Flying time to Oahu or Maui 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 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 post-arrival requirements are met, most animals qualify for a five-day-or-less quarantine.
Air-Travel Resources in Hawaii
State of Hawaii Airports Division Offices. 808/836–6413; www.hidot.hawaii.gov/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.
Big Island of Hawaii Airports
Those flying to the Big Island regularly land at one of two fields. Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole, on the west side, serves Kailua-Kona, Keauhou, the Kohala Coast, North Kohala, Waimea, and points south. Hilo International Airport is more appropriate for those planning visits based on the east side of the island.
Waimea-Kohala Airport, called Kamuela Airport by residents, is used primarily for private flights between islands, but has recently welcomed one commercial carrier with a single route.
Hilo International Airport (ITO). Hawaii. 808/961–9300; hawaii.gov/ito.
Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA). Hawaii. 808/327–9520; hawaii.gov/koa.
Waimea-Kohala Airport (MUE). Hawaii. 808/887–8126; hawaii.gov/mue.
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/.
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; www.hawaii.gov/dot/airports.
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.
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.
Kapalua–West Maui Airport (JHM). 4050 Honoapiilani Hwy, Lahaina, Hawaii, 96761. 808/665–6108; www.airports.hawaii.gov/jhm.
Molokai’s transportation hub is Hoolehua Airport, a tiny airstrip 8 miles west of Kaunakakai and about 18 miles east of Maunaloa. An even smaller airstrip serves the little community of Kalaupapa on the north shore.
Molokai Airport (MKK). 3980 Airport Loop, Hoolehua, Hawaii, 96729. 808/567–9660; www.airports.hawaii.gov/mkk.
Lanai's tiny airport is in Lanai City.
Lanai Airport (LNY). Lanai City, Hawaii, 96763. 808/565–7942; www.airports.hawaii.gov/lny.
Big Island of Hawaii: Serving Kona are Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Japan Airlines, Mokulele, United Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Westjet. Hawaiian, Mokulele, and United fly also into Hilo.
Kauai: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian, and United Airlines all offer nonstop flights to Kauai from the mainland U.S.; all other Mainland flights require a connection in Honolulu.
Lanai and Molokai: No airlines fly nonstop to either island from the mainland U.S. All flights to Lanai are via Honolulu; you can take local flights to Molokai from the Big Island of Hawaii, Honolulu, or Maui.
Maui: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, United offer nonstop service from the U.S. mainland.
Oahu: 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.
Mainland Airline Contacts
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.
Interisland Airline Contacts
Hawaiian Airlines. 800/367–5320; www.hawaiianairlines.com.
Makani Kai Air. 808/834--1111; 877/255--8532; www.makanikaiair.com.
Mokulele Airlines. 866/260–7070; www.mokuleleairlines.com.