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Hawaii Travel Discouraged Amid Fires: How to Change Your Plans

Sean Cudahy

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Wildfires in Hawaii continue to cause devastation, displacing thousands of residents, destroying property, closing roads and, tragically, leading to the deaths of dozens of people on the island of Maui.

The situation has also prompted the evacuation of many tourists from the island while leaving uncertainty for those planning trips in the coming days and weeks.

President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for the state on Thursday.

As firefighters and other emergency responders continue to help with the catastrophic damage, state officials strongly discourage nonessential travel to Maui.

southwest travel advisory maui

(Image courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority)

This could affect travel in the coming weeks.

Flexible airline policies in place

To assist with the evacuation efforts, airlines have been selling steeply discounted tickets to help travelers and residents more easily depart.

Numerous airlines, including Hawaiian Airlines , Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines , have sold $19 one-way tickets from Maui to cities on other islands, including Honolulu.

southwest travel advisory maui

Airlines have also issued travel alerts, which typically allow even customers with restrictive tickets, such as basic economy, to make changes, cancel or get a refund. Airlines frequently take this step when there’s a natural disaster and travel is complicated or discouraged.

Southwest, for instance, says customers with reservations with trips to, from or through Kahului (Maui) and Hilo (Hawaii Island), Honolulu (Oahu), Kona (Hawaii Island), and Lihue (Kauai) can alter plans, rebook or travel standby within 14 days of the original flight date without any extra charges.

Other airlines have travel advisories in place, too, making change policies more flexible.

Keep an eye on your airline’s website for updated alerts if you have plans to travel to Maui in the upcoming days. Check your reservation online or in the airline’s app to see if your trip is affected. You may be able to make a change online without waiting to speak with a customer service agent over the phone.

When will Maui be open again?

As emergency responders continue to contain the wildfires in Maui, it’s still unclear when the island will be safe again for tourists to visit.

Some hotels on Maui have temporarily shuttered operations and will remain closed for the coming days.

For instance, the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa has an advisory on its website that states it’s closed to arrivals and not accepting guests through Aug. 17. It’s refunding deposits and prepayments for even those guests who made nonrefundable reservations.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority encourages any travelers with plans to visit Maui in the next few weeks to check with their airlines and hotels about the travel status.

“In the days and weeks ahead, our collective resources and attention must be focused on the recovery of residents and communities that were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses,” the agency said in an advisory on its website.

Can you use travel insurance for Hawaii wildfires?

Travelers planning to visit Maui in the coming weeks may wonder whether travel insurance might help.

Generally, travel insurance policies will not cover cancellations or evacuation costs related to a natural disaster if the customer purchases the policy after the disaster begins.

However, if you have a policy purchased before the wildfires began, then you may be able to recoup losses related to trip cancellation, interruption, or — for those who have been on Maui this week and had to leave suddenly — emergency evacuation.

Travel insurance can help you recoup prepaid expenses such as flights or hotel costs if the emergency prevented you from moving forward with your trip.

If you're a traveler without a travel insurance plan with an upcoming trip to Maui, it’s a good time to check if the credit card you used to book your trip offers trip protection benefits . This might be of help if you end up needing to cancel.

» Learn more: How do travel insurance claims work?

The bottom line

The situation in Maui will likely remain fluid for weeks as the community and officials deal with the aftermath of this week’s wildfires.

If you have travel planned to the island within the coming weeks, closely monitor updates from your airline, hotel and the Hawaii Tourism Authority to make the best decision.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

75,000 Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's over $900 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Freedom Unlimited Credit Card

1.5%-5% Enjoy 5% cash back on travel purchased through Chase Travel, 3% cash back on drugstore purchases and dining at restaurants, including takeout and eligible delivery service, and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all other purchases.

Up to $300 Earn an additional 1.5% cash back on everything you buy (on up to $20,000 spent in the first year) - worth up to $300 cash back!

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

2x-5x Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

75,000 Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

southwest travel advisory maui

Flights cancelled, delayed as Maui continues to battle catastrophic wildfires

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Officials are asking visitors to postpone all nonessential travel to Maui amid the raging wildfires, and airlines said a growing list of flights have been canceled.

The fires have decimated entire communities on Maui, where at least six people were killed.

On Wednesday, acting Gov. Sylvia Luke issued an emergency proclamation discouraging non-essential air travel to Maui with thousands of visitors set to be evacuated to Oahu.

#MauiFires #hitraffic alerts: Acting @GovHawaii issued emergency proc discouraging non-essential air travel to Maui. @SouthwestAir and @HawaiianAir issuing travel advisories for travelers with flights to, out of, and through OGG. pic.twitter.com/K4y0xZ0mmk — Hawaii DOT (@DOTHawaii) August 9, 2023

The state Transportation Department said there were eight flight cancellations into Maui’s Kahului Airport on Wednesday. Most were from the mainland, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

At least 17 more flights to and from Kahului Airport have also been delayed on Wednesday.

(8/9) 4:38 Maui: Approx. 1,800 people sheltered in place overnight at the Kahului Airport (OGG), with many west side highways closed. HDOT worked with airlines/TSA to shelter passengers for safety's sake as wildfires continue to burn in Lahaina and upcountry. HDOT will update. — Hawaii DOT (@DOTHawaii) August 9, 2023

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are issuing travel advisories for travelers with flights connected to Kahului Airport along with discounted fares to help people get out.

Copyright 2023 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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What to Know About Maui’s Wildfire Recovery Efforts and How Travelers Can Help

West maui hotels and resorts are not taking future bookings at this time as officials focus on search and recovery efforts in what is now the deadliest u.s. wildfire in more than 100 years. here’s how travelers can help those affected..

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Burned cars and buildings along waterfront of Lāhainā

“The town of Lāhainā has been destroyed,” stated Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green, who assessed the damage over the weekend.

Courtesy of the Office of Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green

Less than a week after catastrophic wildfires blazed through several areas of the islands of Hawai‘i and Maui, the situation in western Maui—which received the brunt of the devastation—is truly heartbreaking.

“The town of Lāhainā has been destroyed,” Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green declared in his latest emergency proclamation , issued on Sunday. Lāhainā is located along the western coast of the island of Maui just south of the Ka‘anapali and Kapalua beach areas, and now that the fires have started to subside, the extreme toll of the infernos is gradually coming into focus.

The Lāhainā fire is already the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century with the death toll having climbed to 96. And officials have warned that the effort to find and identify the dead is “still in its early stages,” the Associated Press reported .

“The fires have caused significant loss of life and property in Maui County. Thousands of people are without adequate shelter,” Governor Green stated. The state has launched a Hawaiʻi Fire Relief Housing Program aimed at connecting displaced Maui residents with available rooms and accommodations.

“We are going to need to house thousands of people. We are asking folks in the community to rent out those extra rooms, the ‘ohana units or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in their homes, vacation rentals, or whatever safe and secure rooms they have available,” stated Governor Green.

Is Maui closed to tourists?

Visitors are being asked to postpone travel plans to west Maui for the coming weeks and months as recovery efforts are underway. The many travelers who were in Maui at the time of the wildfires have “largely heeded the call to leave the island,” according to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, which reported that around 46,000 people have flown out of Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG) since Wednesday.

Hotels in West Maui have temporarily stopped accepting future bookings and many hotels in the area are housing employees, evacuees, and first responders in lieu of vacationers.

“While efforts are underway to restore basic services, like power and communications, visitors are encouraged to refrain from attempting to reach west Maui accommodations for reservation adjustments until the situation improves,” the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority stated.

Among the properties affected have been the Ritz-Carlton Maui, Kapalua and the Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka ‘ anapali , both of which have advisories on their websites stating that they remain temporarily closed. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa hotel is currently closed through September 5. And the Outrigger Hospitality Group reported on its website that its 18-room bed-and-breakfast the Plantation Inn located in the historic Lāhainā Town “has been irreparably damaged as a result of the devastating wildfires.”

Travel to the other Hawaiian Islands, like Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Lānaʻi, and Hawaiʻi Island, are not affected at this time, according to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

Maui travel update

Kahului Airport (OGG) on Maui remains open, according to Hawai‘i’s Department of Transportation , but the airport has been sheltering evacuees and thousands of travelers who have been stranded by the catastrophe, Maui County reported.

In light of the wildfires and devastation, all of the major U.S. airlines have issued travel waivers. While all major U.S. carriers dropped most of their change fees (for all but Basic Economy seats) during the pandemic, typically a fare difference will still apply, unless there is an official emergency-related waiver.

Hawaiian Airlines has a waiver in place for all flights to and from Maui’s Kahului Airport between August 9 and August 31, 2023. The state airline has added extra flights to help get travelers and evacuees out of Maui, and it is selling seats through August 20, 2023, for just $19 “to facilitate urgent travel out of Maui.”

Southwest Airlines has informed its customers that those holding reservations for travel to, from, or through Kahului through September 4 can rebook in the original class of service or travel standby within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs with no additional charges. For flights that are canceled, customers can request a refund. Travelers can also exchange their flights that were scheduled for Kahului for flights to Hilo and Kona (on the island of Hawai‘i), Honolulu (on O’ahu), or Lihue (on Kauaʻi), for no extra charge.

Those scheduled to travel to or from the islands of Maui, O’ahu, Hawai‘i, or Kauaʻi with American Airlines will have their change fee waived until August 18 for any class of travel if they reschedule or cancel their flight.

United Airlines has a travel alert in place allowing those traveling to Kahului through September 16 to reschedule without incurring a fare difference for a new flight that departs by November 18, 2023. Tickets must be in the same cabin and between the same cities as originally booked, or in lieu of Maui, travelers can opt to fly to Honolulu, Kona, or Lihue instead. Passengers can also cancel and bank the credit or cancel and request a refund, according to the carrier.

Delta Air Lines has a fare difference waiver in place for travel to and from Maui for flights that were scheduled through August 31, 2023, as long as the new flights take place by August 31, 2023. After that, a fare difference may be applied.

Lāhainā's beloved giant 150-year-old banyan tree, badly scorched but still standing

Lāhainā's beloved 150-year-old banyan tree was badly scorched during the wildfires but is still standing.

How to help Maui

For travelers witnessing the tragedy from afar and wondering how they can help, several organizations have jumped in to provide aid and assistance.

American Red Cross

  • To donate: https://www.redcross.org/donate/donation.html/

Red Cross teams are in Hawai‘i faciliating shelters for the displaced, which includes thousands of residents and tourists who have been evacuated to O‘ahu, and providing them with food and emotional support. “When it is safe to do so, Red Cross teams will help with damage assessment and distributing relief supplies,” the global aid organization said in a statement about its Hawai‘i wildfire relief efforts.

Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement

  • To donate: https://www.memberplanet.com

This nonprofit organization that supports Native Hawaiians is raising support “for ‘ohana impacted by the devastating wildfires on Maui.”

Maui Food Bank

  • To donate: mauifoodbank.org/donate

The Maui Food Bank, which distributes food to the hungry in Maui County, is raising money to help feed residents of Maui who have been displaced by the fires.

Maui Strong Fund

  • To donate: https://www.hawaiicommunityfoundation.org/maui-strong

The Hawai‘i Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses its efforts on creating an equitable and vibrant Hawai‘i, has developed the Maui Strong Fund to provide shelter, food, financial assistance, and other services to residents.

Maui United Way

  • To donate: https://ignite.stratuslive.com/auw/get-involved/donate/mauirelief

Community aid organization Maui United Way has created a fund a Maui Fire Disaster Relief Fund that will assist victims of the fires.

This story was originally published on August 9, 2023, and has been updated to include current information.

The entryway to the opulent grand Zwinger museum complex in Dresden, Germany

Maui Travel Updates

Hawaii Tourism Authority Logo

Maui Recovery

southwest travel advisory maui

On August 8, 2023, wildfires resulted in the devastating loss of loved ones, homes, cultural and historical sites, and businesses in Lahaina, located in West Maui. We extend our deepest condolences and heartfelt aloha to all those who have been affected by this tragedy. We also urge visitors throughout Hawai‘i to be especially mindful and respectful in our island home as our community continues through this extremely difficult time.   The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority is continuously coordinating efforts with federal, state and county emergency management officials, as well as our community partners, visitor industry and Global Marketing Team. We are also providing updates to our travel partners — airlines, accommodations, ground transportation companies, activity providers, travel agents, and wholesalers, as well as to local, national and international media — to ensure the public is kept informed.

While Lahaina Town itself will remain fully closed to the public until further notice out of respect to the town’s residents, the rest of Maui and the other Hawaiian Islands are encouraging mindful visitation.

southwest travel advisory maui

Latest News

April 30, 2024

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Launches New Campaigns to Stimulate Meaningful Travel Demand

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority has launched new targeted campaigns as part of its global marketing and visitor education efforts. The purpose of these initiatives is to reinvigorate responsible travel demand from key markets around the world to the Hawaiian Islands.


“The People. The Place. The Hawaiian Islands.” uplifts Hawai‘i’s musicians, lei makers, chefs, farmers, culturalists, fashion designers, and others in their sectors that rely on a vibrant visitor industry. In Japan, the “Beautiful Hawai‘i” and “Yappari Hawai‘i (“It’s Gotta be Hawai‘i”) campaigns are already underway with an integrated mix of digital and TV advertising, social media, earned media, partnerships and trade education to drive bookings.
 Learn more .

Mākaukau Maui - We Are Ready

With a deep commitment to our community’s well-being, West Maui is ready to return a comforting sense of stability to the lives of its residents. Reopening our doors is one step towards reducing the uncertainties that weigh on our shoulders. It also ensures our community has the jobs and financial opportunities to thrive. On the horizon is a new day. As one, Maui is moving forward – hopeful and optimistic that it can share its culture with those beyond our shores. Learn more at: https://makaukaumaui.com .  

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Board Approves Action Plan to Support Maui’s Recovery in 2024

On December 22, 2023, the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority Board of Directors furthered its ongoing commitment to mālama Maui and support the island’s recovery by approving an immediate six-month action plan for 2024 to help address major challenges confronting residents, small businesses, visitor industry providers, Maui’s economy, and families seeking housing. Learn more here .   The action plan is designed to fulfill tourism’s responsibilities in alliance with the leadership established by Governor Josh Green, M.D. and within the broader scope of Maui’s recovery efforts being conducted by the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) and other state agencies. HTA’s full report identifying major strategies and not only short-term but also mid- and long-term recommendations is being provided to DBEDT in their role coordinating the State’s Economic Recovery Support Functions. Read the full report .

Hawai‘i Tourism Authority Board Of Directors Approves $2.6 Million In Funding For Maui Marketing Recovery Plan

HTA's Board of Directors took decisive action at its monthly board meeting on August 31, 2023 to approve $2.6 million in funding to launch the Maui Marketing Recovery Plan , which is centered around a new Mālama Maui campaign with heartfelt messages shared by kama‘āina of Maui. The plan's focus is to rebuild responsible travel demand from the United States market to Maui in the wake of the devastating Lahaina wildfires. Watch the board meeting . HTA staff and board members were on Maui throughout August to meet with residents and business owners and listen to them about the challenges they now face with visitor arrivals decreasing significantly since August 8. Visitors help to support the economy, supporting local shops, local restaurants, and local activities which ultimately aids in the island’s overall recovery efforts.

For Visitors

For Visitors

For Businesses

For Businesses

For Employees

For Employees

For Community

For Community

Travel trade.

Information and resources for travel advisors is available on our GoHawaii website.

Mālama Maui

NOTE: While multiple dictionary sources propose "Lāhainā" as the old pronunciation for the region, living kūpuna, mānaleo and recordings of mānaleo serve to demonstrate that the contemporary pronunciation is Lahaina. Heeding the call from the Lahaina community, HTA uses the spelling Lahaina across all platforms.

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Maui wildfires: Everything you need to know about navigating airline travel advisories

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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The travel advisory issued for Maui in the wake of the Hawaiian island's deadly wildfires is forcing many tourists and airline passengers to scramble for alternative travel arrangements.

The advisory urged people to avoid unnecessary travel to the Maui area so that emergency officials could allow evacuees and people impacted by the wildfires to safely leave the area.

If you are one of those travelers trying to figure out what the advisory means to you, here's what you need to know:

VIDEO: Maui wildfire: Aerial video shows widespread devastation in Lahaina

southwest travel advisory maui

What does the travel advisory say?

Issued by the state's acting Governor, it says: "Due to the ongoing wildfires on Maui caused by Hurricane Dora, Acting Governor Sylvia Luke issued an emergency proclamation to extend the state of emergency to all counties, discourage non-essential air travel to Maui, and to order all affected state agencies to assist with the evacuation."

Additionally, the advisory said: "As the wildfires continue, visitors with current and planned lodging at West Maui hotels may not have accommodations... The proclamation encourages visitors in West Maui to depart the island as soon as safe and practicable."

How are airlines responding?

Alaska Airlines

The airline posted this on social media: "We are closely monitoring the devastating impacts from the Maui wildfires, and we are continuing to operate all of our scheduled departures from Maui. A flexible travel policy is in place to allow guests to leave the island as soon as needed or postpone planned travel to the island." Alaska provided more details about its flexible travel policy when it comes to changing or cancelling flights on its website .

American Airlines

American is also waiving change fees but there are some requirements to be eligible for that. Full details are on their website .

Delta Airlines

Delta says that change fees will be waived if the new flight occurs before August 16, 2023. After that may incur a fare difference charge. But if the ticket is canceled altogether, then Delta will allow passengers to use the unused value of the ticket toward a future purchase of a new ticket. Details on their website.

RELATED: Wildfire burning one of Hawaii's most popular tourist areas as people flee; 6 dead: Maui officials

Hawaiian Airlines

The airline posted on social media: "We have a travel waiver in place and will allow you to receive a refund or change travel to a future date without penalty. If you wish to change your travel plans" The airlines website said the flexible policy applied to people travelling from now until August 20, 2023.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest is allowing passengers with tickets to Maui to change their flight without any additional charges. Passengers may rebook to another date or to another Hawaiian destination including Hilo, Honolulu, Kona, or Lihue. More details are available on their website .

MORE: Bay Area residents feel impacts of devastating Maui wildfires, some struggling to contact loved ones

southwest travel advisory maui

RELATED: Devastating Hawaii wildfires concern passengers, impact Bay Area travel

southwest travel advisory maui

United Airlines

United is waiving fees for passengers travelling to Maui on August 9-10. Passengers can change or reschedule their flights with no extra fee if they travel before August 16, 2023. If you new trip is outside that window, fees will still be waived but you might have to pay a fare difference. But, your new flight must be a United flight departing between August 8, 2023 and August 16, 2023. Tickets must be in the same cabin and between the same cities as originally booked.

If your new trip is after August 8, 2024, or is to a different destination, we'll still waive any change fees but you might have to pay a fare difference depending on the flight. Passengers also have the option to get a full refund. More details are on their website.

Westjet is offering flexible changing and canceling guidlines effective through August 11, 2023. Website .

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Hawaii Wildfires

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Here's how the Maui wildfires are affecting flights between Phoenix and Hawaii

southwest travel advisory maui

As wildfires destroy communities on the Hawaiian island of Maui , residents and visitors are escaping to safety.

Major airlines that serve Hawaii, including three with flights at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, are adding flights to evacuate passengers and supply emergency efforts as firefighters race to contain the blazes that killed 36 people as of Thursday afternoon .

Kahului Airport , Maui's main airport, remains open for people flying in and out of the island, the Hawaii Department of Transportation stated on X, formerly Twitter .

Hawaii's acting governor, the transportation department and several airlines urged travelers to reconsider non-essential travel to Maui.

If you're in Maui now and looking to fly back, or you have a flight to Maui in the coming weeks, here's what you need to know.

Here's what happened: British Airways canceled 11 days of flights in Phoenix this summer

What airlines fly from Phoenix to Maui?

Three airlines fly nonstop between Phoenix and Maui Kahului Airport: American, Southwest and Hawaiian.

American and Southwest offer once-daily flights. Availability in the coming days is extremely limited.

Hawaiian Airlines introduced seasonal nonstop service between Phoenix and Maui in 2021 , operating four times weekly from May to August. As of Thursday, Hawaiian had no Phoenix-Maui flights available within the next two weeks.

What to know about American Airlines' Maui-Phoenix flights

In a statement, American Airlines spokesman Derek Walls said the carrier is monitoring the wildfires and supporting evacuation efforts by increasing flights out of Maui. American is also using bigger planes to provide more seats.

People with flights scheduled through Aug. 13 can reschedule without change fees or cancel their trip and receive a refund, Walls said.

American's travel advisory states that people with reservations through Aug. 13 can rebook without fees for travel from Aug. 9-18 as long as they don't change the origin or destination city and rebook in the same cabin or pay the difference. Changes must be booked by Aug. 13.

What to know about Southwest Airlines' Maui-Phoenix flights

Southwest Airlines operates more than 90 daily flights in Hawaii and is adding capacity in response to the wildfires, spokesperson Alyssa Foster said.

Having more flights will provide more space for supplies and offer additional seats for passengers leaving Maui to escape the wildfires or going there to help, she said.

"We’ve added service, yesterday, today, tomorrow … mainland (including Phoenix) and among the islands," Foster said.

People with flights scheduled through Aug. 14 can rebook within 14 days of their original travel date without change fees.

Affected passengers can also change their departure or arrival to Southwest's other Hawaii destinations: Honolulu on Oahu, Lihue on Kauai and Hilo and Kona on Hawaii's Big Island. Southwest passengers can fly nonstop to Honolulu, Kona and Lihue via Sky Harbor.

What it means: Phoenix is ending its Mesa Gateway airport partnership

What to know about Hawaiian Airlines' Maui-Phoenix flights

Hawaiian Airlines is adding flights between Maui and Honolulu to evacuate people and support emergency response efforts, airline spokesperson Tara Shimooka said.

The airline added nine flights on Wednesday, Aug. 9, and six flights on Thursday, Aug. 10.

While the seasonal Maui-Phoenix nonstop is currently not flying, Hawaiian Airlines does offer year-round nonstop service between Honolulu and Phoenix. (So do American and Southwest.)

Hawaiian's travel advisory covers a longer period than American and Southwest's, offering passengers the ability to change flights at no additional cost for travel scheduled through Aug. 31. Passengers must rebook with their original city pairs and cabin.

Passengers can also cancel their flights and receive a flight credit good for one year from the original date of purchase, or request a refund for the trip. Refund requests must be made to Hawaiian's reservations department by Sept. 1; the department can be reached at 800-367-5320.

Reach the reporter at  [email protected] . Follow him on X, formerly Twitter: @salerno_phx .

Support local journalism.  Subscribe to  azcentral.com  today.

Watch CBS News

Traveling to Hawaii? Here's what to know about the Maui fires.

By Megan Cerullo

Updated on: August 15, 2023 / 2:53 PM EDT / MoneyWatch

Hawaii is a noted tourist destination, but after deadly wildfires wreaked havoc on Maui and other islands, it declared a state of emergency in all counties. Hawaiian officials are discouraging nonessential travel to Maui amidst the fire's destruction on that island.

Major airlines are assisting in efforts to evacuate residents and visitors from danger zones. People with trips planned to the second-largest Hawaiian island are being asked to postpone them, with airlines and accommodation providers offering travelers flexibility to rebook. 

Here's what to know if you have a vacation in Hawaii scheduled. 

What parts of Hawaii are experiencing fires?

A major blaze largely destroyed  the historic town of Lahaina, on Maui. As of Sunday officials said the Lahaina fire was 85% contained.

Fires also affected Kihei and Upcountry Maui, as well as the northwest part of the island of Hawaii, between Hapuna and Kawaihae.

Can I still go to Maui?

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is strongly discouraging nonessential travel to West Maui for the foreseeable future. Even tourists who are already there are encouraged to depart immediately, if they can. 

Thousands of residents have evacuated their homes and major roadways on the island remain closed. 

"Vacation travel to West Maui is strongly discouraged for the near future. Visitors in West Maui have largely heeded the call to leave the island. About 46,000 people have flown out of Kahului Airport since Wednesday," the Hawaii Tourism Authority said in a statement Saturday. 

On Monday, the travel authority reiterated that all non-essential travel to West Maui remains discouraged through the end of August, in line with Gov. Josh Green's latest  emergency proclamation .

Visitors with plans to visit other parts of Maui are urged to reach out to their accommodation providers to ensure they can still be hosted.

Concerns over drop in tourism

Some hosts on parts of the island that remain able to welcome tourists are concerned that guest cancellations could hamper the island's recovery from the wildfires. 

A small business owner with a condo in Kihei, on Maui's southwest shore, said that while it's safe to visit, guests have been canceling reservations into the month of November.

The host, Chandrika McLaughlin, added that it's important that tourists continue patronizing businesses like hers so that she and others retain the means to support Mauians whose lives have been uprooted by the wildfires. 

To be sure, would-be visitors to West Maui are still being asked to postpone their trips in part because federal, state and county governments are primarily focused on helping displaced residents and affected businesses. 

"Visitors with plans to stay in West Maui in the coming weeks and months are urged to consider rescheduling their travel plans for a later time when the overall situation has improved for area residents," the Tourism Authority said. 

Travel to the island of Hawaii remains unaffected, and the government said it remains safe to visit other islands.

Are commercial airlines flying to Maui?

Some are and some aren't. Many airlines are offering travel waivers that allow customers with immediate plans to travel to Maui to rebook their flights without fees, or to cancel them altogether for credit or, in some cases, a full refund. 

"With the exception of basic economy tickets, almost all U.S. airlines allow you flexibility to either reschedule your trip or cancel and get the full amount you paid back for travel credit for future trips," Scott Keyes, of travel site Going told CBS MoneyWatch. "So, you automatically have a lot of flexibility to change your plans or save flight credit for a future trip. That was not really the case pre-pandemic."

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued a travel alert describing how major airlines serving Maui's Kahului Airport have adjusted their operations and implemented flexible change policies for customers.

UNITED AIRLINES

United Airlines said it's prioritizing the welfare of its employees on Maui and has scrapped commercial flights to the island. It is instead using empty passenger planes to carry Maui residents off the island.

"We've canceled today's inbound flights to Kahului Airport so our planes can fly empty to Maui and be used as passenger flights back to the mainland," the airline said in a statement to CBS MoneyWatch.

The airline also has  waivers  in place for United passengers who had been scheduled to fly to or from Kahului airport on Maui, as well as Honolulu airport. 

Customers who were originally scheduled to fly between August 11 and September 16, and purchased tickets before August 9 may reschedule their trips and have any change fees and fare differences waived. The new ticket must be for a flight scheduled to depart before October 1. Passengers who wish to cancel their trips altogether are entitled to full refunds. 

AMERICAN AIRLINES

For its part, American Airlines is also waiving change fees on all flights to and from Hawaiian airports, through August 18. 

ALASKA AIRLINES

Alaska Air has a "flexible travel policy" in place that allows customers to change their flights at no cost through August 31 or cancel them in exchange for a travel voucher worth the cost of the flight.

Some would-be visitors to Maui said on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that they wanted outright refunds from airlines, as opposed to the option of rebooking within a short time frame. Given the extent of devastation the wildfires have caused, it may be some time before travelers may want to rebook.

Southwest Airlines said it had added flights between islands and back to the mainland U.S. "to keep people and supplies moving." Some fares from Maui to the mainland U.S. are under $100. 

Hawaiian Airlines also said it's adding extra flights between Maui and Honolulu for as little as $19 "to facilitate urgent travel."

The Hawaii Tourism Authority added that "airlines are being very supportive during this emergency crisis and providing additional flights to help visitors depart from Maui. Airlines are also adjusting their travel schedules to support those visitors who had planned to arrive this week."

Will I be compensated for my hotel accommodations?

Hotels and resorts in vulnerable areas have lost power, halted service and stopped accepting guests altogether. Some are providing full refunds to scheduled guests, depending on the time of their planned stay.

They've temporarily stopped accepting new reservations, too, given the uncertainty of the situation. Hotels have pivoted from accepting guests to housing their employees and families until the fires are fully contained and travel on roadways becomes safe again. 

They are also equipped to house evacuees and first responders helping with disaster relief efforts. 

Furthermore, the Tourism Authority is asking visitors with forthcoming reservations not to try to contact their accommodation providers at this time, so as not to tie up or overburden their limited bandwidths.

"While efforts are underway to restore basic services, like power and communications, visitors are encouraged to refrain from attempting to reach West Maui accommodations for reservation adjustments until the situation improves," it said. 

The Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa said the hotel is "closed to arrivals and not accepting guests" for the time being. It will issue refunds including for deposits and prepayments to guests who had been scheduled to stay at the property through the weekend. 

Homesharing site Airbnb said its extenuating circumstances policy has gone into effect for parts of Hawaii, including all of Maui. It is also allowing hosts and guests to cancel their stays without penalty. Guest are entitled to full refunds for reservations in the area they don't use.  

Non-refundable reservations

In the case of non-refundable reservations, a travel insurance policy could help you recoup payments related to a trip you didn't take. 

For travelers already on Maui, some of these policies also come with medical evacuation options that can help visitors on the island get to safer ground.

Some credit card companies already have protections related to travel built-in, without requiring that you sign up for additional protections.

"Many of them automatically include travel insurance, so check and see what you're entitled to," Keyes said.

—With reporting by Elizabeth Napolitano

Megan Cerullo is a New York-based reporter for CBS MoneyWatch covering small business, workplace, health care, consumer spending and personal finance topics. She regularly appears on CBS News 24/7 to discuss her reporting.

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The Aftermath of Maui Wildfires: Airlines Waive Fees and Travelers Are Advised Not to Visit

“Vacation travel to West Maui is strongly discouraged for the near future," the Hawaiian Tourism Board warned in a statement.

southwest travel advisory maui

Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

As the rescue and recovery effort continues in the aftermath of wildfires that swept portions of the island of Maui, the local tourism board and airlines are asking travelers to reconsider their travel to the island.  “Vacation travel to West Maui is strongly discouraged for the near future. Visitors in West Maui have largely heeded the call to leave the island. About 46,000 people have flown out of Kahului Airport since Wednesday,” the Hawaii Tourism Authority shared in a news release .

This urgent request comes as the death toll of those killed in the fire tragically rose to 96, marking it as the deadliest wildfire in the United States in over a century, according to The Associated Press . A similar message is being sent from Hawaiian Airlines, which is encouraging travelers to reconsider traveling to Maui.  “Due to the ongoing wildfires on Maui, an emergency proclamation has been issued in the State of Hawaii, and all non-essential travel to Maui is strongly discouraged,” Hawaiian Airlines shares on their homepage. Hawaiian Airlines is also offering travel waivers, and rebooking assistance to passengers with travel plans to the affected area. The airline is asking for people to postpone calling the telephone numbers unless they have immediate needs to help accommodate urgent concerns. American Airlines is waiving change fees for flights to Hawaii (Honolulu, Kahului / Maui, Kona, and Lihue / Kauai) for travel between August 9 through August 18.  United Airlines has also issued a travel advisory for travel to Maui between August 11, 2023 and August 31, 2023 for tickets purchased before August 9, 2023.  Delta Air Lines has provided a travel waiver for flights to Maui between August 9, 2023 through August 20, 2023 with rebooking by August 31, 2023.  Hollywood actor and Hawaiian native Jason Momoa also shared a stern post on social media with a photo that said “DO NOT TRAVEL TO MAUI”.  “Do not convince yourself that your presence is needed on an island that is suffering this deeply," Momoa wrote in the caption of the post. "Mahalo to everyone who has donated and shown aloha to the community in this time of need,” For those looking to provide assistance or support to victims and people affected by the wildfires, the Hawaiian Tourism Authority has set up the Maui Strong website which provides resources and organizations seeking support, and also the latest news and emergency information for those affected.  Travel + Leisure has also compiled a list of organizations to donate to.

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Planning Travel to Hawaii? Here’s What You Need to Know.

The extent of the damage from the wildfires is still being assessed. Many hotel companies and airlines are offering refunds and waiving cancellation fees for Maui-bound travelers.

Young people looking at their phones in an airport terminal crowded with people.

By Vjosa Isai

  • Aug. 10, 2023

About 11,000 tourists have been evacuated and another 1,500 were slated to fly out of the Hawaiian island of Maui on Thursday, after wildfires inflamed by gusting winds killed at least 36 people, destroyed homes and businesses and caused outages to cellphone service and power.

“Visitors who are on nonessential travel are being asked to leave Maui, and nonessential travel to Maui is strongly discouraged at this time,” the Hawaii Tourism Authority said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

The agency also urged travelers with plans to visit West Maui in the coming weeks, or the Mauna Kea resort area of the Big Island, where fires are also burning, “to consider rescheduling their travel plans for a later time.”

Here’s what travelers with an upcoming trip to Maui or other Hawaiian islands need to know.

What is the status of the wildfires?

President Biden on Thursday issued a major disaster declaration for the state of Hawaii and approved federal aid funding to support people in Maui County, which encompasses the island of Maui and several others. Officials have said the wildfires are largely contained , though heavy smoke and ash has lowered air quality and displaced thousands of people.

While the fires are no longer classified as out-of-control, they continue to burn in Lahaina, on Maui’s western edge; Pulehu, closer to its center; and nearby Upcountry, the elevated area surrounding the island’s highest peak, Haleakala, the Maui County officials said in a statement Wednesday evening. Firefighters are still tending to flare-ups, the statement said.

Road closures are in effect along a main highway on the northern coast of the Big Island because of brush fires.

High winds had previously been forecast into Friday morning, but the National Weather Service has since canceled that warning for the Hawaiian islands.

I have travel plans for a Hawaiian island other than Maui. Should I still go?

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said in a statement on Wednesday evening that travel to the other islands in Hawaii — Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai — and parts of the Big Island “are not affected at this time.”

But Oahu, home to the state capital, Honolulu, is mobilizing to support evacuees as airports become overrun. The Hawaii Convention Center, a few miles east of Honolulu’s international airport, is being converted into an assistance center with the help of the Red Cross. It will serve as a temporary shelter for those travelers evacuated from Maui who are not immediately able to return home, the tourism authority said.

Travelers may confront restrictions to outdoor activities as road closures persist in several locations across the Big Island.

What are major airlines doing about flights to Maui?

Airlines have been flooded with calls. Hawaiian Airlines is asking travelers to hold off on contacting its call center with less urgent questions as it tries to address customers immediately affected by the wildfires. The carrier is offering refunds and rescheduling at no extra cost for customers with flights to Maui’s Kahului Airport through Aug. 31. Other airlines have also implemented flexible cancellation policies and exemptions because of the wildfires, including Alaska Airlines , United Airlines , Southwest Airlines , American Airlines and Air Canada .

Southwest plans to fly its typical daily schedule on Thursday, of roughly 90 flights for Hawaii, many of which run between the islands, according to a spokesperson, with additional flights to provide extra seats for travelers leaving Maui.

American added one additional Maui flight on Thursday to help evacuate travelers. The airline has said that travelers whose plans have been affected by the fires will be able to rebook without fees, or cancel and receive a refund. Delta Air Lines is operating on its regular schedule.

United has canceled reservations on flights to Maui, to use planes to return travelers to the continental United States. The airline also waived change fees and offered refunds to customers with plans to fly to, from or through Maui.

Travelers should note that if they purchased their flights through an online travel agency, like Expedia, they may need to contact that organization directly.

Can I still check into my hotel on Maui?

That could depend on your arrival date, and the location of your hotel. But getting answers about your lodging could take some time, as disruptions to cell service and power outages across swaths of Maui have affected hotel operations.

For those who planned to visit a property owned by a large hotel chain, the recommendation is to call the company’s corporate help line. Travelers with bookings at Hilton properties on Maui through Aug. 15 are encouraged to contact the company by calling 1-800-HILTONS. The company is also waiving any cancellation penalties through Aug. 14 for guests with Maui plans.

Several Hyatt properties in Maui have initiated emergency procedures, including evacuating the Lahaina Shores Beach Resort and Puunoa Beach Estates. The Hyatt Regency Maui and Kaanapali Ali have announced shelter-in-place measures, and have paused guest check-ins until Sunday. The resorts will refund deposits and payments for that duration. Travelers who booked reservations in the coming days with Hyatt are recommended to contact the company’s Global Care Center , and those who used third-party travel agents should contact their booking provider.

Outrigger Ka’anapali Beach Resort is offering guests the option to change reservation dates at the same rate, or to be rebooked at another location on Kauai, Oahu and the Big Island.

Buses are shuttling visitors out of the Sheraton Maui Resort in Ka’anapali, and the Days Inn by Wyndham in Maui is closed to guests, as emergency responders take shelter there. Company cancellation policies have been relaxed, a Wyndham spokesperson wrote in an email, and suggested travelers contact customer service at 1-800-407-9832 .

One of the buildings destroyed in Lahaina was the Pioneer Inn, built in 1901 and operated as a 34-room hotel by Best Western in front of Banyan Tree Park, home to a famous 150-year-old banyan tree . The hotel’s staff and guests were evacuated, Best Western said in an email.

Are short-term rentals in the area allowing cancellations and refunds?

On Vrbo, decisions about refunds for cancellations are up to the individual hosts. The company in a statement issued Wednesday said hosts are able to cancel and refund bookings “without worrying about how it will affect their listing performance in future guest’s searches.” But guests have less flexibility, as natural disasters like wildfires, the company said, are not covered in its typical cancellation policy. Vrbo is advising those with upcoming bookings to contact their hosts, and their travel insurance provider, for more information.

Airbnb is offering travelers in parts of Maui a flexible cancellation option through its “ extenuating circumstances policy ,” which could result in a full refund on eligible stays.

Christine Chung , Derrick Bryson Taylor and Niraj Chokshi contributed reporting.

Vjosa Isai reports for The Times from Toronto. More about Vjosa Isai

How to adjust your travel plans for Hawaii during the wildfires

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The Hawaiian island of Maui is asking visitors to stay away as it tries to recover from devastating wildfires.

Officials said Thursday morning that two of the three fires on Maui were largely contained. But the damage to portions of the island is extensive, particularly in the tourism-heavy region of West Maui, where fire appears to have incinerated much of the historic town of Lahaina .

The Kahului Airport on Maui remains open, at least in part because of all the people being evacuated (officials have asked all visitors on “non-essential” trips to leave). With the wildfires causing more than 50 deaths and an estimated $8 billion to $10 billion in damage and economic losses, the Hawaiian government is strongly discouraging tourists from coming to the island.

If you had a vacation planned, this is what you need to know.

World & Nation

Mapping how the Maui fires destroyed Lahaina

The Lahaina fire in West Maui ignited as firefighters focused on the Upcountry fire. What happened next — the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century — left the historic town in ashes.

Aug. 14, 2023

Should I cancel my trip to Hawaii?

The state tourism authority emphasized that most parts of Hawaii continue to welcome visitors. “Travel to Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi” and parts of Hawaiʻi Island other than the Mauna Kea resort area “are not affected at this time,” the authority said on its website Wednesday. By Thursday, the Mauna Kea Resort on the big island was open again after three fires in the area were brought under control, the authority said.

Maui, and particularly West Maui, is a different story. The tourism authority said Wednesday night that visitors bound for West Maui in the coming weeks “are encouraged to consider rescheduling their travel plans for a later time.”

“In the days and weeks ahead, our collective resources and attention must be focused on the recovery of residents and communities that were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses,” the authority said.

Lahaina, Maui, Thursday, August 11, 2023 - A man stands among the wreckage downtown. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

Death toll in Maui fires rises to 67: ‘We have not yet searched’ buildings

Hawaii Gov. Josh Green says the fires are probably the state’s deadliest natural disaster in decades.

Aug. 11, 2023

What can I do about my flight to Hawaii?

Some major airlines offer customers the ability to obtain refunds for travel to Maui in the coming weeks, as well as the option to reschedule their flights. The exact terms depend on the airline.

At United Airlines , if you had paid for a flight to Kahului Airport between Aug. 11 and Aug. 31, you can cancel and get a refund, according to the United website. You can also reschedule your trip and the change fees and fare differences will be waived under certain circumstances.

If your new trip is after Aug. 31 or is to a destination outside Hawaii, United will still waive any change fees, but you may have to pay a fare difference, depending on the flight.

At Delta Air Lines , customers who can’t reschedule their trips to Maui may cancel their reservations and apply the ticket cost to the purchase of new flight — but that flight has to be booked no more than a year after the Maui ticket was purchased, the airline’s website says.

If you schedule a new flight on or before Aug. 18 at the same level of service as the Maui flight, Delta’s website says it will waive the change fee and any difference in fare. After that, only the change fee will be waived.

The American Airlines site suggests that refunds are possible for flights to or through Maui if you cancel by Aug. 13. You can apply for one on the airline’s website .

If you want to reschedule your flight, American will waive the change fee if you rebook by Aug. 13, but you may have to pay any difference in the fare. To see if your flight is eligible for a refund or fee waiver, use the “ Find your trip ” tool on the airline’s website. If you can’t change your trip online, call Reservations for help.

At Alaska Airlines , if you’d purchased a ticket to or from Maui by Aug. 9, you can obtain a refund as long as you cancel before the original flight’s departure date, the airline’s website says. You can also reschedule onto a new flight to or from Maui or three other Hawaiian airports through Aug. 31 at the same fare if you stay in the same cabin. But you have to exchange their tickets prior to the departure of their original flight.

Hawaiian Airlines is allowing customers to cancel their flights in exchange for a refund or a credit for future flights, or to change their flights to a different island, its website says. To change or cancel your flight, call the airline’s reservations line at 800-367-5320.

A spokesperson for the airline said, “We ask guests with non-urgent inquiries to please call back later so that we can assist travelers with immediate needs. Guests traveling through Kahului should continue to check their flight status on our website or app before coming to the airport.”

Wildfire wreckage is shown Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. The search of the wildfire wreckage on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Thursday revealed a wasteland of burned out homes and obliterated communities as firefighters battled the stubborn blaze making it the deadliest in the U.S. in recent years. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

How to help Maui residents displaced by the devastating wildfires

Wildfires on the Hawaiian island of Maui have killed at least 36 people, displaced thousands of residents and destroyed hundreds of structures, including homes, businesses and a school, prompting President Biden to declare a “major disaster.”

Aug. 10, 2023

Will my hotel charge me a fee to cancel my stay in Maui?

Under normal circumstances, many hotels penalize last-minute cancellations by charging fees that can be considerable. Some in West Maui are waiving those fees at the moment, but figuring out the policy at the hotel you’ve booked can be a challenge — the closer it is to the fire, the more likely that its power and phone lines are down.

The Hyatt family of hotels is waiving cancellation fees for arrivals “in the coming days,” the company said in a statement. It suggested that guests with reservations call its customer support line at 800-233-1234 “for additional details and assistance in alternate accommodations.” It also noted, however, that canceled reservations made through online booking sites and other third parties may be governed by those sites’ policies.

An Expedia spokesperson told The Times in an email that it is working with hotels that book through Expedia and Hotels.com to institute a “flex policy” for reservations on the full island of Maui through Aug. 31. “This means that travelers with upcoming bookings in the impacted area can change or cancel their hotel booking without penalty,” she said. “The flex policy can be accessed when you engage with a virtual agent once you log into your account or provide your itinerary number to the virtual agent.”

Expedia and Hotels.com ’s customer service agents are available 24 hours a day by phone or online to help with travel arrangements.

According to a spokesperson for Marriott hotels, the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka’anapali, the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa and the Ritz-Carlton Maui in Kapalua have been evacuated and will close temporarily due to extended power outages. Cancellation fees at the three hotels have been waived through Aug. 31. She advised travelers to the area to follow the news and MauiCounty.gov for local situation updates. To adjust reservations, guests should visit Marriott.com or the Marriott app.

If you’re headed for other parts of Maui or the Mauna Kea resort area on the island of Hawaii, the state tourism authority says, you should talk to the hotel you booked for updates about how you might be affected.

Hotels in Maui may still be taking reservations, and some are providing refunds up to the date of travel. For example, you could book a room for next week at the Outrigger Kaanapali Beach Resort on Thursday afternoon, even though the power and phone lines at the resort were out, according to a reservation agent.

CORRECTS DATE TO AUG. 8 - People watch as smoke and flames fill the air from raging wildfires on Front Street in downtown Lahaina, Maui on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023. Maui officials say wildfire in the historic town has burned parts of one of the most popular tourist areas in Hawaii. County of Maui spokesperson Mahina Martin said in a phone interview early Wednesday says fire was widespread in Lahaina, including Front Street, an area of the town popular with tourists. (Alan Dickar via AP)

‘Gone forever’: Fire devastates historic Lahaina, former capital of the Hawaiian kingdom

The wildfire that ripped through Maui devastated Lahaina, a town boasting centuries of history and that was once the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom.

Can I cancel my Vrbo or Airbnb?

Expedia Group, which owns Vrbo, said in a statement that it is “applying an extenuating circumstances exception for eligible Vrbo reservations in Maui where travelers will be able to get a full refund.” It added, “We will continue to work with our Vrbo hosts who have upcoming bookings in impacted areas to make sure all of our travelers are treated fairly.”

Airbnb customer service says that they will provide penalty-free cancellations in parts of Maui for hosts and guests who request them. However, people need to call the site’s customer service line at (844) 234-2500 to make sure that they are eligible.

Travelers whose accommodations aren’t directly affected by the fires may have a harder time obtaining a refund.

One reader told The Times that he and his wife wanted to heed the government’s request and cancel their trip to Maui, but their Airbnb host declined to give them even a partial refund on their $2,000 stay. According to Airbnb’s site, cancellations and refunds are up to the hosts , not Airbnb.

Will travel insurance cover me?

According to the insurance comparison site Insuremytrip.com , “If a wildfire that affects your trip is known before you purchase a plan, your coverage may be extremely limited.” So if you are thinking of purchasing travel insurance now for a trip in the coming weeks, don’t bother.

What you can do is see if wildfires fall under the definition of “natural disaster” on your travel insurance policy. You may also be eligible for coverage under “trip delay” if your flight is canceled, “trip interruption” if your accommodations or primary residence are damaged, or “trip cancellation” if your destination has been evacuated, Insuremytrip says.

About The Times Utility Journalism Team

This article is from The Times’ Utility Journalism Team. Our mission is to be essential to the lives of Southern Californians by publishing information that solves problems, answers questions and helps with decision making . We serve audiences in and around Los Angeles — including current Times subscribers and diverse communities that haven’t historically had their needs met by our coverage. How can we be useful to you and your community? Email utility (at) latimes.com or one of our journalists: Jon Healey , Ada Tseng , Jessica Roy and Karen Garcia .

More to Read

FILE - A man views the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, Aug. 19, 2023. A University of Hawaii study examining the health effects of last year's deadly wildfires on Maui found that up to 74% of participants may have difficulty breathing and otherwise have poor respiratory health, and almost half showed signs of compromised lung function. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

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FILE - A general view shows the aftermath of a wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, Monday, Aug. 21, 2023. The wildfires devastated parts of the Hawaiian island of Maui earlier this month. Maui County is suing major cellular carriers for failing to properly inform police of widespread service outages during the height of last summer's deadly wildfire. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

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FILE - Signs asking people to respect locals and that "Lahaina is not for sale" are seen on the side of the Lahaina Bypass, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. An acute housing shortage hitting fire survivors on the Hawaiian island of Maui is squeezing out residents even as they try to overcome the loss of loved ones, their homes and their community. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson, File)

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southwest travel advisory maui

Emma Fox was a 2023 summer intern on the Utility Journalism team at the Los Angeles Times. A student at Loyola Marymount University, she majors in journalism with a Chicano/Latino studies minor and was the arts and culture editor at the on-campus publication, the Lion. Fox is the president of her school’s chapters of the National Assn. of Hispanic Journalists and the Society of Professional Journalists and previously was an intern for the San Diego Voice and Viewpoint.

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Is it safe to visit Hawaii right now? What travelers should know about the Maui wildfires

southwest travel advisory maui

Tourists are being asked stay away from West Maui amid historic wildfires that have claimed at least 96 lives.

"Visitors in West Maui have largely heeded the call to leave the island, and hotels and other accommodations are needed for displaced residents and emergency workers," said Hawaii Gov. Josh Green in an emergency proclamation Sunday strongly discouraging nonessential travel to West Maul.

Previous proclamations expanded the essential travel zone to all of Maui and the Big Island of Hawaii, where fires have also been burning in the northwest. A state of emergency remains in effect for the entire state.

Hawaii's tourism arm is encouraging travelers with trips planned to impacted areas to reschedule their trips if possible. 

Is it safe to travel to Hawaii now?

For now, only essential travel is advised for West Maui.

Learn more: Best travel insurance

“In the days and weeks ahead, our collective resources and attention must be focused on the recovery of residents and communities that were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses,” Hawai’i Tourism Authority said in a statement. 

Maui’s Kahului Airport remains open, but travelers are advised to check with their airlines for possible schedule changes.

Death toll is climbing: How to help victims in the Maui wildfires in Hawaii

Is it safe to travel to other areas of Hawaii right now?

Travel to other parts of the Big Island of Hawaii, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Lanai remains safe.

Prominent Hawai’i hotel chain Outrigger is inviting guests with upcoming Maui reservations to rebook at one of their properties on neighboring islands.

Can I get a refund for my trip?

Travelers should check with their specific hotels and airlines for special waivers amid the wildfires.

Air Canada , Alaska Airlines , American Airlines , Delta Air Lines , Hawaiian Airlines , Southwest Airlines and United Airlines are all offering penalty-free assistance with Maui travel, though dates vary.

Vacation rentals can sometimes be trickier to navigate when emergencies arise, but Vrbo's parent company Expedia Groups says, "For bookings in Maui and portions of the Big Island with a stay date between Aug. 9-16, Vrbo has waived host penalties for cancellations, which means hosts can cancel and refund their guests without worrying about how it will affect their listing performance in a future guest’s searches."

Both guests and hosts can cancel Airbnb stays without penalty in Maui and other areas of Hawaii as part of the company's Extenuating Circumstances Policy , which covers declared emergencies and other unforeseen events. Guests are eligible for full refunds under the policy.

southwest travel advisory maui

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Pack your bags for your next golf trip to kahului (maui)..

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When you book a flight to Kahului (Maui), you tee up for a world-class golf destination in paradise. Golf may have only arrived in Hawaii in 1925, but champions flock to the island of Maui to hit the links during competition and downtime. Whether you book your tee time at the public course in town or venture to a stately golf resort, your Hawaii golf excursion will be an ace.

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Southwest Airlines is proud to serve Kahului Airport.

Nestled in the valley between the West Maui Mountains and the East Maui Volcano, Kahului is the entry point for the island of Maui. When you deplane, you’ll find yourself in the commercial center of the island. Although not your traditional vacation destination, the city still bursts with local color and charm—it’ll be hard to know where to start exploring!

Dive into Maui culture, flora, and fauna right away by visiting the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens. Dedicated to the collection and cultivation of both native plants and those that were introduced by Polynesian settlers, the gardens are an ideal place to enjoy the full breadth of Maui’s plant life. Next, visit the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary. While Hawaiian royals once visited this area to fish, it’s now the protected home of over fifty bird species.

It’s hard to miss Haleakala Crater when you’re looking up. If you choose to trek out of town to Haleakala National Park, you’ll find it amongst the volcanic ranges, sub-tropical rain forest, and may spot one of the endangered species found only inside the park. The park is split into two districts—Kipahulu and Summit—that offer distinct experiences to visitors. If you want panoramic views of Maui, head to Summit to summit the crater. Don’t forget to bring layers; the peak can be up to 20 degrees colder than the temperature at sea level. Sunrise and sunset at the summit are breathtaking but require reservations—be sure to book in advance. Once you reach the summit, you’ll understand why this place is beloved.

Hungry for more of Maui? Get a taste of authentic Hawaiian cuisine in Kahului. You’ll eat like a local during your visit. When folks who live on Maui “go into town,” they’re referring to Kahului. Being on the shore, seafood is a must-have meal. Fresh ahi tuna is great alone or in a poke bowl. If you have an opportunity to attend a luau, make sure to sample Kalua roast pork, which is traditionally cooked in a stone-lined underground oven.

The Valley Island is calling—our low fares are the answer. We fly to Kahului Airport, which makes starting your island adventure simpler. And when you book with Southwest, you can book with confidence, knowing that the process will be straightforward from flight selection to checkout. Of course, having a memorable trip is about more than finding a great deal on a flight. Learn more about the Southwest ® Experience and book your next flight to Kahului Airport.

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Use our low fare calendar to find the lowest fares on flights to kahului (maui) available inside your travel window., things to do in maui..

  • Haleakala National Park
  • Kanaha Beach Park Kipahulu District
  • Kanaha Beach Park Summit District
  • Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Maui Nui Botanical Gardens
  • Maui Ocean Center, Maalaea
  • Alexander & Baldwin Sugar Museum
  • Maui Arts & Cultural Center
  • Sunrise at the Haleakala Summit

Other destinations in the Hawaiian islands

Looking for your dream tropical vacation? Look no further. From the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to the wide variety of adventurous outdoor activities to the black sand beaches, Hilo on the Island of Hawaii is the perfect place for your next getaway.

Surfing at Waikiki Beach, a tour of Pearl Harbor, and the hustle and bustle of Honolulu are just a few of the things that await you on the gorgeous island of Oahu. So what are you waiting for? Your dream Hawaiian getaway is waiting.

Let the west coast of the Island of Hawaii wow you. Drink in the local culture, from the region’s iconic coffee to historic royal residences and white-sand beaches. Book your next flight to Kona today.

Step off the plane and into this lush green paradise. The entire island is full of fun things to do and incredible views you’ll never forget, so prepare to take all the pictures and get all the likes on social media. See why Kauai is the perfect spot for your trip to Hawaii.

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Current Travel Advisories, Restrictions, & Updates

What are the travel restrictions & requirements in hawaii, last updated:  may 17, 2024.

We've covered all of the latest Hawaii travel news and announcements below, including the steps travelers should follow to safely visit Hawaii in the future.

Maui Travel Updates

Lahaina remains closed.

Lahaina will remain fully closed to the public until further notice out of respect to the town's residents. County, state, and federal emergency responders continue with efforts to identify victims and the missing and conduct clean-up efforts of debris and hazardous materials resulting from the wildfires.

— article continued below —

Garden of Eden - East Maui

Garden of Eden - East Maui

Before you visit…

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority advises travelers to check with individual accommodations, activities and businesses in West Maui for their availability and hours of operation. As travelers return to Maui after the devastating August wildfires, they will help to sustain jobs, keep businesses open, and support the community.

We urge all visitors to be especially mindful and respectful in the islands as the community continues through this tragedy.

Maui Wildfires

In August 2023, wildfires damaged a significant portion of West Maui, many lives were lost, and 2,200+ structures were destroyed -  making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century and Hawaii's worst natural disaster in modern history . 

More information can be found on our   August 2023 Maui wildfire  page.

Remainder of West Maui Reopened November 1, 2023

In late September 2023, Maui's Mayor, Richard Bissen,  released brand-new details  about how the island will go about reopening the resort areas surrounding Lahaina, which will remain closed indefinitely.

The plan initially involved three phases, but the Mayor  reopened the rest of West Maui on November 1, 2023 .

Latest Pandemic Developments in Hawaii

Last updated:  december 16, 2022.

At this time, there are no pandemic travel-related restrictions for domestic travelers, and neither the Governor's office nor island mayors have indicated they plan to reintroduce any restrictions.

Travelers can check the state of Hawaii's confirmed cases here .

'Safe Travels' program & mask mandate both officially ended March 26, 2022

According to Governor Ige, the state of Hawaii dropped the 'Safe Travels' program for domestic U.S. travelers at midnight on  March 25, 2022 . Governor Ige has also announced the indoor mask mandate has ended as of March 26, 2022 . Masks may still be required on public transportation, such as buses, and within Hawaii’s airports.

That now means domestic travelers to Hawaii will no longer need to fill out online forms via Safe Travels, no longer have to worry about QR codes, no longer have to provide proof of vaccination, and ultimately, there won't be any additional requirements or restrictions to fly to Hawaii on a domestic flight.

On the county level, the County of Kauai, the County of Maui, and the County of Hawaii have repealed their COVID-19 Emergency Rules. The City and County of Honolulu's Safe Access Oahu program ended on Sunday, March 6, 2022.

" Safe Travels is one part of a multi-layer approach to COVID safety. The program played a key role in keeping Hawaii's residents safe before vaccinations were widely available, and during the surges we've seen through this pandemic ," said John De Fries, Hawaii Tourism Authority President and CEO. " Bringing the Safe Travels program to a close reflects the progress we have made as a state , and Governor Ige’s decision is a good balance of maintaining reasonable health precautions while reopening our society and economy ."

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Beat of Hawaii - Hawai`i Travel News

Updated: Baffling Maui Travel Advice Just Released By State of Hawaii

A Maui travel update received this week from Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) attempted to be less baffling than before but did not entirely succeed. The new directive adds information for South Maui travel, which had been omitted previously, and does not go beyond August for West Maui visitors.

We received an update from the state late yesterday, but there was no further clarification from Governor Green as had been expected last night. Thus at the moment, the latest is as follows:

“All non-essential travel to West Maui (including Lāhainā, Nāpili, Kāʻanapali, and Kapalua) is strongly discouraged through the month of August ,” Governor Josh Green said in his latest emergency proclamation. “But the other parts of Maui are safe.”

Guidance beyond August has not been provided thus far, and visitors for dates starting in two weeks have no word from the state. At the same time, the HTA said things including the following.

“Hotels in West Maui have temporarily stopped accepting bookings of future reservations. While efforts are underway to fully restore electrical power, municipal water, and communications, visitors are encouraged to refrain from attempting to reach West Maui accommodations for reservation adjustments until the situation stabilizes.”

“In alignment with Governor Green, the Hawaii Tourism Authority urges visitors to refrain from going to West Maui (including Lahaina, Napili, Kaanapali, and Kapalua) as a means of respect to the people and places that have been lost in Lahaina during this devastating tragedy.”

We are aware that at least some West Maui accommodations hope to reopen to visitors soon.

Update from HTA for visitors to Maui (other than West Maui).

The state said that “Visitors with travel plans to other parts of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, and Mākena) should reach out to their accommodations to ensure they can still be hosted.”

There is no guidance prohibiting or discouraging visiting the vast majority of Maui. The messaging from the HTA and the governor has switched to being pro-travel to the rest of Maui. But even then, there will be questions.

The most recent announcement from the Hawaii Tourism Authority on Maui travel planning followed the devastating wildfires earlier this month. That latest announcement provided some further clarification but also left many questions. Visitors remain uncertain about all Maui travel, as is reflected in hundreds of recent comments we’ve received. It has also been reported that travel to Maui may be down by as much as 80% following the fires. We will give you our best suggestions based on the current messaging and what we know.

All of our focus continues to remain on those killed and displaced in the still unfolding devastation of Lahaina. There are no words to adequately express the pain and suffering that continues to hang over Maui and all of Hawaii.

Access to West Maui as highway has been reopened.

After the prior road closure due to the fire, limited access for personnel, incuding resort, first responders, medical, utility, county, supply transport, and volunteers was implemented.

Then last Wednesday, the Honoapiilani Highway which provides access to West Maui from Maalaea was reopened. to all vehicles from 6 am until 10 pm daily. Gov. Green said on announcing the reopening, “Anyone will be able to travel that road.”.

Prior advice from HTA to avoid Maui travel entirely is gone.

Several days ago, the state’s Hawaii Tourism Authority said, “People with non-essential travel plans to Maui are strongly discouraged from traveling to Maui at this time. Visitors who have plans to travel to Maui in the coming weeks are being asked to reschedule their trip for a later time. The island’s resources need to be dedicated to emergency response.”

But in this latest directive , that changed, with only West Maui being mentioned for no travel.

“Visitors Urged to Forego Travel Plans to West Maui .” Hawaii Tourism Authority. 8/12/23.

HTA also said, “In the weeks ahead, the collective resources and attention of the federal, state, and county government, the West Maui community, and the travel industry must be focused on the recovery of residents who were forced to evacuate their homes and businesses.”

“Visitors with plans to stay in West Maui in the coming weeks and months are urged to consider rescheduling their travel plans for a later time when the overall situation has improved for area residents.” Hawaii Tourism Authority. 8/12/23.

What does the latest HTA directive mean?

Our sense from discussions with multiple sources regarding travel to West Maui is as follows: It would be best to consider placing travel plans for the later this year on hold, at least for now, pending further information, even though the latest release only mentions August.

While the state has continued to refer to “weeks and months” of work ahead, it will undoubtedly take much longer than envisioned to get West Maui going again. That, as we realize, the scope of the devastation has barely been revealed, with so much to come. And even after that happens, the infrastructure for visitors may not be restored soon.

The often considered to be repugnant Hawaii Tourism Authority continues to never be clear in its messaging. It is no wonder that much of the state of Hawaii has long been ready to eliminate the Hawaii Tourism Authority entirely, and we will be surprised if that doesn’t ultimately occur. Those Hawaii residents who rely on employment within the tourism industry could face serious consequences if the state doesn’t get clear soon regarding better messaging about South Maui’s critical travel industry. Hawaii residents and Hawaii visitors both want to know what the future holds.

West Maui hotels are no longer accepting reservations.

“Hotels in West Maui have temporarily stopped accepting bookings of future reservations,” said Hawaii Tourism.

As hotels return online, they must house employees, families, and others dislocated by the fires and those on Maui, including first responders and others providing the range of critical help needed.

Do not try to reach West Maui hotels and vacation rentals.

The HTA has said that, “While efforts are underway to restore basic services, like power and communications, visitors are encouraged to refrain from attempting to reach West Maui accommodations for reservation adjustments until the situation improves.” We suggest checking for updates on accommodation websites.

There is no additional time frame being discussed yet, as efforts remain focused on finding the bodies of those who perished in the fire first. That process is underway, with much work to do even well over a week after the fires.

southwest travel advisory maui

Absence of communication regarding West Maui after August.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority is, at this time, no longer advising visitors on whether or not to travel to West Maui after August. That information will, by necessity, be forthcoming and perhaps quite soon. As for the rest of Maui, as mentioned previously, those residents who rely on employment within the tourism industry will face serious consequences if South Maui’s critical travel industry doesn’t resume. And both Hawaii residents and Hawaii visitors want to know what the future holds, as much as possible under these catastrophic circumstances.

Travel to the other Islands is not impacted.

Those visitors planning on coming to the Big Island, Kauai, and Oahu are not affected by the conditions on Maui. Having said that, two of your editors are currently on Oahu, and the evacuation of visitors from Maui to Oahu has resulted in very challenging travel conditions and overcrowding. That, however, should subside as those visitors return to the mainland.

Updated 8/19/23 10 am.

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Maui Travel Advice Wanting Following Governor's Monologue

Maui Travel Advice Wanting Following Governor’s Monologue

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241 thoughts on “Updated: Baffling Maui Travel Advice Just Released By State of Hawaii”

With much Disdain towards the Hawaiians that have been attempting to chase tourists and Vacationers away from all of the State of Hawaii, not only the Island County of Maui, has anyone actually considered that the online presence are only a tiny, immature, amount of Hawaiian Residents? Even those who are telling, even threatening at times, to Stay Away from Maui are probably not from Maui, rather the same people demanding tourists stop visiting Oahu or the Big Island. Maybe these people are some that have moved from Hawaii to Las Vegas, Oregon, or Washington State. How do we know for certain? I am a “Transplant” from where I initially was born and spent many years, our Family had well over 200 years in that area. I would Never attempt to keep people away from there so that I would Feel Better about it, or Ridiculous Fantasies of reclaiming it. There’s more afoot in all of this, for the Most Part pandering on the Suffering and Loss of those on Maui. I truly Pray for those of Maui, recovering from this will not be easy or enjoyable, satisfaction of rebuilding their lives is the thing that may bring them some joy and togetherness in the end. Let the Haters and Neighsayers play their games to the Detriment of Themselves!

AJ where did you stay? South Maui or West Maui? Thanks

We stayed in South Maui, in particular at a resort in Wailea.

There a few locals on this message board that continue to spew garbage and guilt for anyone planning to visit. My family and I are wrapping up our 10 day stay today. Maui residents and locals need tourist. My resort is down to 17% occupancy. Employees are loosing hours and in some cases being laid off altogether. No one was rude or otherwise during our stay. They treated us with all the respect and dignity we deserved. They were so happy that we made the trip. For all those reading, please don’t cancel your trips.

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Act fast: Earn the Southwest Companion Pass by flying to Hawaii

Rachel Craft

Editor's Note

Southwest Airlines is celebrating five years of service in Hawaii with a special promotion: Rapid Rewards members can now earn a valuable Companion Pass by taking just one round-trip flight to Hawaii this summer.

To qualify, you must:

  • Be a Rapid Rewards member (you can create an account for free).
  • Register for the promotion and purchase qualifying revenue travel (one round-trip or two one-way qualifying flights between the U.S. mainland and Hawaii) by Friday. You can pay for your flight(s) using cash or Southwest's new Cash + Points option, but flights booked solely with points will not qualify.
  • Fly between June 1 and July 31. To qualify, flights must be flown by the same member.

You can choose from five airports in Hawaii that Southwest serves:

  • Hilo International Airport (ITO), island of Hawaii
  • Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA), island of Hawaii
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Oahu
  • Kahului Airport (OGG), Maui
  • Lihue Airport (LIH), Kauai

After meeting the criteria — and unwinding on a Hawaiian beach — you'll receive a promotional Companion Pass valid from Oct. 5 to Nov. 15.

Related: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

southwest travel advisory maui

Southwest's Companion Pass is popular among travelers because it lets you bring one person on every trip for next to nothing — you just have to pay taxes and fees (starting at $5.60 one-way). This applies to both paid and award tickets to anywhere Southwest services, including the U.S., Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. You can bring your companion along on as many trips as you want for the life of the pass.

To take advantage of your Companion Pass, first designate a companion in your Rapid Rewards account. Then, after booking your own flight using cash, points or both, go to the My Trips section of your account and follow the steps to book your companion's ticket.

Note that you can only change your designated Southwest companion up to three times per calendar year.

southwest travel advisory maui

Normally, you must fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 135,000 qualifying Rapid Rewards points in a calendar year to earn a Companion Pass . The pass is valid for the remainder of the year in which you earned it, plus the following full calendar year.

But there are ways to snag a Companion Pass faster . Southwest occasionally runs promotions like this one, allowing even the most casual Southwest flyers to earn a Companion Pass that's valid for a shorter length of time. We've also seen cobranded Southwest credit cards offer limited-time Companion Passes.

With the current Hawaii promotion, now is a great time to plan a getaway to the Aloha State — and earn a Companion Pass to save on travel this fall.

Related reading:

  • Southwest baggage fees and how to avoid paying them
  • Airlines that offer you a credit if the price of airfare drops
  • Comparing the Southwest Rapid Rewards Priority, Premier and Plus credit cards
  • How to snag the best seats on Southwest Airlines

Friday, May 24, 2024 80° Today's Paper

Rain showers continue to soak saturated Oahu

By Star-Advertiser staff

May 16, 2024

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southwest travel advisory maui

JAMM AQUINO/[email protected]

Nearly whiteout conditions due to heavy rains are seen on South Beretania Street, this morning. The remaining kona low continues to bring the threat of heavy rains and flooding through Friday.

southwest travel advisory maui

COURTESY NOAA/NESDIS/STAR GOES-WEST

Areas of moisture are seen around the islands in this satellite image today.

southwest travel advisory maui

UPDATE: 3:33 a.m.

A flood advisory has been extended until 5 a.m. for Oahu due to excessive rainfall.

“At 3:30 a.m., radar indicated moderate rain over the south shore and eastern Oahu,” the updated advisory said. “Rain was falling at a rate of 0.5 to 1.0 inches per hour. Additional rainfall is developing to the south and is expected to continue to move northward into Oahu during the next few hours. Stream levels remain elevated across the island.”

A Flood Watch is also in effect through Friday evening.

This advisory may need to be extended beyond 5 a.m. if flooding persists.

The flood advisory for Oahu has been extended until 2 a.m. as rain continues to fall throughout the already-saturated island.

“At 10:45 p.m., radar indicated moderate rain over eastern Oahu,” the updated advisory said. “Rain was falling at a rate of around 1 inch per hour. Rainfall is redeveloping to the south and is expected to begin moving back into central and west Oahu in the next hour or two. Stream levels also continue to run high across the island.”

The advisory includes the entire island of Oahu.

Stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low lying areas prone to flooding.

Rainfall and runoff will also cause hazardous driving conditions due to ponding, reduced visibility and poor braking action.

The flood advisory for Oahu has been extended until 11 p.m. as rain continues to fall throughout the already-saturated island.

“At 7:59 p.m., radar indicated moderate rain over eastern Oahu,” the updated advisory said. “Rain was falling at a rate of around 1 inch per hour. Rainfall has decreased in coverage and intensity, but additional rain continues to move in from the south and stream levels continue to run high.”

The advisory includes the entire island.

Oahu, Niihau, Kauai, Molokai, and Lanai remain under a flood watch through Friday evening.

Meanwhile, city officials said that the Kailua-bound lanes of Kalanianaole Highway are shut down from Castle Junction to Kapaa Quarry Road for road work after Thursday’s heavy rain downed a tree and sent mud and other debris onto the roadway.

Motorists were advised to use an alternate route and to avoid the area.

“Vehicles are being rerouted through Maunawili and onto Kamehameha Highway, officials said.

A flood advisory has been posted again for Oahu due to excessive rainfall. The flood advisory has expired for Hawaii island.

The flood advisory for the entire island of Oahu is in effect until 8:15 p.m. today.

At 5:01 p.m., the radar showed moderate to heavy rain over the northwestern half of Oahu. The highest rainfall rates were up to 1 inch per hour over the Waianae mountains and Central Oahu. Forecasters said the rainfall is expected to spread eastward as showers move in from the south.

A flood watch is still in effect through Friday evening for Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai and Lanai.

In addition, a high surf advisory remains for the south-facing shores of all Hawaiian Islands until 6 p.m. Friday.

The flood advisory for Hawaii island has been extended through 6:45 p.m. today.

Radar at 3:23 p.m. showed heavy showers over the upper North and South Hilo districts as rain fell at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour over a portion of Saddle Road between Kaumana and Maunakea Access Road. Forecasters said the heavy rainfall should end by sunset.

Some locations that will experience flooding include Hilo, Pohakuloa Camp, Pohakuloa Training Area, Volcano, Glenwood, Mountain View and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The flood watch has expired for Maui and Kahoolawe, but remains in effect through Friday for Oahu, Kauai, Lanai, Molokai and Niihau.

The flood advisory for Oahu has expired, but the flood watch for Kauai, Niihau, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Maui remains through Friday evening.

A flood advisory has been posted for Hawaii island through 3:45 p.m. today.

Radar at 12:35 p.m. showed heavy rain falling at a rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour over a portion of Saddle Road between Kaumana and the Mauna Kea Access Road, forecasters said. Heavy rain was mostly over the upper North Hilo and South Hilo districts. However, rainfall is forecast to ease by mid-afternoon.

The flood advisory for Oahu remains in effect until 3:45 p.m. today along with the flood watch for Kauai, Niihau, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Maui through Friday evening.

“Fortunately, these heavy showers are moving rather quickly, which has somewhat limited flooding impacts thus far this morning,” forecasters said. “However, soils have become saturated with 24-hour rainfall totals over Oahu in the 1-2 inch range for many locations. As showers continue to train over these saturated areas throughout the day, expect flash flooding concerns to amplify and streams to become more responsive to downpours.”

In addition, a high surf advisory for the south-facing shores of all Hawaiian Islands is in effect until 6 p.m. Friday. Surf of 7 to 10 feet is forecasted as strong breaking waves and strong currents are expected to make swimming dangerous.

“Rough conditions are expected along south facing shores through Friday due to a combination of breezy onshore winds and a fresh, long-period south-southwest swell filling in. This swell will peak later today through Friday,” forecasters said.

Meanwhile, the Honolulu Zoo will be closed today due to ponding and flooded walkways.

RELATED: View the latest weather-related road closures on Oahu

The flood advisory for Oahu has been extended to 2:45 p.m.

Radar and rain gauges at 11:27 a.m. showed rains have eased across Oahu, the NWS said. However, stream gauges show that flow levels are elevated in many areas and satellite and radar show more rainfall moving toward Oahu from the south.

Flooding has forced the closure of the right lane of Farrington Highway westbound at Lualualei Naval Road.

Flooding has forced the closure of the westbound lanes of Farrington Highway in Mailiili, according to the state Department of Transportation.

A downed tree and landslide have also forced the closure of the right lane of the Pali Highway Honolulu-bound at Castle Junction. Police are on scene and a crew is on the way to clear the road.

The Diamond Head State Monument has been closed today due to heavy rain, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The rain is causing heavy runoff and minor rockslides at the tunnel entrance and along the trail, a department spokesperson said.

Flooding has forced the closure of Kapaa Quarry Road from Mokapu Saddle Road to Mokapu Quarry Road.

The flood advisory for Oahu has been extended to 11:45 a.m. today.

Radar at 8:32 a.m. showed that the area of heavy rainfall has expanded from East Oahu to cover the entire island, the NWS said.

Rain was observed falling at rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour from Manoa to Hawaii Kai, according to the NWS. Ponding was reported on some roads in Kapolei, and a lane of the H-1 freeway was closed between Fort Weaver Road and Makakilo Drive.

A flood advisory has been posted for Oahu through 10:30 a.m. today.

Radar at 7:29 a.m. showed heavy bands of rain over East Oahu falling at rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour over the Maunawili and Waimanalo areas, the NWS said. More rainfall is moving toward Oahu from the south.

Some locations that will experience flooding include Honolulu, Kaneohe, Ahuimanu, Kalihi, Maunawili, Kahaluu, Moanalua, Manoa, Halawa, Aiea, Waiahole, Kailua, Salt Lake, Kaneohe Marine Base, Palolo, Waikane, Waimanalo, Pearl City and Kaaawa.

>> RELATED: Heavy rain causes Pali, Kalanianaole highways lane closures

Residents and visitors are advised to stay away from streams, drainage ditches and low-lying areas prone to flooding.

The advisory may need to be extended if flooding persists.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

Although all flood advisories were canceled overnight, most of the state remains under a flood watch as a kona low continues to pull tropical moisture over the islands.

A flood watch remains in effect for Kauai County, Oahu and Maui County through Friday evening.

“Significant flooding may occur due to the overflow of streams and drainages,” the National Weather Service said in a bulletin this morning. Roads in several areas may be closed and property damage may occur in urban or low-lying spots due to runoff. Areas with steep terrain may also be at risk for landslides.

As of 3:51 a.m., weather officials said a kona low remains in place about 600 miles north to northwest of the main Hawaiian islands drawing unstable tropical moisture over the islands over the next few days.

Bands of moderate to heavy rain and thunderstorms will dampen most islands through Friday, forecasters said. However, the kona low will begin to drift away from the islands this weekend, easing conditions over the western half of the state.

Tradewinds are expected to Monday along with milder weather for all islands.

Gov. Josh Green signed an emergency proclamation Wednesday evening in response to the kona low weather event.

The emergency proclamation went into effect immediately and allows the adjutant general to activate units of the National Guard to work in coordination with local authorities, emergency management agencies and others to mitigate the impact of the storm.

County and state agencies are directed to provide emergency relief and engage in emergency management functions. The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is on partial activation.

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NOAA forecasts below-normal hurricane season in Central Pacific

NOAA forecasts below-normal hurricane season in Central Pacific

High surf advisory in place for south shores

High surf advisory in place for south shores

High surf advisory remains for the southern shores of Hawaii

High surf advisory remains for the southern shores of Hawaii

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Accustomed to disasters, Houston didn’t see this one coming

Looking back.

southwest travel advisory maui

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COMMENTS

  1. Travel Advisories & Alerts

    Based on the forecasted weather conditions for the following city, our scheduled service on Wednesday, May 22 and Thursday, May 23 may be disrupted (flights may be delayed, diverted, and/or canceled).. Dallas, TX (DAL) Customers holding reservations to, from, or through the city listed above on Wednesday, May 22 through Thursday, May 23 and want to alter their travel plans may rebook in the ...

  2. Maui disaster: What should you do if you have plans to visit Hawaii

    According to the Maui Emergency Management Agency's most recent alert Monday, a fire in the Upcountry area of Kula is still only 85% contained. President Joe Biden signed an emergency disaster declaration for the state of Hawaii, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency is coordinating recovery operations.

  3. Travel to Maui Discouraged Amid Hawaii Wildfires

    Southwest, for instance, says customers with reservations with trips to, from or through Kahului (Maui) and Hilo (Hawaii Island), Honolulu (Oahu), Kona (Hawaii Island), and Lihue (Kauai) can alter ...

  4. Flights cancelled, delayed as Maui continues to battle catastrophic

    At least 17 more flights to and from Kahului Airport have also been delayed on Wednesday. (8/9) 4:38 Maui: Approx. 1,800 people sheltered in place overnight at the Kahului Airport (OGG), with many ...

  5. Travel Advisories & Alerts

    Stay up to date on all information regarding weather advisories, travel restrictions, entry requirements, and other instances that may impact your travel plans. Southwest Airlines. Travel Advisories & Alerts | Southwest Airlines. Stay up to date on all information regarding weather advisories, travel restrictions, entry requirements, and other ...

  6. After Wildfires, Maui's Latest Travel Advisory & How to Help

    Hawaiian Airlines has a waiver in place for all flights to and from Maui's Kahului Airport between August 9 and August 31, 2023. The state airline has added extra flights to help get travelers and evacuees out of Maui, and it is selling seats through August 20, 2023, for just $19 "to facilitate urgent travel out of Maui.".

  7. Maui Recovery

    Hawai'i Tourism Authority Board Approves Action Plan to Support Maui's Recovery in 2024. On December 22, 2023, the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority Board of Directors furthered its ongoing commitment to mālama Maui and support the island's recovery by approving an immediate six-month action plan for 2024 to help address major challenges ...

  8. Maui wildfires: Everything you need to know about navigating airline

    United is waiving fees for passengers travelling to Maui on August 9-10. Passengers can change or reschedule their flights with no extra fee if they travel before August 16, 2023.

  9. What tourists need to know about Maui wildfires

    Aug 9, 2023 12:22 p.m. A series of wildfires accelerated by powerful winds are burning in Maui and the Office of the Governor issued an emergency proclamation to discourage non-essential air ...

  10. Planning to Visit Hawaii? What to Know About Fires on Maui and Big

    It is also offering special $19 fares from Maui for urgent travel needs. Southwest Airlines operates at least 90 daily flights in Hawaii, 60 of them within the state.

  11. Should you fly to Maui right now? What to know about the wildfires

    Hawaiian's travel advisory covers a longer period than American and Southwest's, offering passengers the ability to change flights at no additional cost for travel scheduled through Aug. 31 ...

  12. Traveling to Hawaii? Here's what to know about the Maui fires

    On Monday, the travel authority reiterated that all non-essential travel to West Maui remains discouraged through the end of August, in line with Gov. Josh Green's latest emergency proclamation.

  13. Hawaiian Tourism Authority Asks Travelers to Not Visit Maui ...

    United Airlines has also issued a travel advisory for travel to Maui between August 11, 2023 and August 31, 2023 for tickets purchased before August 9, 2023.

  14. Hawaii Travel and Maui Fires: What to Know About Hotels, Flights and

    Philip Cheung for The New York Times. By Vjosa Isai. Aug. 10, 2023. About 11,000 tourists have been evacuated and another 1,500 were slated to fly out of the Hawaiian island of Maui on Thursday ...

  15. Should I travel to Maui right now? Wildfires may change Hawaii plans

    Hawaiian Airlines is allowing customers to cancel their flights in exchange for a refund or a credit for future flights, or to change their flights to a different island, its website says. To ...

  16. Airlines offering 'flexible options' to passengers as state discourages

    Hawaiian is offering a travel waiver for trips scheduled between Aug. 9-20. Southwest, meanwhile, will allow passengers scheduled for travel Aug. 9-11 to rebook within 14 days of the original ...

  17. Maui tourists asked to leave, stay away amid deadly wildfires

    0:00. 2:07. Tourists are being asked stay away from West Maui amid historic wildfires that have claimed at least 96 lives. "Visitors in West Maui have largely heeded the call to leave the island ...

  18. Flights to Kahului (Maui)

    Pack your bags for your next golf trip to Kahului (Maui). When you book a flight to Kahului (Maui), you tee up for a world-class golf destination in paradise. Golf may have only arrived in Hawaii in 1925, but champions flock to the island of Maui to hit the links during competition and downtime. Whether you book your tee time at the public ...

  19. Southwest Heart in Action: Supporting Maui Relief Efforts

    In the early days of the emergency response, Southwest donated more than $100,000 in cash and air travel. We provided complementary Southwest Cargo transportation of crucial supplies, including shipments of Employee-donated items that local organizations have asked for and can receive and distribute.

  20. Current Travel Advisories

    Current Travel Advisories. If you are considering travel within the US, be aware that COVID-19 is widespread in many communities and beginning March 26, all people entering the state of Hawaii (residents and visitors) will be subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine or must have a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a certified Clinical ...

  21. Hawaii Travel Restrictions: Latest Hawaiian Islands Updates

    Maui Wildfires. In August 2023, wildfires damaged a significant portion of West Maui, many lives were lost, and 2,200+ structures were destroyed - making it the deadliest U.S. wildfire in over a century and Hawaii's worst natural disaster in modern history. More information can be found on our August 2023 Maui wildfire page.

  22. Updated: Baffling Maui Travel Advice Just Released By State of Hawaii

    Hawaii Travel News / August 18, 2023 / 241 Comments. A Maui travel update received this week from Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) attempted to be less baffling than before but did not entirely succeed. The new directive adds information for South Maui travel, which had been omitted previously, and does not go beyond August for West Maui visitors.

  23. Travel Halted as Maui Battles Devastating Wildfires

    Evacuations are underway on the Hawaiian island of Maui as wildfires fanned by strong winds associated with Hurricane Dora rage across the island, including in historic Lahaina. Scenes were described as "apocalyptic" as some people were forced to jump into the ocean to escape the approaching flames. Fires are also impacting the Big Island.

  24. Act fast: Earn the Southwest Companion Pass by flying to Hawaii

    Southwest Airlines is celebrating five years of service in Hawaii with a special promotion: Rapid Rewards members can now earn a valuable Companion Pass by taking just one round-trip flight to Hawaii this summer.. To qualify, you must: Be a Rapid Rewards member (you can create an account for free). Register for the promotion and purchase qualifying revenue travel (one round-trip or two one-way ...

  25. Rain showers continue to soak saturated Oahu

    11:10 p.m. The flood advisory for Oahu has been extended until 2 a.m. as rain continues to fall throughout the already-saturated island. "At 10:45 p.m., radar indicated moderate rain over ...