Hawaii is a top honeymoon destination for good reason. Its stunning scenery, warm hospitality, rich culture, delicious food, and wide range of outdoor activities make Hawaii a favorite spot for romantic travel. For U.S. couples on the West Coast, Hawaii is also popular because it’s fairly close. Also, since Hawaii is a state, you don’t have to worry about passports, visas, or currency exchange rates.
If you’re dreaming of a Hawaiian honeymoon or holiday, you’re probably curious about getting there. This article will answer questions about flying to Hawaii, including How long are flights to Hawaii? What are the best airlines to fly to Hawaii? What are some flight search tips for Hawaii? How can I make my flight to Hawaii more enjoyable? How can I deal with jet lag in Hawaii? Read on for all you need to know about traveling to Hawaii as efficiently and pleasantly as possible.
How long is the flight to Hawaii? The length of your flight to Hawaii will depend on where you’re traveling from. Flights from the West Coast are shorter, obviously, but as you’ll see, it actually makes a difference in which city you leave from. Flight time to Hawaii will also vary depending on whether you book a nonstop flight or have one or more layovers.
Flights to Hawaii from the West Coast
Nonstop flights to Hawaii from the California coast take between just under 6 hours to just over 6 hours, depending on which city you depart from. Hawaii is closer to northern California than Southern California, so a flight from San Francisco will be shorter than from San Diego. It generally doesn’t matter which Hawaiian airport you fly into.
Flights to Hawaii from San Francisco, San Jose, and Sacramento tend to last about 5 and a half hours.
Flights to Hawaii from Los Angeles take about 5 hours and 50 minutes, and flights to Hawaii from San Diego take about 6 hours and 15 minutes.
Interestingly, going further north on the West Coast doesn’t make the flight even shorter. A nonstop flight from Seattle to Hawaii takes just over 6 hours.
Also interesting is that your return flight from Hawaii to California will be shorter. Flights from Hawaii to San Francisco, San Jose, or Sacramento take about 5 hours; flights from Hawaii to Los Angeles take about 5 hours and 10 minutes, and flights from Hawaii to San Diego take about 5 hours and 25 minutes.
Flights to Hawaii from the East Coast
Flights to Hawaii from the East Coast of the U.S. take longer than flights from the West Coast, of course. Nonstop travel from the East Coast to Hawaii takes about 11 hours, but most flights stop on the West Coast so the total time will be longer. For example, a flight to Hawaii from New York City will take 11 hours if it’s nonstop, and 12-14 hours with one-stop.
Flights to Hawaii from Middle U.S.
If you’re flying to Hawaii from midwestern or southern states, direct flights range in length from about 8 to 10 hours. However, many flights stop on the West Coast, so the total travel time can be longer. Here are some examples of flights to Hawaii from the midwestern and southern U.S.: nonstop from Dallas, 8 hours; nonstop from Atlanta, 9 hours and 45 minutes; nonstop from Minneapolis, 8 and a half hours; from Chicago with one-stop, 14 hours; from Denver with one-stop, 13 hours.
Best Airlines to Fly to Hawaii
Most major airlines fly to Hawaii, including American Airlines, Delta, United, and Southwest; regional airlines include Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines. It’s tough to say which is the best airline to fly to Hawaii, because that will depend on your departure city.
That said, Hawaiian Airlines is one of the best airlines to fly to Hawaii because it offers more flights from U.S. cities than any other airline. If you live on the West Coast, Alaska Airlines also offers a ton of flights to Hawaii.
If you’re flying from California, Hawaiian Airlines, Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Southwest, and United all have daily direct flights between California and Hawaii. If you’re coming from another state, check your closest departure airport to see which airlines fly to Hawaii from there. The best airline to fly to Hawaii will vary depending on what flights are available from where you live.
If “best” to you means which airlines have the best safety records on flights to Hawaii, or are on time the most, here is that information. The safest airlines flying to Hawaii are Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines. The airlines with the best on-time records to Hawaii are Hawaiian, Delta, Alaska, American, United, and Southwest.
Tips for Searching Flights to Hawaii
OK, it’s time to book your flight to Hawaii. You will have two main considerations: schedule and cost. Ideally, you’d get there as quickly and cheaply as possible, but sometimes you must choose one or the other. Here are some Hawaii flight search tips to help you save money and find the best possible flight.
- Use a travel search engine like Skyscanner, Kayak, or Kiwi to find the best fares and routes, then book directly with the airline. Booking directly ensures that if trouble happens, you can be helped by the airline; if you book through a third party, you have to go through them which can be very difficult. (Remember that Southwest fares don’t show up on search engines, so you’ll need to look at their website if that’s an airline that flies to Hawaii from where you are.)
- Be as flexible with your dates and airline choices as you can. This will allow you to search for the best flight to Hawaii at the best price.
- Don’t just choose the cheapest price; pay attention to the flight details. It can be worth it to pay more money for a nonstop flight or fewer connections, just to avoid any hassle, potential delays, and possible luggage issues.
- Use Seat Guru to look at the configuration of the planes on the flights you’re considering. Plane designs vary, along with details like legroom and headroom. A few extra inches can make a big difference in your comfort on a long flight.
- If you don’t live on the West Coast, try to choose a returning flight that leaves Hawaii in the morning so you can get home that same day. Because of the time difference, later flights can make you travel overnight.
- Use a travel agent; they know the tricks of the trade and may have access to deals you don’t.
- Consider booking a travel package to Hawaii that bundles airfare along with accommodations. Check out our article on Hawaiian honeymoons for some great deals on travel to Hawaii.
How to Make Your Flight to Hawaii More Enjoyable
No one loves a long flight, but you don’t have to be miserable. If you have a long flight to Hawaii, here are some things you can do to make it more enjoyable.
- Book a seat with additional legroom, like a bulkhead or exit row seat, if possible.
- Make sure all your devices are charged and fully loaded with any movies you want to watch or music you want to listen to. Depending on the flight, you may not be able to access WiFi. Be sure to bring your charger on the plane with you.
- Bring a book, crossword puzzle, or some other way to pass the time as well, just in case.
- If you want to watch in-flight movies, bring a pair of headphones with around jack.
- Bring some food! Airlines these days don’t provide much to eat, and you don’t want to be starving on a long flight. Eat before you leave if you can, and pack some healthy snacks like nuts, granola bars, fruit, etc. If you’re going to be flying through a mealtime, get something in the airport and bring it on board with you rather than assume the airline will feed you. Try to avoid salty foods as those can be dehydrating.
- Drink plenty of water both before and during the flight to keep hydrated; airplane air is super dry. Drinks with caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating, so avoid those.
- Get up and walk around several times during the flight to stretch your muscles and get your circulation going.
- Bring a jacket, wrap, or light blanket on board (plus socks if you’re not wearing any) in case you get cold on the flight. Most planes have blankets available, but yours may not. A scarf or wrap can be great to put over the airplane pillow, to protect against any germs.
- Speaking of germs, bring hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes onboard, and wipe down everything around your seat as soon as you sit down—armrests, seatbelt buckle, air nozzles, tray, etc. Yes, they say they’re cleaning everything really well, but you don’t want to catch any kind of germ on your vacation! To further boost your immune system, take extra vitamin C and vitamin D starting the week before you travel, and continue it throughout your trip.
Dealing With Jet Lag in Hawaii
Jet lag is a condition that occurs when your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle is disrupted, such as when you fly across time zones. It can cause fatigue, nausea, and a general feeling of being unwell. When flying to Hawaii, depending on your departure city, you may experience some jet lag symptoms. You’ll experience jet lag upon your return home from Hawaii as well. Here are some tips to minimize the ill effects.
Hawaii doesn’t observe Daylight Savings Time, so the time difference from mainland U.S. will vary depending on when you travel. Hawaii is 2-3 hours behind Pacific Time, 4-5 hours behind Central Time, and 5-6 hours behind Eastern Time. Travelers who live on the West Coast may not notice many jet lag symptoms, but those coming from the middle U.S. and East Coast probably will.
One way to avoid jet lag is by preparing for your flight before you even leave the house. Start by gradually adjusting your sleep schedule in the days leading up to your trip. Try going to bed and waking up later each day. This will help your body slowly get used to the new time zone.
However, another alternative is to stay on your home time schedule during your visit to Hawaii. Depending on where you live, this could have you getting up just before dawn. Sunrise happens early in Hawaii, so this might be fairly easy. An advantage to this is not only getting to see Hawaii’s amazing sunrises but also being out and about before most of the other tourists. You may need to go to bed pretty early, but you’ll have packed a lot into your day! Doing this can make your return home much easier.
In addition, make sure to hydrate both before and during your flight. Drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine or alcohol, which can dehydrate you. It may be tempting to celebrate your trip with an inflight cocktail, but hold off. It’s also important to stay active while on the plane by stretching or taking a walk down the aisle every few hours.
When you arrive in Hawaii, your flight will most likely land in the afternoon. If you want to switch to Hawaii time, be sure not to nap that day, even if you’re tired. Be active and stay up as late as you can.
If you’ve already arrived at your destination and are dealing with jet lag, there are a few things you can do to feel better. First, get some sunlight as soon as possible after landing. This will help reset your body’s internal clock.
It’s also important to stick to a regular sleep schedule as much as possible and avoid napping during the day. Finally, make sure to eat healthy meals and stay hydrated.
Jet lag can be tough, but following these tips should help you minimize its effects.
Now that you know how long flights to Hawaii are, what the best airlines to fly to Hawaii are, how to book flights to Hawaii, how to make your flight to Hawaii more enjoyable, and how to handle jet lag in Hawaii, you’re ready to actually go and enjoy Hawaii! Aloha and safe travels!
Ashley has always loved to explore new places and indulges her passion for travel whenever she can. She has been to 12 countries and 32 states so far.
Ashley has worked as a freelance writer for more than 20 years, specializing in the areas of travel, marketing, personal development, and the pursuit of happiness.
Favorite destinations include Sorrento and Capri, Italy; Haarlem, Netherlands; Paris; Sydney and K’gari, Australia; Rotorua and Waiheke Island, New Zealand; the American West; Palm Beach; the Florida Keys; and her hometown of New Orleans. Ashley has a goal of visiting every state plus many more international destinations.