Hawaii Island Hopping – Inter-Island Flights

Updated on:
September 14, 2021

Newest Maui Article: Road to Hana

NOTE FROM AUTHOR: Please know I’m conscious of what’s happening with COVID-19 Coronavirus and mean no disrespect in updating information on this site while we’re in crisis.  Eventually, travel will be back to normal and safe again, so I’m trying to be proactive during this downtime. I hope this finds you safe, healthy, and filled with ALOHA!

Inter-island Hawaii flights

I’m still waiting to hear back from Hawaiian Airlines, Ohana Airlines, Mokulele Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Makani Kai Airlines to see how routes have changed from the Coronavirus before editing this route map.


Maui line

What’s the best way to travel between Maui and Oahu (Honolulu) or Kauai, Lanai, Molokai, and the Big Island of Hawaii?

There are six major islands of Hawaii that you can visit when you are Hawaii island hopping.  By far, the best way to get from one island of Hawaii to another is to fly. You’ll easily find frequent flights on full-sized airplanes between those four largest islands.  These are very short and relatively cheap flights. For example, the distance from Maui to Oahu is 100 miles according to the Honolulu flight route, making for a roughly 25-minute flight. Airfare from Maui to Honolulu is around $75 each way, with the cheapest flights in the early morning and late night. For the two smaller inhabited Maui County Islands of Molokai and Lanai, both boats and planes are available.

Hawaii airport flights

You can book your flights between the islands as part of your air tickets from home to Hawaii, or you can buy the flights between the islands separately.  But either way, you’ll want to buy all of the flights before you leave home.


Maui line

Does Hawaii have an inter-island ferry?

There is no regularly scheduled boating between Hawaiian islands (Oahu, Maui, Kauai, Hawaii).  For a very brief time, we had the controversial Hawaii Superferry.  It was quickly shut down and sold off due to it not having adequately moved through the process of obtaining environmental impact reports.

Hawaii Superferry

You can, however, take a ferry to Lanai Island from Lahaina Harbor on the west coast of Maui. On occasion, weather or mechanical issues can cancel trips, but this is really the easiest and cheapest way to travel between these two Hawaiian Islands.


Maui line

How long does it take to get between each Hawaiian Island?

You may be surprised just how quick a flight between each Hawaiian Island is.  Most of the time, you’ll be waiting at the airport longer than you will in the air.

Flight Times:

  • Honolulu Oahu to Kahului Maui – 30 Minutes
  • Honolulu Oahu to Kapalua Maui – 35 Minutes
  • Honolulu Oahu to Lanai – 35 Minutes
  • Honolulu Oahu to Molokai – 35 Minutes
  • Honolulu Oahu to Lihue Kauai – 25 Minutes
  • Honolulu Oahu to Kona Big Island – 40 Minutes
  • Honolulu Oahu to Hilo Big Island – 45 Minutes

Then, of course, tiny flights like Kahului to Hana only take 10 minutes or so.  Another thing to keep in mind when planning your timing:  Most inter-island flights leave from a commuter terminal.  These tiny airport terminals allow for very quick security checks and onboarding.

Mokulele Hawaii flights

Another thing to keep in mind:  the smaller airlines are known to be far less reliable when it comes to on-time departure.  When Island Air was still in service, we had multiple terrible experiences until we finally learned better.  We sat on runways and in airport terminals for hours on end (sometimes with the flight being canceled to boot!)


Maui line

How much does it cost to island-hop in Hawaii?

Prices to fly from one to another island fluctuate depending on availability, seasonality, and competition.  We find most roundtrip tickets from one Hawaiian Island to another cost anywhere from $75 to $125.

That being said, we’ve spent as little as $29 and as much as $210.  Of course, shorter flights are often cheaper (Maui to Hana.)  Longer flights are more expensive (Kauai to Big Island.)

Maui line

What’s the cheapest way to travel between the Hawaiian Islands?

The best way to find good prices on your flights from home to Hawaii, as well as your flights between the islands of Hawaii, is to compare prices using several travel websites, such as CheapTickets, Travelocity, Hotwire, Priceline, Expedia, Orbitz, and others. Lately, I’ve been finding that searches directly in Google Flights are a powerful tool.

I absolutely hate how some (if not ALL) of the airlines and travel aggregators will change prices for you personally after having done a few searches.  I highly recommend searching within Chrome incognito and having multiple options open in different windows.  Lately, I’ve also found that breaking up flights and buying each leg from different sources can make the overall flights to Hawaii cheaper.  Sometimes.

The best time for inexpensive flights to Hawaii and round-trip flights within Hawaii is during our off-season.  Usually, between late September to early December offers up some good deals.  They also say buying your tickets on a Tuesday morning is best.


Maui line

Hawaiian Island Airport List with Airport Codes

Flights between one island of Hawaii and another are called Inter-Island Flights, or Hawaii island hopping.  The main airports and their codes for the six islands you can visit are:

  • Honolulu Airport on Oahu – HNL (see photo below)
  • Kahului Airport on Maui – OGG
  • Kapalua Airport on Maui – JHM
  • Hana Airport on Maui – HNM
  • Lihue Airport on Kauai – LIH
  • Princeville Airport on Kauai – HPV
  • Kona Airport on Big Island – KOA
  • Hilo Airport on Big Island – ITO
  • Lanai Airport on Lanai- LNY
  • Molokai Airport on Molokai – MKK

Runway at Honolulu Airport

You’ll find that most airports in Hawaii are pretty small, with the exception of Honolulu, which is an international terminal and the biggest airport in Hawaii. That being said, even Honolulu Airport has its charm!


Maui line

How big is the aircraft that I can fly between the Hawaiian islands?

There are six Hawaiian islands that tourists can visit.  There are three main airlines flying passengers between those islands in Hawaii.  Here are the types and sizes of the aircraft flown by those airlines.   They are listed here in order of aircraft size, from small to large.

Hawaiian Airlines is the largest and most popular airline for Hawaii island hopping, flying between the islands of Hawaii.  They have numerous flights every day from each island to the other islands of Hawaii.  Most of their flights are on modern Boeing 717 jets with two jet engines and 118 to 123 seats to Oahu (Honolulu), Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island of Hawaii.  To the smaller islands of Molokai or Lanai, you will have to take a smaller plane or a boat.

Mokulele Airlines flies the Cessna Grand Caravan with one propeller engine and 9 seats. Mokulele offers Honolulu flights and connections to other Hawaiian islands except for Kauai and Niʻihau.

Ohana Airlines (a division of Hawaiian Airlines) flies the ATR42-500 with two propellers and 48 seats.

Hawaii aircraft

The above information is as of 2018.  Airlines and aircraft can change, so call each airline to verify the types of airplanes that they are currently flying.

For information about all of the airports on Maui, click on Maui Airports.

Maui line

Discover Flight – Kahului – Hana

This video shows a recent flight we took learning to fly a cessna from Kahului Airport (OGG) to Hana Airport (HNM) and back.  It was amazing!  Learn more at Fly Maui Hi.