Southwest Airlines had their inaugural flight to Maui from Oakland on Sunday, April 7th. The first departure flight is schedule for today from Kahului back to Oakland. Starting on Wednesday, flights will increase to two flights per day in each direction.
Travelers departing the aircraft were greeted with lei’s, goodie bags, and food! Passengers described the crew as welcoming and the flight entertaining. Maui singer and songwriter Lily Meola was on board and played a few songs for the 175 passengers.
A special blessing was done on the aircraft after the passengers had disembarked. A lolo ana ceremony, traditionally done on new canoes, was done by Kumu Kapono Kamaunu and Ua Aloha Maji. The ceremony is meant to bring a connection between the pilots and crew to the land.
Service on Southwest to Maui from San Jose will begin at the end of May. Dates for service from Sacramento, San Diego, and Lihue will be announced in the future.