This is a question that new visitors to the south shore of Oahu commonly ask. If you’re staying in Waikiki for a week or more, you may be looking to break of the bustling monotony with a trip to one of our more laid back islands for a day, maybe two. But day trips aren’t as easy as they used to be back when there was a ferry/boat shuttle to take you from Honolulu to the Valley Isle. That’s right, you have to fly there, and while our home is Oahu we are here to answer any and all questions about your flights to/from HNL, even if they take you away from us for a short excursion.
What You Need to Know About Getting to Maui When You’re Staying in Waikiki Beach, Oahu
1. Flights from HNL to Maui
You will need to fly out of Honolulu International Airport from the designated inter island terminals. Airlines taking you from HNL to Maui include Hawaiian Airlinesand Mokulele Airlines. You may have heard of Island Air, but as of 2017 they are no longer in operation. Hawaiian Airlines is typically more expensive (but not always) than the Mokulele commuter, but they also fly to/from the island more frequently. You can’t go wrong with either one, and for many a flight on a nine-seater Mokulele is all part of the island hopping fun – the view and experience is spectacular!
Between the two airlines there is a flight to Maui pretty much every hour, from roughly 5 AM and well into the night.
2. Which Maui Airport to Fly To
There are two main airports on Maui, which will dictate both the flight time (and thus airline) and where you will choose to stay, if spending a night or two (etc.) away from Oahu.
Kapalua (JHM) is on the west side of Maui, and is close to many of the destinations (and attractions) people come to Maui to see, including Kaanapali (5 minutes), Lahaina Town (10-minutes), and Kahana Point (2 minutes). For those of you looking to do a day trip from Waikiki Beach to Maui then a return trip to Kapalua airport makes a lot of sense.
Kahului (OGG) is the primary airport on the island and receives both overseas and inter island arrivals. While Kapalua is a common choice because of Kaanapali and Lahaina Town, Waikiki to Maui day-trippers who fly to Kahului will enjoy quick access to the second best town in the world (next to our own Haleiwa, of course) which is Paia (12 minutes) – a quaint community that collects surfers, hippies, artisans, and everyone in between and beyond. If you plan on doing the whole Hana Highway thing then this will also be your arrival airport of choice.
There’s no shortage of eateries and things to do and see around both airports, so you really can’t go wrong. It all depends upon how much time you plan to set aside for your short escape from Waikiki.
3. Most Efficient Way to Get to HNL’s Inter-Island Terminals
Over the past year, the Mokulele Commuter Terminal on the Ewa side has moved to Terminal 3 (3073 Aolele St.) on the Diamond Head side of the airport. It’s not the most convenient location when coming from Waikiki, as you’ll have a laborious walk ahead of you if taking TheBus or getting off at the designated ride share (Uber/Lyft) zone. HDOT provides free Wiki Wiki shuttle service (every 20 minutes) between Terminals 1 and 2 and Terminal 3, for Mokulele Airlines passengers with a connecting flight (etc.). Given that HNL to Maui inter island flights tend to leave right on time, you need to make sure that you get from your Waikiki Beach hotel to Terminal 3 in time, and yet not too early because there isn’t much to do to kill time in the terminal. The best way to coordinate this quick trip, is to book a flat rate direct, no-share shuttle from Waikiki to HNL which will get you as close as possible to where you need to be for your Terminal 3 departure.
For Hawaiian Airlines, you’ll fly out of Terminal 1, which is less complicated than Terminal 3, but still requires a well-expedited drop-off when coming from Waikiki. Don’t risk non-direct Waikiki to Honolulu Airport transportation as time is of essence on these island hopping adventures.
We hope the information above provides you with some greater insight into what you need to know before taking a trip to Maui when staying in the Waikiki Beach area. To book your direct Honolulu Airport shuttle, call us toll FREE at 1.800.929.1219. We’ll be there to pick you up on your return to HNL too!