As we were leaving Makena Beach, a friendly couple asked us something along the lines of “is it dangerous?” because they heard the lifeguard announcing to keep younger children out of the water. We began to dive into different topics about Hawaii which eventually led to “What is the most affordable way to travel from island to island?” It was an easy question with an automatic answer: Island Air. I blurted it out without even considering other alternatives (at the time of this writing, not much, due to the closure of the short-lived Hawaii Superferry).
“What is the most affordable way to travel from island to island?”
Maybe it was because we had partnered up with them in the past that the answer was so immediate. Or, maybe because Island Air does offer the cheapest island-to-island flights.
With a fleet of five dual prop engine planes, Island Air now offers flights to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (KOA), Lihue, Kauai (LIH) and Kahului, Maui (OGG) – from Honolulu (HNL). The convenience and price are unmatched when wanting to visit other Hawaiian islands from Honolulu. The first flight departs at 06:55 AM with the last flight being at 19:56/7:56 PM. Although Island Air cabs are a dual propeller, it has little to no effect on length of time it takes to travel from point A to point B. Other competing jet powered airlines arrive within the same time. As for the flight and sound, it seemed to be no different from any other airline. We know few people who have an unsupported idea that prop planes are slower, louder, and more prone to turbulence; (I know I thought that before my flights). In all honesty, Island Air’s fleet is a top notch dual propeller fleet which has given us enjoyable journeys. It feels and sounds like a “regular” jet plane. (Just a disclaimer: No, we are not being told to say this…it’s our raw opinion and personal experience of Island Air’s service).
Speaking of service, their staff is the embodiment of the “aloha spirit” – Very friendly, welcoming, and helpful with any questions. When walking on the tarmac, Island Air’s employees line up and wish you safe travels. As the plane begins to depart, they throw the shaka up and wave farewell. It does not get much more aloha than that.
Island Air’s base operation is located at Daniel Inouye Airport (HNL). There is a parking long across the main counter which costs $18 per day if you leave your car there. If your trip will be long, our best advice to avoid this charge is to get dropped off by someone. Heck, if you do not know anyone, I have a truck, shoot us an email, and maybe we can help you out!
As for baggage, we encourage to bring the least amount of things as possible. doing this will help evade any extra delays or costs for check-in baggages. HERE is more information on pricing and other restrictions. To sum it up quickly: First check-in bag is $25, any additional luggage will cost you $35.
After checking-in, and going through TSA, Island Air’s terminal has a coffee station for all passengers. With those early morning flights, their coffee is a welcoming surprise. Flying in the morning is the best because you will have almost all day to explore your destination island.
Yes, this is a small plane. Yes, it will be a bit tight. Luckily, the duration of the flights is no longer than two hours. By the time you fall asleep or get to the juicy part of your book, you will be descending for landing.
Also, every Island Air flight, they offer a beverage per passenger with a choice of island juice or water.
Tip: If you are leaving HNL, reserve a window seat on the left side of the aircraft. You will pass over Waikiki. The picture above was our route HNL to KOA.
Therefore, back to the tourist couple asking questions – thinking about it, Island Air is the best way to island hop in Hawaii. Surprisingly, flight times are within the timeframe of rival airlines and more affordable on average.
This is not a sponsored, paid or affiliated post for Island Air. We believe they offer the best package deals. We hope you get to enjoy a prop plane flight with island air. Thanks for reading!
Would you fly with this airline again? YES!