HONOLULU – The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT) encourages anyone flying into or out of Hawaii airports to expect a busy summer travel season. Preliminary visitor statistics show 23,423 passengers arrived in Hawaii on May 23, which is approximately 70-percent of pre-COVID numbers (source: https://dbedt.hawaii.gov/visitor/dailypax-dashboard/).
Given the current trends, HDOT offers the following air travel tips:
- Plan for peak travel time. Peak time for arrivals at Hawaii airports is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. If your flight time is within that window, plan and prepare using the tips below.
- Consider getting a ride to the airport. Parking historically fills up quickly on long holiday weekends. Last Sunday, May 23, only seven percent of the 1,500 parking stalls at Kahului Airport and 35 percent of the 481 stalls at Hilo International Airport were available. At the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport which has 4,600 stalls, approximately half of the stalls are currently occupied. Lihue Airport and Ellison Onizuka International Airport at Keahole are also half filled at this time. Getting dropped off at the airport can save you time spent searching for a stall should parking reach capacity.
- Arrive at the airport ahead of time. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends arriving more than two hours prior to departure and checking baggage to save time at security checkpoints. Additional TSA tips can be found here.
- Practice safe travel at the airports. The statewide indoor mask mandate applies at all Hawaii airports, inside, or outside while on property. The mask must be worn regardless of an individual’s vaccination or COVID testing status. Travelers should also be prepared to wear a face covering onboard their flights and are encouraged to check with their air carrier for information on their COVID protocols.
- Make sure you’re aware of COVID-19 travel recommendations or restrictions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention page, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html, has travel recommendation by destination. Please make sure you know the current guidance.
- Know what to do when you travel interisland. A Safe Travels account is needed for trips to islands other than Oahu. Visit https://travel.hawaii.gov/#/ to create an account. Once documentation (e.g., either your vaccination card meeting the requirements of the vaccination exemption, trusted test results, or acknowledgement of the quarantine order) has been uploaded you will receive a QR code to show screeners to expedite your post-arrival screening.
- Know what to do when you return to Hawaiʻi. All travelers should visit HawaiiCovid19.com for the latest travel guidance. HDOT advises that use of an airline participating in the State of Hawaii Pre-Departure Document Check (PDDC) program can expedite this process. Airlines voluntarily participating in PDDC can validate Safe Travels approved COVID tests and Travel and Health Forms or assist travelers in completing quarantine paperwork. Once validated, a PDDC passenger can depart from the airport after deplaning subject to any requirements of the county. Travelers that do not participate in PDDC must undergo verification of their Safe Travel documentation at Hawaiʻi airports.
HDOT continues to offer hand sanitizing stations for use within airport terminals and encourages travelers to work together to create physical distance between themselves and others when possible. With everyone’s assistance and cooperation, we can have a safe and healthy summer travel season.