Southwest. 800/435--9792; www.southwest.com.
United Airlines. 800/864–8331; www.united.com.
Mokulele Airlines operates charter flights between Oahu and the Big Island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. Several other smaller charter companies service the Neighbor Islands as well.
Mokulele Airlines. 866/260--7070; www.mokuleleairlines.com/charters.
If you've allotted more than a week for your vacation, you may want to consider visiting one of the other Hawaiian Islands. From Honolulu, flights depart almost hourly from early morning until evening. Since each flight lasts only 30–60 minutes, you can watch the sunrise on Oahu and sunset on the Big Island, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, or Molokai. To simplify your vacation, schedule your return flight to Oahu so that it coincides with your flight home.
In addition to Hawaiian Airlines , Mokulele Airlines operate regular service between the islands, so be sure to compare prices. Both have frequent-flyer programs that entitle you to rewards and upgrades. A number of wholesalers offer Neighbor Islands packages including air, hotel, rental car, and even visitor attractions or activities.
Mokulele Airlines. 866/260–7070; www.mokuleleairlines.com.