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Hawaiian Interisland Trip Report, Island Air shutdown

on November 16, 2017

Hi!  Super busy lately, but I’ve got a bit of local stuff to share, so here we go.

I recently went on a work trip to Lihue (LIH) from Honolulu.  I hadn’t been on a Hawaiian Airlines plane in at least 5 years.  We don’t use them to the mainland because: they offer a daily nonstop 11-hr (blergh) flight from Honolulu to the East Coast arriving at JFK (double blergh), which you know is not my cup of tea.  Anyway, this trip was booked on Hawaiian because a) my employer has a corporate account with them, b) the flight times worked out with the business need, and c) I could add my personal HawaiianMiles # to the reservation.  Tiny score on that last point, as the days of 500-mile minimums are gone and I earned 102 miles each way.Anyway, the day of my trip was one of those days where nearly everything went wrong.  I left my office for the airport and had freak mid-morning traffic approaching the airport.  I had left myself a good time cushion, so this was still OK.  Then, the interisland parking garage was full- but was there a sign at the bottom of this 7-level structure alerting you to that fact so you could safely zip up or out instead of crawling along behind 20 other cars also looking for a spot?  No.  They did know the lot was full, because once you got to the top, there was an employee directing you to the (thankfully connected) international parking area across the way.  Now, I had much farther to walk to get to the terminal and my time cushion had almost evaporated.  I finally get there, and one of those huge Roberts Hawaii tour busses must have just discharged all 75 of its sunburnt and clueless passengers into the check-in area.  I was able to get to a kiosk very quickly because no one noticed an unused one around the back.  My check-in cutoff time had passed (by literally 1 minute), and I had to go to the service desk so they could print my boarding pass.  By now, my coworker that was on the same flight was texting me.  I could see that the TSA line was massive.  It would be a miracle if I made it.  I got my boarding pass printed and got in line.  I had about 5 minutes until they closed the aircraft door when I was putting my shoes back on.  My gate was right next to Security- I could see people in line to board.  I was gonna make it!  Then this jerk came in:

downer

My carry-on bag contained a medical display device that appears to have a gooey substance inside.  It is not gooey, it is just made to look that way and picking it up immediately confirms that the substance is solid and there are no liquid or moving parts inside whatsoever.  So of course, the TSA agent pulls me aside for additional questions and screening.  I can feel my cell phone buzzing as my coworker updates me: “Are you done?…I don’t see you…I’m seated…The airplane door is closed, did you get on board?”

The answer to that last communiqué was NO, my friends.  I watched helplessly as the line to board diminished, the door closed, and the gate agents closed up the desk.  The TSA agent swabbed every inch of the device and called another agent over to discuss it.  By the time they were done, my plane was pulling away from the gate.  I walked over to the service desk, where the very friendly agent booked me standby on the next flight leaving in 45 minutes.  I want to be clear that my delays has nothing to do with Hawaiian- it was part me (I suppose I should have left even more time), part airport staff (the parking garage thing), and part TSA (just use your eyeballs, guys).

Anyway, I grabbed some lunch, a surprisingly tasty Caesar salad and a Snapple to remind me of the east coast, and boarded the next flight.  The plane was clean, the flight was uneventful.  I drank the POG and tried to relax, as I would still make it to the event I was headed for on time, though I would need to take a taxi from the airport.  I got there, and several hours later, it was time to head back to the airport to go to Honolulu.  Would you believe the TSA did the same thing on the way back?  Points for being consistent, I guess.  My coworker waited on the side while TSA did their swabbing and conferring, and we were among the last few people onto the plane.  Another quick flight on another clean plane, and another little tub of juice later, we were landing in Honolulu.  The kicker?  It took me less time to get home from the airport in rush hour than it had taken to get to the airport mid-morning.

One of my other flight options that day was Island Air.  A few days later, this happened:

island air shut down

I guess they had exhausted all their options, and the planes were in danger of being repossessed.  The Star-Advertiser had the full story.  It’s interesting how these things affect individuals locally.  I had a dentist appointment the morning this news broke, and overheard the receptionist getting incoming calls from Island Air employees cancelling upcoming services, as they didn’t know the future status of their benefits.  That’s really upsetting.  As far as the cancelled flights, Hawaiian stepped up to honor  existing Island Air tickets and accommodate passengers on a standby basis through this week/weekend.  They have less competition than ever at this point, as I read in the newspaper this week that Allegiant Air was also stopping their island flights.  Not surprising as I hadn’t even remembered they had service here to begin with, they weren’t very popular.  Now, like it or not, the only company that will truly be able to compete with Hawaiian for interisland service may well be Southwest.  We’ll see what happens!

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2 responses to “Hawaiian Interisland Trip Report, Island Air shutdown

  1. VivaLaDiva405 says:

    POG and Snapple ❤ This will be code for "try to find a little spot of happy in what otherwise might be a Debbie Downer of a day" ❤

    Like

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