Getting to one of the best snorkeling and scuba diving locations in the South Pacific is about to become a little easier.
Hawaiian Airlines will begin making weekly flights between Honolulu and the Cook Islands in the spring, giving travelers one more option to get to the South Pacific.
The service will launch May 20 with one weekend flight between Honolulu and Rarotonga, the largest of the numerous islands in the Cook Islands.
“We are delighted to grow our South Pacific network by offering our guests access to the Cook Islands, an archipelago that shares Hawaii’s Polynesian roots and natural beauty,” Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Peter Ingram said in a release.
Tickets for the flights went on sale this week for the flights on the airline’s website. Travelers from the airline’s 15 mainland locations can get to the Cook Islands with a single flight change in Honolulu.
“This service greatly expands travel opportunities between the Cook Islands and the United States, thanks to our well-timed connections and robust network, including service between Hawaii and eight California cities,” Ingram said.
The flight from Honolulu to Rarotonga will leave on Saturday afternoon. Flights from the Cook Islands back to Hawaii will depart late Sunday night.
Approval From Cook Islands
Cook Islands officials are excited about the news.
“We welcome this timely announcement from Hawaiian Airlines as we look to rebuild our tourism industry and strengthen our northern hemisphere markets,” Cook Islands Prime Minister Mark Brown said.
“Inbound tourism is a key economic driver for our nation, and to reach our potential we need access from the larger international markets,” Brown continued.
He noted the arrangement allows the Cook Islands to easily connect with Los Angeles, Seattle, and numerous other major mainland cities.
Bringing Service Back
This isn’t the first time Hawaiian Airlines has served the Cook Islands, but it’s been a while. The airline previously had flights in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The Cook Islands are located directly south of Hawaii off the coast of New Zealand. But it’s a long haul, with the flight lasting more than 6 hours.
The islands are a true South Pacific experience, with white sand beaches, clear water, and lush mountains. There are no resorts on the islands, and tourism officials claim there are no buildings taller than a coconut tree.