For the most part, travelers tend to pick their airline based mainly on the cheapest ticket. A close second is for best mileage perks, but if you’re like me and don’t quite travel often enough to earn significant miles on airlines, you have what feels like 500 different airline accounts and spread out miles. When planning my first trip to Hawaii, we were only looking at pricing, and found that Hawaiian Airlines offered the most reasonably priced ticket, although I feel like flight prices change every fifteen minutes and are rarely consistent.
An airline that keeps you well fed (even if you are not in first class) is a great airline in my book. The flight from Los Angeles to Maui is about five and a half hours, and a little under five hours from Maui back to Los Angeles. Hawaiian Airlines fed us a breakfast sandwich on the way there and a lunch sandwich on the way back. Plus there were free snacks (chips, cookies, an alcoholic and non alcoholic fruity drink) and an additional snack cart you can purchase from.
Hawaiian Airlines also has the friendliest staff, a very efficient boarding process (although they board much earlier than normal domestic airlines, mostly due to how large the plane is, so do not show up late to this flight), and comfortable seats that made the trip even better. The flight felt like it was international, even though we were only flying from Los Angeles to Maui. I met some travelers who were stopping in Maui on their way over to Tokyo and taking Hawaiian for both legs of the trip and I would definitely take Hawaiian to whichever locations they offer, especially if it means a layover in Hawaii.