How To Get To Lanai from the Mainland

Pu'upehe - Lanai's most iconic view

I wanted to update this post with advice on how to get to Lanai to and from the Mainland. I originally wrote this post in January 2008 and since then, new options have become available. Hurray!

Let me start this update  by saying that we absolutely love going to Lanai. It’s worth the effort to get to this special Hawaiian Island. See my post describing the allure of Lanai.

With Lanai’s LNY airport having a small runway, my favorite inter-island airline, Hawaiian Airlines, can’t land there with their jets. There are only three small inter-island airlines that fly to Lanai

  • go! Mokulele Airlines offers flights from Honolulu (HNL) to Lanai (LNY)
  • Mokulele Airlines offers flights from both  Honolulu (HNL) and Maui ‘s (OGG) airport to Lanai (LNY)
  • Island Air offers flights from Honolulu (HNL) to Lanai (LNY) – Based on our experiences of numerous delays, dirty planes and poor customer service, we do not recommend Island Air.

For an alternative to flying to Lanai, consider the following.

  1. Fly from the mainland to Maui’s OGG airport
  2. Take a taxi or shuttle from Maui’s OGG airport to Lahaina Harbor.
    • A taxi should cost around $75 for two or perhaps three passengers. (I cannot personally vouch for this service, but Kimmy’s was recommended to me by a local. 808-276-4287)
    • SpeediShuttle offers both shared and private service. They estimated that a shared shuttle would cost approximately $59 for two.  For a shared shuttle, you might want to allow extra time between your arrival at OGG and the ferry departure time.
  3. Take the Lahaina Expiditions Ferry from Lahaina Harbor to Manele Harbor on Lanai. Lanai shuttle service should meet you at Manele Harbor to shuttle you to your hotel. Ferry service is currently offered five times per day. Ferry fares are currently priced at $30 each way.

Rather than deleting my original text, I am keeping it for reference purposes. Here’s the original:

When I was trying to plan my first trip to Lanai, I really had a difficult time trying to determine the most direct way to get there.  I knew Lanai was very close to Maui, so I assumed it would make sense to fly into Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG) from the mainland and then get a an inter-island flight from there to Lanai (LNY).  I had assumed that there would be several direct flights from Maui to Lanai since it was less than ten miles away.  Well, my assumption was wrong.  There were no direct flights to Lanai from Maui.  Almost all of the flights from Maui to Lanai connect in Honolulu and that makes the total flight time at least 2.5 hours or more.  The costs of the roundtrip flights from Maui to Lanai were tallying up near $250 per person.  So, I marked that plan off my list as it didn’t seem like an efficient use of time or money.

Another alternative to get to Lanai from Maui that I researched was taking the Maui-Lanai Expeditions Ferry.  The ferry goes from Lahaina Harbor on Maui to Manele Bay Harbor on Lanai.  (Note: ferry departures from Maalea Harbor have recently been added.) This alternative had logistic problems, too.  The first hurdle is timing the flight arrival with the ferry departure times, which would have been a bit tricky.  The next hurdle was arranging transportation from the Maui airport in Kahului to Lahaina Harbor.  If you pack very light (e.g. one medium-sized suitcase, duffle bag, or carry-on bag allowed, no larger than 22”Hx14”Wx9”L), you can use the Maui bus system to make your way to Lahaina.  Using the Maui bus will save a lot of money, but requires transfers.  The other alternative to get to Lahaina was to get a shuttle or tax, with a brief look into that I started hearing the sound of “kaching, kaching” in the background racking up the costs.  Though taking the ferry to Lanai is feasible if you can work out the logistics, one thing to bear in mind is that you are responsible for carrying your luggage on the ferry. I quickly decided that this alternative wasn’t a good use of time and money.

So, at this point I had two strikes.  I was nearly ready to scrap my vacation plans to Lanai, but then I got a second wind.

Next, I looked into flying in to Honolulu (HNL) rather than Maui and then flying onwards to Lanai.  Ah, success at last!  This option ended up being the most direct option.  It reduced our overall travel time and it turned out to be the cheapest, too.  So, if you are planning a vacation to Lanai, my recommendation is to get there via Honolulu.  It’s the quickest, easiest, and cheapest way.

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