Southwest Airlines finally performed its first test flight to Hawaii last week and airlines already appear to be lowering fares in response with flights as cheap as $358 round trip.
On Monday, flights from San Francisco to Honolulu started at $358 round trip for seven days of travel. Google's flight price history shows flights reaching more than $600 for a similar trip in February. Air fares at several bay-area airports from which Southwest plans to fly to Hawaii also appeared lower.
Experts have used the term the "Southwest Effect" in the past to refer to competitors dropping flight prices in markets where Southwest enters in order to remain competitive. The real test will come when Southwest begins its long-awaited Hawaii service.