First flight

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Southwest Airlines Vice President of Inflight Operations Sonya Lacore and Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality Steve Goldberg undo the traditional maile lei marking the opening of Southwest Airlines’ Lihue Station Sunday as Sabra Kauka watches.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Sabra Kauka, right, officiates the blessing of the Southwest Airlines Lihue operations Sunday as Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality Steve Goldberg pours spring water into a calabash being held by Vice President of Inflight Operations Sonya Lacore, while Southwest Station Manager Stephen Rapazzo, left, holds the salt for the blessing.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Southwest Airlines associates kane ka pu to signal the start of a blessing Sunday morning as the carried initiated service to and from Lihue Airport.

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    Robert Carner and Tracy Hendrix picked Southwest flight 1083 specifically because it was an inaugural flight from Kauai to Oahu.

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    Robert Carner accepts a certificate commemorating the first Southwest flight from Kauai to Oahu as he boards the plane.

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    Kimberly Garner celebrates the first Kauai-to-Oahu Southwest flight.

  • Jessica Else / The Garden Island

    Passengers throw shakas on the first Southwest flight from Kauai to Oahu.

LIHUE — Passengers cheered as the first Southwest Airlines flight out of Lihue landed in Honolulu on Sunday morning, marking the beginning of the carrier’s flights to and from Kauai.

The long-awaited flight 1083 wasn’t full, which provided extra space for passengers in the already roomy cabin. Festivity was in the air during the 25-minute flight.

All 70 passengers on the inaugural Lihue flight received commemorative certificates.

Celebrating in the last seat of the plane were Robert Carner and Tracy Hendrix, who specifically chose flight 1083 because it was an inaugural Southwest inter-island flight.

“This is my fourth Hawaii destination. I’ve been on all the inaugural flights,” Carner said. “I saw what a party it was and I just had to be part of it all.”

Both Carner and Hendrix are from Orlando, Fla. They flew from Orlando to Oakland and then to Honolulu before flying to Kauai.

“She’s a trooper,” Carner said. “First time flying ever.”

Initially, Southwest had the inaugural flights from Kauai and Hawaii Island scheduled for the same day, starting in January. Southwest moved up the inter-island flights from Kauai due to demand.

Many believe increased competition for Hawaiian Airlines will lead to lower interisland fares.

Carner said he was thrilled when he heard about that because he wanted to be able to be on both flights. He’s already booked his January ticket for the inaugural trip from Hilo.

Taking advantage of the low introductory fares and free-baggage policy at Southwest were Kauai residents Keron Plenty and Ivyr Lluellen. They were headed to Oahu for a couple rounds of golf and dinner before returning home.

“It’s a new flight and the prices are really reasonable right now,” Lluellen said.

Flights from Oahu to Hilo start Jan. 21, as does an introduction of nonstop flights from the Mainland to Lihue. Adam Decaire, Southwest vice president of network marketing, said the schedule will “ramp up” in March.

It’s part of a strategy to start with a few introductory flights and then to increase flights throughout the first quarter.

Sitting on the inaugural flight Sunday, Decaire said he’s still amazed at the response from both mainlanders and locals.

“Response has been incredible, wildly beating our expectations,” Decaire said. “It’s really made us feel part of the family real quick.”


Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or

  1. Monopoly Over November 11, 2019 1:40 pm Reply

    Monopoly over. Thank goodness for Southwest. Hawaiian Airlines will suffer from their greed.

    Capitalism (Greed) is the root of all evil.

    Homelessness is wide spread across the USA because of investors, speculators, foreign investors, and capitalistic greed.

    We are in a state of chaos and Fentanyl is big Pharma’s Capitalistic greed.

    Cartel’s greed is to poison all of America with heroin and meth.

    Chem/Bio industry poisons our food and causes new cancers a and food allergies. Capitalism because now they own big pharmaceuticals too.

    Hawaiian airlines capitalistic greed was evident as the only passenger carrying airlines in the state of Hawaii. They made record profits over a decade by fleecing the people.

    It’s a scary time in history right now but we have Southwest to thank for reduce airfares..

  2. tunataxi November 11, 2019 2:39 pm Reply

    Why wouldnʻt they post the prices ??

  3. Sheeples November 11, 2019 8:49 pm Reply

    What is crazy will be all he derilects showing up from said mainland destinations. Drug addicts and homeless on one way flights. Going be nutz,……

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