LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  —  Southwest Airlines is now flying to Hawaii and travel experts think that will help travelers get the lei of the land. And cheaper.

“The fact that Southwest is flying to Hawaii is a very big deal,” aviation expert Brian Sumers told KCAL9’s Tom Wait.

It’s wheels up for Southwest and their plan to make Hawaii a destination on the discount carrier. Sumers, of Skift, says airfare to the islands is already more affordable — Southwest will make it even cheaper.

“They’ve been the low cost leader in the United States for a very long time. When you have another competitor flying to Hawaii, everyone drops their prices to match each other. A fare war will probably develop,” he says.

Southwest has not announced when it will start flying to the 50th state. Wait reports that L.A. will not have a direct option – at least initially. San Diego, San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento will get the first direct flights.

“Southwest is not flying from LA to Hawaii yet. They may never do it But I was looking a the prices. It’s actually possible this Spring to fly to Hawaii from LA for about $298, round-trip. Which is unheard of,” Sumers says.

The decision means Southwest will challenge competitors like American and Hawaiian Airlines – along with other domestic carriers for passengers to the islands.

“Love Southwest, love Hawaii,” says one man. “Great combination.”

“I hope they could get us there on time,” said one woman, “and I hope it’s not delayed. But I trust them. I think they’ll be fine. And I’m excited, It’s about time they opened up a little bit more.”

Part of the plan would also see Southwest fly between the islands. The plans have all been approved — we just don’t know when the plan will start.

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