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Why Southwest customers have trouble booking Dallas-Hawai'i roundtrip flights

The process for Southwest Airlines customers booking Hawaii flights to and from Dallas is a bit more complicated than for people on the West Coast.
Credit: wfaa

DALLAS — The process for Southwest Airlines customers booking flights from Dallas Love Field to Hawai'i is a bit more complicated than for people on the West Coast.

The airline started selling long-awaited Hawai'i tickets to much fanfare Monday when ultra low ticket prices starting at $49 one-way from California to the Aloha State sold out within hours. Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) said two mainland gateways, Oakland and San Jose, would begin nonstop service this spring and two more, San Diego and Sacramento, would come online soon.

But customers in the airline's home market of North Texas can't purchase some Hawai'i roundtrips from Dallas Love Field Airport. Here are the flights available and unavailable for purchase out of Love Field listed on Southwest's website Friday afternoon.

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Southwest is only marketing Hawai'i flights in locations that have roundtrip connectivity, which are places west of the Rocky Mountains, in addition to Denver. That's partly because Southwest doesn't operate redeye flights.

For example, if a Hawai'i-bound flight leaves Oakland or San Jose in the morning, customers can catch an early morning flight from Dallas to make that connection. But returning flights that leave Hawai'i in the afternoon arrive in California in the evening when, in some cases, there aren't any more flights going back to Dallas.

"Some of our super fans are booking point-to-point, in a harkening back to the Wright Amendment days," said Brad Hawkins, Southwest spokesperson, referring to a time when Southwest was restricted to only flying routes out of Love Field to states adjacent to Texas.

"This, of course, is very cool to see for a number of reasons," he added, "but we have to always caution that connections are built and offered so that bags and people can connect and, when circumstances change that, so that our people are able to fulfill our contract of carriage."

Connectivity will improve in the coming months and years as more California gateways — and possibly others in places like Las Vegas — come online and the carrier gets inter-island service started.

But there's only so much the airline can do when working with routes stretching hundreds of miles, beginning and ending in time zones a few hours apart and the type of aircraft Southwest flies.

"The range of a 737 from the Islands, with a full load, is West of the Rockies," Hawkins said.

Click here to see a timeline of Southwest’s journey to Hawai'i.