New nonstop Kauai route from Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines just started year-round, nonstop service from Seattle to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The airline joins American and United as one of the few carriers to offer direct service between the U.S. mainland and Kauai.

With the controversy surrounding the SuperFerry, access to Kauai has been a hot topic lately, stirring up all sorts of anxiety about the influx of outsiders and how the island's ecosystem will manage increased visitation. Though the new air service introduces some (but not all) of the same issues that Kauai residents are protesting in relation to the ferry, it looks like they're saving their ire for the boat. And from the standpoint of a visitor to Kauai who has connected to the island through Honolulu, I think another chance at direct service is good, because flying nonstop conserves not just fuel but precious vacation time as well.

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