Hawaiian Airlines will connect the Hawaiian Islands with the Cook Islands just in time for a spring holiday next year.

A weekly flight between Honolulu (HNL) and Rarotonga (RAR) will launch on May 20th next year, which will provide passengers from Hawaiian’s 15 U.S. mainland gateway cities with convenient one-stop connections to the Cook Islands.

Connecting networks

Hawaiian airlines Hawaiian Airlines has grown significantly since its creation in 1929. © Hawaiian Airlines

The new Honolulu-Rarotonga service will help provide more travel connections for travellers as well as showcasing the natural beauty of Hawaii and the Cook Islands. Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram said: “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 Hawai’i and eight California cities.”

He added that: “We are delighted to grow our South Pacific network by offering our guests access to the Cook Islands, an archipelago that shares Hawai’i’s Polynesian roots and natural beauty.”

Tourism is a key economic factor for the Cook Islands, with many people going to visit the picture-perfect Aitukati lagoon and Muri beach in Rarotonga. The Cook Islands are made up of 15 islands scattered over a vast area, with Rarotonga being the largest. The island suffered heavily during the pandemic as worldwide travel stopped. In 2019, the island welcomed 187,221 tourists, which dramatically decreased in 2020 to just 30,081 visitors. On August 17th, 2021, after all international bound passenger arrivals were suspended given the increase of Covid-19, only 30,350 tourists visited the Cook Islands in 2021.

Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Mark Brown, was delighted by the news of the new Honolulu and Rarotonga service. He said: “As a 93-year-old destination airline committed to sustainability, Hawaiian Airlines is a perfect partner for the Cook Islands. We welcome this timely announcement from Hawaiian Airlines, as we look to rebuild our tourism industry and strengthen access to our northern hemisphere markets. Inbound tourism is a key economic driver for our nation, and to reach our potential we need access from the larger international markets. Hawaiian’s Honolulu-Rarotonga service connects us to Los Angeles, the Pacific Northwest, and many other large U.S. Mainland cities.”

Tickets for the new Honolulu-Rarotonga service will begin on the 7th of December, with the first flights on the 20th of May next year. Tickets can be found at Hawaiian Airlines.com

The scheduled time for flights to Rarotonga from Honolulu Airport will depart on Saturdays at 4pm and arrive in the capital of the Cook Islands at 10:25pm. The returning flight to Honolulu will depart at 11:35pm from Rarotonga on Sunday and arrive at 5:50am on Monday.

What will the new service offer?

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is known for its award-winning hospitality. © Hawaiian Airlines

Hawai’i’s largest and longest-serving airline is known for its award-winning onboard hospitality. Passengers can experience traditional Hawaiian hospitality with textiles and materials in the cabin paying homage to traditional Hawaiian crafts such as cloths known as kapa and fishing nets! There is also LED mood lighting evoking Hawaii’s soothing sunrises and sunsets. Passengers also have access to wireless streaming entertainment, USB outlets and large overhead stowage space on the flight.

Passengers will be flying in comfort on an Airbus A321neo aircraft, the most fuel-efficient and quietest aircraft of its kind. The aircraft features 16 leather recliners in the premium cabin, 45 extra comfort premium economy seats and 123 economy seats.

The airline announced this year its new interline ticketing system with Mokulele Airlines, making it easier for passengers to book tickets online.

Will you be travelling to the Cook Islands next summer? What do you think of the new Honolulu and Rarotonga service? Let us know in the comments below.

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