A lot of people have asked me this question, but really the best airport to fly into Hawaii depends on where you plan to visit in Hawaii. Each of the four major islands: Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii (Big Island) has an international airport – the Big Island has two.
Molokai and Lanai are the two other visited islands. These are both very small islands off Maui that people generally reach via a ferry out of Lahaina, so no worries there either.
If you’re looking at cost alone, then the best Hawaii airport to fly into from the mainland is Honolulu International on Oahu (the island with Waikiki and North Shore surfing world championships). Here’s an example from a search I just did for May flights:
Hawaiian Airlines – Roundtrip, May 4 departure, May 12 return
Los Angeles (LAX) – HNL: $518
LAX – Kahului, Maui: $648
LAX – Kona, Big Island: $648
LAX – Lihue, Kauai: $648
This works out to about the same as it costs with Hawaiian Air to fly roundtrip between two of these islands: $130. And the same is pretty much true for the discount sites I use as well like Expedia, Hotwire and Priceline. I can usually find inter-island tickets at one of these discount sites or at Hawaiian Air or Go! for around $60 to $70 one way.
Also, you will find that flying direct to your destination without transferring in Honolulu usually runs around the same price.
For convenience, here are my suggestions…
Big Island – If mainly interested in Volcano National Park and viewing the lava, Hilo International will save you lots of driving time. If mainly interested in Kona or the Kohala Coast, Kona Keahou International is your best bet.
Maui – Kahului International in Central Maui is where direct flights to Maui from the mainland will take you. If you are flying from another island, there’s also Kapalua near Lahaina, Kaanapali and Kihei.
Oahu – Honolulu International Airport is the only one here, and it’s huge and near Waikiki.
Kauai – One choice here too – Lihue International for mainland and inter-island.
So as you can see the best airport to fly to into Hawaii really just depends on the island(s) you are visiting.
You can fly on almost any airline and get anywhere in Hawaii as most airlines will use partners to get you where they don’t fly. See the list here that shows you who flies where Airlines that Fly Direct to Hawaii