Getting to the less-visited islands of Lanai and Molokai is
becoming a little easier and cheaper. Visitors have always had the
option of taking one of the ferries from Maui, a 45-minute or
90-minute excursion, respectively. They could also arrive by
private plane charters from the other Hawaiian islands. But several
airline providers are now offering more regularly scheduled and
less expensive flights to these islands.
Island Air, which codeshares service with Aloha Airlines and
Hawaiian Airlines, flies its 37-seat Dehavilland Dash 8-100 series
planes nonstop from both Honolulu (HNL) and Kahului, Maui (OGG),
airports to Lanai City (LNY) and Hoolehua, Molokai (MKK), airports.
The Honolulu-based airline will mark 20 years of service to these
islands in 2008.
As many as eight to nine 30-minute flights, are scheduled daily
from Honolulu to Lanai and back. The airline conveniently operates
from the commuter terminal at Honolulu airport. Its single flight
from Maui to Lanai, however, is currently offered on Mondays only,
and takes 20 minutes. It departs one-way from the interisland
terminal at Kahului.
Island Air’s daily service between Honolulu and Molokai operates
as many as seven flights each way, and takes about 25 minutes. Two
daily flights take off each way between Kahului, Maui, and Molokai,
also 25 minutes each.
A daily flight from Molokai to Hilo, Hawaii (ITO), takes 85
minutes, and one weekly flight from Lanai to Hilo (80 minutes)
stops in Kahului. The fares range from $32 to $100 one way. Travel
agent commissions are determined by wholesaler contracts, but
generally the airline does not offer agent commissions, according
to Rita Aponte, special projects manager for Island Air.
“We fly between 5,000
and 10,000 feet, which offers a great view in the air,” Aponte
noted of the scenic value. From those heights, the views include
“frolicking whales during whale season,” she added.
At the beginning of 2007, Maui-based Pacific Wings Airlines
launched a discounted flight service, PW Express, on its fleet of
nine-passenger Cessna Caravan propjets.
PW Express currently makes one daily, roundtrip journey between
Honolulu and Lanai. The 35-minute flight departs from the commuter
terminal at Honolulu Airport.
Pacific Wings services Molokai with about 50 flights each day.
Its 30-minute Honolulu-Molokai route operates 13 daily roundtrips.
The Kahului-Molokai flights, also scheduled for a half-hour,
operate four times daily, each way, departing from the Kahului
airport commuter terminal. On Molokai, the airline is currently the
only scheduled provider between its main airport, at Kaunakakai and
Kalaupapa, the popular visitor destination and former leprosy
settlement. The 10-minute flight can be added to the other Molokai
routes from Honolulu and Maui.
“All of our Molokai flights afford stunning views of the
3,000-foot Molokai sea cliffs,” said Greg Kahlstorf, president of
Pacific Wings. “Lanai-bound passengers get a panoramic view of
Every seat on every flight offered by PW Express costs $29 one
way, purchased on its Web site www.flypwx.com. The airline flies to all Hawaii
islands except Kauai.
Pacific Wings’ GDS bookings are commissionable. Since March,
Kahlstorf said, the company has experienced a huge increase in
daily volume with its direct-connect availability on Sabre over its
Worldspan host service. Sales have also gained since its recent
electronic- direct connection with Northwestern and Continental
A third flight service to Lanai and Molokai offered by
go!Express is expected to begin around June 15, according to Joe
Bock, chief marketing officer of go!
Go!Express began service between the Big Island, Maui and Oahu
in March as a joint operation between Hawaii’s newest interisland
airline entrant go! and the charter airline and air tour provider
The company will fly to and from Honolulu and Molokai and Lanai
out of the commuter terminal at Honolulu airport on its fleet of
nine-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft. Prices for the 30-40
minute flights are expected to range between $29 and $89 each way.
The schedule of flights had not been announced as of presstime.
“Go!Express flights offer spectacular, panoramic views of the
islands and the ocean during flight,” Bock said.
The airline does not currently offer travel agent
Owned by Mesa Air Group, go! launched discounted interisland
service in Hawaii in June 2006 on its fleet of 50-passenger
Bombardier CRJ 200 jet aircraft. Founded as an air tour provider on
the Big Island in 1998, Mokulele Airlines expanded as an
interisland charter airline, including routes to Molokai and