3 – Getting there and getting around

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Getting there and getting around

Easy and effortless exploration

hawaii islands small map
Hawaii – Click to enlarge

Getting to Hawaii

Getting to Hawaii is now easier than ever thanks to increased air access from gateways across North America and Asia.

Great driving routes include:

• Undoubtedly one of the most spectacular drives is through the Kokee state park on Kauai – at the top you will be rewarded with the most amazing views over Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, as well as the dramatic Na Pali Coast itself.
• The dramatic Hana Highway along Maui’s north coast, with its verdant rainforest, waterfalls and spectacular overlooks.
• Maui also boasts the winding Crater Road to the top of dormant volcano Haleakala – the perfect spot to watch sunrise.
• A round-island tour of Oahu can include a stop at Diamond Head to watch surfers on the South Shore below as well as scenic overlooks on the way up to the North Shore. • The Big Island certainly lives up to its name and it is therefore recommended to break the route up into two days. This allows a full day to explore the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park plus Ka Lae, the southernmost point of the US, and another to enjoy the northern sights, including the spectacular Waipio Valley, the lush Hilo-Hamakua Heritage Coast and the arid lava fields of its north-east coast.

Los Angeles and San Francisco are the most popular access points, but there are numerous options allowing for a stopover en route. Chicago and Dallas are among the main stopover points and on the east coast New York is another increasingly popular alternative for those who want to shop and flop. Amongst the other routes available are flights via Houston, Atlanta and Vancouver.

If you’d prefer not to fly via North America there’s now the option to go the other way round and explore a whole new culture along the way! Korean Air has recently launched competitive fares from London Heathrow straight to the paradise Islands of Aloha® giving travellers the opportunity to stopover, soak up the culture and enjoy a taste of the Far East. This means that holidaymakers now have an alternative means of travelling to Hawaii other than via the traditional US West Coast gateways yet in nearly the same amount of time.

Most flights serve Honolulu on Oahu while a number fly from the US West Coast to Kahului/Maui (OGG), Līhue/Kauai (LIH) and Kona/Big Island (KOA) airports. Total flying time is approximately 16 hours from the UK, excluding the connection time between flights.

Who Flies To Hawaii?

Now that we have established the main gateways to Hawaii, let’s find out which airlines fly you there. Hawaii is served by a number of well-known and reliable airlines with flights from London Heathrow (LHR) and London Gatwick (LGW) to Honolulu International Airport (HNL) on Oahu. Further down you will also find flights from Ireland (Dublin/DUB & Shannon/SNN) to Honolulu (HNL) with only one stop en route.

Flights from the UK to Honolulu (HNL)

Air CanadaLHR via Vancouver (YVR)
American AirlinesLHR via Los Angeles (LAX) and Chicago (ORD)
LGW via Dallas (DFW)
Continental AirlinesLGW via New York (EWR)
LGW via Houston (IAH)
LHR via Los Angeles (LAX) – (Codeshare: Virgin Atlantic)
LHR via San Francisco (SFO) – (Codeshare: Virgin Atlantic)
Delta AirlinesLGW via Atlanta (ATL)
Korean AirLHR via Seoul (ICN)
United AirlinesLHR via San Francisco (SFX)
Los Angeles (LAX)
Chicago (ORD)
US AirwaysLHR via Tokyo (NRT) – (Codeshare: All Nippon)
Virgin Atlantic AirwaysLHR via Los Angeles (LAX)

Flights from Ireland (with only one stop en route)

American AirlinesDublin (DUB) via Chicago (ORD)
Continental AirlinesDublin (DUB) via New York (EWR)
Shannon (SNN) via New York (EWR)

Island Hopping In Hawaii

hawaii - island hopping
© Hawaii Tourism Japan

By Air – Regular inter-island flights link the islands together, ensuring you can easily experience their different charms. Services are operated by Hawaiian Airlines, Aloha Airlines and Island Air as well as Maui-based Pacific Wings. Low-cost carriers FlyHawaii Airlines and Mesa Air have plans to introduce inter-island flights in 2006. All airlines have frequent schedules and offer discounted packages. Here are the three letter codes of the main airports on each of the main islands:

OahuHonolulu International Airport (HNL)
Big IslandHilo Int’l Airport (ITO)
Keahole – Kona Int’l Airport (KOA)
MauiKahului Airport (OGG)
KauaiLihue Airport (LIH)
MolokaiMolokai Airport (MKK)
LanaiLanai Airport (LNY)

By Sea – Cruising is another way of travelling between the islands, with several cruise companies, including Norwegian Cruise Line, offering sailing itineraries for between 6 and 11 days.

Small ferries currently link Lahaina on Maui with Lanai and Molokai.

In 2007, the Hawaii Superferry plans to offer crossings between some of the islands. The crossings scheduled to be launched then are:

  • Daily round trip services from Honolulu, Oahu to Kahului, Maui
  • Services from Honolulu, Oahu to Lihue, Kauai
  • Services from Honolulu, Oahu to Kawaihae, the Big Island

In 2008, Superferry plans to extend its routes with further added:

  • Daily round trip services from Honolulu, Oahu to Lihue, Kauai
  • Daily round trip services from Honolulu, Oahu to Kawaihae, the Big Island
  • Twice daily to Kahului, Maui

hawaii - haleakala highway
© Hawaii Tourism Japan

Getting Around the Islands

To ensure your clients get the most out of their trip to Hawaii’s paradise islands, it is recommendable to tour the islands by car. Not only do they have the comfort and freedom of their own vehicle but, with so many hidden coves and beaches to discover, part of the fun is to pack a picnic and set off in search for their own tranquil space to unwind. Your clients don’t even need an international driver’s license as a UK one will do. Do note however that your clients will need to be over 25 years of age and need to be in possession of a major credit card such as VISA, Mastercard or American Express. Alternatively, the Oahu bus system is considered the best in the US and is an easy way to get around.

Each island can be toured by a car in a day, even though the Big Island – which is the size of Wales and also the size of all the other main islands combined – involves a 200 mile circular drive.

Hiring a car in a resort is easy and can be organised through the hotel. Alternatively, book in advance in the UK through any of the major rental car agencies. Car hire is very reasonably priced in Hawaii, with average prices of around $50-$60 per day including insurance.

For those who prefer to stay in an area where everything is within walking distance, then Waikiki on the island of Oahu fits the bill perfectly. Here you have the famous Waikiki Beach, which is great for surfing, catamaran cruises, sailing, snorkelling trips as well as offering stunning hotels with fantastic ocean views, a great range of restaurants, buzzing nightlife and fantastic shopping.

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Sponsored by United Airlines

Hawaii – the Aloha State – welcomes and seduces visitors with its sea breezes and tropical warmth.

United can help you to discover Hawaii like no other airline, flying to four of the Hawaiian Islands, Kauai, Hawaii, Maui and Oahu. United is the leading airline to Hawaii and serves the Hawaiian Islands from three US cities, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

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United operates 10 daily non-stop flights from London Heathrow to the U.S., serving five gateway cities: Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington D.C., making your connection to Hawaii simple.

From To
Los AngelesLihue
San Francisco Kona

United Economy incorporating Economy Plus®

United was the first airline to offer up to five inches of additional legroom with Economy Plus. This feature is available on most aircraft on a first-come, first-served basis to Global Services, Mileage Plus Premier®, Star Alliance Gold and Silver members, and above, as well as full-fare United Economy® customers.

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Header images, left to right: 1: Lava, © Big Island Visitors Bureau / David O. Baldwin | 2: Kaneohe Bay, © Oahu Visitors Bureau | 3: Kokee State Park, © HVCB / Ron Dahlquist | 4: Molokini, © HVCB / Ron Dahlquist

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