Flying time to Oahu is about 10 hours from New York, 8 hours from Chicago, and 5 hours from Los Angeles.
All of 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.
Airline Security Issues
Transportation Security Administration (808/831–2755. 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 20 minutes (9 miles) west of Waikiki, 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) (808/836–6413. hawaii.gov/hnl.)
Some hotels have their own pickup and drop-off service, though it may be for 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 green shirts, who will radio for a taxi. The fare to Waikiki runs approximately $35 to $40, plus 35¢ per bag, and tip, with a maximum of four passengers. An oversize baggage fee may apply.
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 $13 per person for one-way service, $24 round-trip.
TheBus, the municipal bus, will take you into Waikiki for only $2.50, but you are allowed only one bag, which must fit on your lap.
Roberts Hawaii (808/539–9400. 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, US Airways, and United serve Honolulu.
Alaska Airlines (800/252–7522. www.alaskaair.com.)
American Airlines (9–/433–7300. www.aa.com.)
Continental Airlines (800/523–3273 for U.S. and Mexico reservations; 800/231–0856 for international reservations. www.continental.com.)
Delta Airlines (800/221–1212 for U.S. reservations; 800/241–4141 for international reservations. www.delta.com.)
Hawaiian Airlines (800/367–5320. www.hawaiianairlines.com.)
United Airlines (800/864–8331 for U.S. reservations; 800/538–2929 for international reservations. www.united.com.)
US Airways (800/428–4322. www.usairways.com.)
Two bigger companies provide charter flights between the Islands. go! Airlines offers nonstop charter service from Oahu to Lanai and Maui. The company also serves the Big Island, Kauai, and Molokai. Mokulele Airlines, once merged with go!, also operates its own charter flights depending on the time of year and how busy commercial flight schedules are.
go! Airlines (888/435–9462. www.iflygo.com.)
Pacific Wings (888/575–4546. www.pacificwings.com.)
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 to 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 and go! Airlines, Island Air and Mokulele Airlines operate regular service between the Islands, so be sure to compare prices. All 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.)
IslandAir (800/652–6541. www.islandair.com.)