“Southwest Effect” Hits Hawaii Fares

Southwest Airlines finally performed its first test flight to Hawaii last week and airlines already appear to be lowering fares in response with flights as cheap as $358 round trip.

On Monday, flights from San Francisco to Honolulu started at $358 round trip for seven days of travel. Google’s flight price history shows flights reaching more than $600 for a similar trip in February. Air fares at several bay-area airports from which Southwest plans to fly to Hawaii also appeared lower.

Experts have used the term the “Southwest Effect” in the past to refer to competitors dropping flight prices in markets where Southwest enters in order to remain competitive. The real test will come when Southwest begins its long-awaited Hawaii service.

Southwest could announce more about its Hawaii flights on Thursday, according to the San Antonio-Express News.

Southwest performed the first test flight for its long-awaited Hawaii route last Tuesday. The airline’s plans were stalled by the U.S. government shutdown at the start of the year.

Last week’s test flight included Southwest and Federal Aviation Administration officials only. It was part of the company’s “ETOPS” application process that would allow their planes to fly routes over the Pacific Ocean.

Though there are still no exact routes known to the public, the airline said it plans to fly out of four California cities including Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and San Diego.

(The Dallas Morning News)

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