How much time should I allow if I arrive in LAX on a Southwest airline flight and then want to switch to Hawaiian airlines for a flight to Honolulu? I will not be checking baggage, just carry on's.
You are talking about a couple of terminals. I would leave yourself some room for error. The flights can get delayed and you do not want to miss your flight. A couple hours is a safe bet. AND what's your hurry?
To do this, you will need to leave one terminal and switch to another which means re-clearing TSA security. So, to be safe, if you're traveling at really busy times, I'd give at least 2 hours. On less busy times, I'd plan on 1-1/2 hours.
Are your fights all on one ticket or did you buy 2 separate tickets (bad idea). If it's all on one, it will automatically give you legal connecting times when offering flights. If you're trying to book your own flights, please don't get in over your head--call a travel agent to have them book and ticket for you.
The terminals are right next to each other, so no more than 10 minutes walking max. (Southwest is Terminal 1; Hawaiian is Terminal 2). For such a sprawling city, we have a very compact airport.
The terminals are a 5-minute walk from each other so that's the easy part. You'll have to – unfortunately – exit security in the Southwest terminal and re-enter for Hawaiian Airlines. That's your big time issue, which at LAX can take either just a few minutes or 20-30 minutes. I would give it an hour tho you could be from one spot to the other in as little as 15-20.
If there's no luggage, it's just the time cost of going through TSA in the second terminal. Couple hours' time should be fine and allow walking (or taking the bus) and then going through the security line in the terminal of your Hawaiian airline.
I would allow yourself 2 hours. You may have to go through security again which can take about 30 minutes (that's on an average day, heavy travel days may take longer). Also if your 1st flight is late it can create more problems.
If you do arrive with less than an hour until your connecting flight depart FIND AN EMPLOYEE AND LET THEM KNOW YOU HAVE AN EMERGENCY CONNECTION YOU NEED TO MAKE. They are usually very cool about getting you over to your flight on time becuase it is both logistically and financially beneficial for them to do so. If you need help, ask for it and make sure they know you're in danger of missing your flight!