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What is the best airline for island hopping in Hawaii?
If you plan to stay in Hawaii for more than a few days, island hopping is probably on your itinerary. You may be wondering “what is the best airline island hopping in Hawaii?”
I had been to Hawaii many times and taken several interisland flights before discovering the best airline for island hopping in Hawaii. As of the writing of this post, the only airlines offering interisland flights are Hawaiian Airlines and Mokulele Airlines. Island Air went under in 2017, and Go! Airlines and Aloha Airlines have been out of the game for years.
I should mention that Southwest is supposed to start offering interisland flights in 2019. I will do an update to this post (and review the Southwest flights to Hawaii) when that happens.
Currently, Hawaiian Airlines (which you’ve probably heard of!) handles 90% of interisland travel. One choice that you may not have heard of is Mokulele Airlines. Mokulele is family-owned commuter airline based in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.
I have nothing to complain about with Hawaiian Airlines, but today I am going to talk about Mokulele Airlines. You might want to choose Mokulele because they have over 120 daily flights, each plane has two pilots, and they have great rates on interisland flights.
This post is not sponsored in any way. We purchased our own tickets (not even at a travel agent discount) and loved the experience so much that I wanted to write about it.
Our Mokulele Experience
How we discovered Mokulele Airlines was actually completely by accident. We booked our interisland flight as part of a package and never closely looked at the airline. We dropped off our car and headed to the shuttle.
Our shuttle bus driver mentioned something to us about no TSA checks on Mokulele. We fly a lot and often at smaller airports. To us, we thought that meant that they would be a very quick way to get through the TSA check as it usually is at small airports. Actually what he meant was that there would be no TSA check at all.
We went up to the counter and were asked how much we weighed. This is a little bit alarming and not something you usually experience at an airline counter. We learned that we would be flying on a tiny plane with only 9 seats +2 for the pilots.
The whole experience was an unexpected surprise, but that’s what you get when you don’t do your research! Just another reason to book your vacation through a travel agent. 😉
Things to know about Mokulele Airlines
- One smaller carry-on item and one personal item are free, but there isn’t a lot of space for them. My husband and I just put our backpacks down by our feet. No big deal!
- For this particular trip, I did have a larger rolling carry-on size bag that I had to check. It only cost $20 to check this bag. I had camera gear in the bag and I normally would not have wanted to check it, but since there were only eight people on the flight besides my husband and me, I wasn’t worried. 🙂
- There are no flight attendants on Mokulele Airlines. Since there is no TSA check, you can bring your own water and snacks.
- You may bring an FAA-approved car seat on board for children.
- Mokulele does not have seat assignments, but it doesn’t really matter. There are no “inside” seats.
- Mokulele Airlines flies from Honolulu, Kahului, Hana, Kamuela, Ho’olehua (Molokai,) Kona and Kapalua.
The Mokulele Airlines flight
The process was actually really fun. You wait at the gate and the pilot comes and gets you to walk to the plane. Our pilots were two women who were probably in their late 20s. Not your stereotypical airline pilot which is kind of refreshing. They were very nice and did a fantastic job.
The best part about Mokulele airlines is that planes fly very low. This gives you an incredible view of the islands both that you’re taking off and wait. You can also see boats in the water as you fly over. We flew from Kahului (Maui) to Kona (Big Island) and the views were amazing.
You might also enjoy: The 7 best things to do on Maui
We saw parts of Maui that we definitely hadn’t seen from the ground, and we drove all over the island!
All in all, flying on Mokulele Airlines was an incredible experience. We had flown on many interisland flights and nothing compared to the experience of flying with Mokulele. I highly recommend choosing Mokulele Airlines for your Hawaii island hopping.
Best Airline for island hopping in Hawaii? Mokulele for sure!
I hope you enjoyed this post about the best airline for island hopping in Hawaii! If you’re planning your next Hawaii vacation, I’d love to help! I am a Hawaii Destination Specialist and I’d love to help make your dream vacation a reality. Planning a vacation doesn’t need to be stressful.
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