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Best Airport to Fly into Hawaii
Here is your complete guide for the best airport to fly into Hawaii. You might think that when planning a Hawaii vacation, you must fly into Honolulu. However, as a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am here to tell you that isn’t the case at all!
Today, we will discuss the best airport to fly into Hawaii, along with which cities offer nonstop flights to Hawaii and so much more.
I strongly recommend renting a car on any of the Hawaiian islands. You will need a car anywhere but Oahu, but even on Oahu, I recommend one if you want to explore the beautiful island outside of Honolulu and Waikiki.
You’ll find the best prices anywhere at Discount Hawaii Car Rental.
Major Airports on the Hawaiian Islands
- Honolulu or HNL on Oahu
- Kahului or OGG on Maui
- Lihue or LIH on Kauai
- Kona or KOA on the West Kona Side of the Big Island
- Hilo or ITO on the Wast Hilo Side of the Big Island
- Lanai City or LNY on Lanai
- Kaunakakai or MKK on Molokai
So many people believe that you must start by flying into Honolulu for your vacation in the Aloha State. However, that isn’t true. You can easily take direct flights to many of the major airports on the other Hawaiian Islands. These direct flights are offered from a few cities within the United States.
Those direct flights may be your best option when you don’t want to waste time reaching your destination.
The only exceptions are the major airports in Lanai and Molokai. For those, you must fly into the Honolulu International Airport on Oahu or Kahului Airport on Maui first. Then you can catch a connecting flight to these other islands in Hawaii.
It is important to leave yourself enough time between connecting flights. Since the bigger airports are quite busy and large, it can take a little time to reach your gate. The good news is you will have plenty of gift shops to peruse if you have more time than you need.
Do I need a rental car in Hawaii?
You will find plenty of car rentals when you fly into the airports in Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. Rental cars will be far and few between on the islands of Lanai and Molokai. Keep this in mind as you are planning your Hawaiian vacation.
Public transportation is not readily available outside of Oahu, so make sure to reserve a car well in advance! As a Hawaii Travel Agent, I highly recommend renting on any island in Hawaii.
You’ll find the best prices anywhere at Discount Hawaii Car Rental. Some people say you don’t need a rental car on Oahu, which is true! However, if you truly want to explore the island, I recommend renting a car. For other islands, it’s a must!
Now that you know what the major airports on each Hawaii Island are, let’s dive deeper into the airports you may find yourself in during your vacation.
What is the Best Airport to Fly into Hawaii?
Here are the best airports to fly into Hawaii, starting with the largest airport, Daniel K Inouye International Airport.
Daniel K. Inoyu International Airport
This is the official name of the Honolulu airport on Oahu. This is the best airport to fly into Hawaii if you are planning on staying on the island of Oahu.
You can also catch a connecting flight to one of the smaller islands in Hawaii from this airport in downtown Honolulu.
Dozens of flights arrive from the US mainland every single day. This may be because it is considered one of the cheapest airports to fly into in Hawaii. People often find the best price for their flight at this airport.
This is a very busy airport. You will find that it is always crowded. I recommend considering your travel times carefully if you want to avoid the crowds. This is especially true when booking your return flight.
The views you see when you arrive will make you forget about all the people. Hopefully you have a window seat on the plane. If you do, you can see Diamond Head and other landmarks on the southern side of the island as you are landing!
If you are staying outside of Honolulu during your visit, try to take the time to stop at Waikiki Beach. This is the most popular beach on the island. And it is a must-see if this is your first time on the island.
Kahului Airport is the major airport on the island of Maui. While this is the biggest airport on the island, it may not be the one you want to fly into.
I only recommend flying into the Kahului Airport if you are staying near Kihei. If you decide to stay near Hana or over in Lahaina, there are other airports on this island that will be better for your needs. Unfortunately, you will need to take a connecting flight from a major airport to those smaller airports.
But that is a great option if you are island hopping in Hawaii. And we all know island hopping is the best way to really discover the best of these islands!
Above, I mentioned choosing a smaller airport in Maui if you are staying near Hana. That smaller airport is Hana Airport.
Your main reason for being on this side of the island is to tackle the Road to Hana. Just don’t forget to stop at the black sand beaches during your drive. They are definitely worthy of a few minutes of your time!
There is only one runway at this airport. That runway is between the Pacific Ocean and the rainforest. You will definitely have stunning views during takeoff and landing at this airport.
This is the other smaller airport on Maui. Many people land at this airport when they take inter-island flights especially since it is the best airport when you are staying on the west side of Maui.
General aviation flights and times vary at this airport. You may need to really search for flight prices you want to pay that work well with the best time to travel.
The official name of this airport is Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport or KOA. You will find this airport on the Big Island.
This is the best airport to fly into Hawaii when you are staying on the west side of this island.
Hilo International Airport
Hilo International Airport is your best option when you want to spend most of your time on the east coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is on this side of the island. However, know that I recommend staying on the west side and doing day trips to Volcanoes National Park or east side fun!
No trip to this island would be complete without a visit to Mauna Kea and the Hamakua Coast too. They are located on the north shore and east side of the island.
You will most likely need to stop in Honolulu and take a connecting flight to Hilo. Or utilize one of the interisland flights from another Hawaiian Island.
You will always need to fly into Lihue Airport when you are vacationing on the island of Kauai. You may be lucky enough to find non-stop flights here from the US. However, most of the time, you will need to fly into Honolulu first, especially if you are searching for cheap flights. That said, I recommend flying into the island you’re visiting if possible to make it easier!
You may be unsure of whether or not you want to visit Kauai. Well, a flight to this island will ensure you can see the beautiful Na Pali Coast. Other incredible options on this Garden Island include Waimea Canyon and beautiful beaches.
Lanai City Airport
An interisland flight will be necessary if you want to fly into Lanai City. The island of Lanai has one of the smallest airports. This shouldn’t be surprising since it is a small island!
If the last thing you want to do is get on a plane to see this Hawaiian Island, you have options. You can always take the ferry from Lahaina Harbor in Maui to Lanai. The ferry ride is about 45 minutes each way.
A lot of people wonder if there are ferries between the Hawaiian islands, and this is the only one!
The island of Molokai is slightly larger than Lanai. However, it still has a small airport. You will always need to stop in Honolulu prior to catching the best flight to this island. This is the least visiting of the Hawaiian islands and the locals like it that way! If you do venture to Molokai, please be respectful!
Airlines Offering Nonstop Flights from the US to the Hawaiian Islands
There are a few airlines that offer nonstop flights from the US to at least one Hawaiian airport. Those airlines include:
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Southwest Airlines
- United Airlines
All of these major airlines will take you directly to the largest airport in Hawaii. The Honolulu airport is the busiest airport in Hawaii. You can find great deals on airfare when you use flight search engines. However, the cheapest flights may not offer everything you want for your vacation, especially if you want to make this long flight a little shorter with no layovers.
Airports with non-stop flights to Hawaii
The cities in the US with major airports that usually offer nonstop flights include:
- Atlanta – ATL
- Boston – BOS
- Chicago – ORD
- Dallas – DFW
- Denver – DEN
- Las Vegas – LAS
- Los Angeles – LAX
- New York City – JFK
- Newark – EWR
- Seattle – SEA
- San Diego – SAN
- San Francisco – SFO
Some of these cities only offer direct domestic flights seasonally. Others will offer daily flights year-round. If you want to fly to Hawaii, you may need to fly to one of these cities from your home airport.
Ticket prices may be cheaper from the west coast and more expensive on the east coast. But it is dependent on the time of year you are flying and the best deals you can find.
April or May can be the cheapest month to fly to any of the main airports in Hawaii. Although, the cheapest time to fly could honestly be considered spring or very early in the fall.
Remember, the best airline for your vacation in Hawaii will be the one that gets you to your final destination quickly.
International Airlines that Fly to Hawaii from International Airports
There are numerous airlines that fly to the state of Hawaii from the US. Some of those airlines will also be available for international flights. But you will also find quite a few international airlines that will take you to the major islands. Those airlines include:
- Air Canada
- Air New Zealand
- Air Pacific
- Mokulele Airlines
- Japan Airlines
- Qantas Airways
You can fly from many different international destinations to Hawaii using these airlines. You won’t be able to reach the smaller airports in Hawaii. However, you can always take a connecting interisland flight to those Hawaiian airports.
The best airport to fly to Hawaii
There you have it, the best airports to fly into Hawaii. Which Hawaiian island is on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments!
More hawaii travel tips
Want even more ideas for things to do during your Hawaii vacation? Check out:
- The 21 best beaches in Oahu
- The Best Beaches West Maui
- 15 easy hikes in Maui
- How to see snow in Hawaii mountains
- The 30 best beaches in Hawaii
- The best Oahu snorkeling
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am only taking on a few clients per month. You can contact me if you’d like more information. I recommend starting with my Hawaii travel guide if you plan to DIY your vacation!
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