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WestJet to offer direct flights from Calgary to Kona (The Big Island) and Kauai, Hawaii for the first time

Kauai, Hawaii

WestJet has announced they will be offering direct flights from Calgary to Kona (The Big Island) and Kauai, Hawaii for the first time, starting in December.

Calgary to Kona (KOA)

Calgary to Kona (KOA) service begins on December 19th, and will operate once a week (departing Calgary on Sundays, and leaving Kona on Mondays).

You can try this Google Flights search to see them.

December dates are very expensive ($1200+ roundtrip) because they're all over the Christmas holidays.

January and early February 2022 dates are a more reasonable $645 roundtrip. March is about $100 more.

Calgary to Kauai (LIH)

Calgary to Kauai (LIH) service also begins on December 19th, and will operate once a week (departing Calgary on Sundays, and leaving Lihue, Kauai on Mondays).

You can try this Google Flights search to see them.

Dates in December 2021, including over the Christmas holidays, are available for $670 roundtrip.

January, February, March 2022 dates are also available for this price.

In years gone by, direct flights from Calgary to Honolulu and Maui have been available in the $400s roundtrip, and on rare occasion in the $300s roundtrip. It's hard to say what will happen this year, as Hawaii will be one of the safest bets for travel, and likely in higher demand than usual, being one of the most vaccinated locations in the world.

There's also the fact that flights to Kauai and Kona tend to be more expensive than to Honolulu or Maui.

Here is what I can tell you about travelling to Hawaii this year

- In July, Hawaii plans to start allowing vaccinated mainland U.S. citizens to visit Hawaii and bypass the current restrictions (negative test result for entry, which allows you to skip quarantine). Travellers need to have been fully vaccinated for at least 2 weeks.

It's not known when they will allow vaccinated Canadians to do the same. Although last time around, when Hawaii introduced 'bring a negative test result from an approved lab to skip our quarantine', it seemed to take a few months before opening it up to Japan, and then Canada. So one could make an educated guess that this would become a reality by September.

- Currently, there are not any direct flights operating from Canada to Hawaii.

Sometime well before December 2021 seems like a realistic timeframe for the above to become true, based on the way things are trending here in Canada, and in the U.S. The Canadian airlines are scheduled to return in September (from Vancouver).

- Hawaii is already fairly well vaccinated, slightly more than the mainland U.S., with over 67% of adults having their first dose, and 48% fully vaccinated. The governor of Hawaii estimates they need about 700,000 more doses in arms to reach herd immunity, which they hope to reach by early July (although demand for vaccines is now dropping like it is in most of the U.S.)

- At the moment, a Canadian would need to connect through the U.S. to reach Hawaii and requires a negative test result to do so (as well as for entry into Hawaii to bypass their 10 day quarantine).

Hawaii visitor levels

In a normal, non-pandemic year Hawaii receives about 30,000 passengers a day in the months of March/April. This year, as demand for domestic travel in the U.S. came roaring back starting in March, Hawaii climbed back from about 5,000/day in January to 20,000/day in March/April.
source: https://dbedt.hawaii.gov/visitor/daily-passenger-counts/

These were virtually all U.S. citizens, arriving with about the same vaccination levels we are at now. Between January and April 2021 Hawaii's daily new cases have increased (50/day to 80/day) but their daily new deaths have remained very low (1/day).
source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/usa/hawaii/

Hawaii has been very cautious about opening back up throughout the pandemic. They've always had some of the lowest case rates in the US. They've required negative tests for entry and had quarantine requirements when no other state did (besides Alaska).

Hawaii feels they are more than ready to handle vaccinated mainland U.S. tourists without restrictions by July 2021 when approximately 53% of U.S. citizens will have had their first dose, a level Canada's population has already surpassed.

What about unvaccinated children travelling to Hawaii?

So far, of the 20-something countries that have a two track system in place (one set of rules for the vaccinated, one for the unvaccinated), the entry requirements for an unvaccinated child are usually the same as the entry requirements for an unvaccinated adult.

For Hawaii right now, a U.S. or Canadian citizen (adult or child) needs a negative test result in order to bypass the quarantine on Hawaii's side.

When Hawaii drops the negative test result requirement for vaccinated U.S. citizens in July, I think it's safe to assume an unvaccinated child will need to continue to provide a negative test result, just like an unvaccinated adult would.

And I imagine that will continue to be the case when they allow vaccinated citizens from Canada to bypass the 'negative test result' requirement in order to bypass quarantine.

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