How Hawaii airlines perform is of critical importance to us personally and to our readers. We couldn’t help but delve further when we saw this study from WalletHub ranking airlines including Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska Airlines. We were surprised frankly at these two Hawaii Airlines in their findings and you may be too. Read on.
Our take overall is that both Hawaiian Airlines and Alaska did well generally in that you can expect to arrive on-time on your flights to and from Hawaii. Regarding comfort, both Alaska and Hawaiian are in the process of major changes.
Hawaiian is about to acquire an entire new fleet of planes (Airbus A321) whereas Alaska is incorporating Virgin America into its business. Also, it’s interesting to see Hawaiian ranked number 8 for airline comfort, which includes amenities, given that they are the only company that has maintained complementary meals on all mainland flights at meal times.
Airlines were ranked by a number of key findings based on publicly available data from the US Department of Transportation for 2016. Here’s how our airlines fared in each area:
Airline reliability. This was based on rankings for cancellations, delays, mishandled luggage and denied boarding.
Results: Alaska 1 and Hawaiian 3. Other rankings were Delta 2, Skywest 4, United 5, Spirit 6, Virgin America 7, JetBlue 8, American 9, Southwest 10.
Beat of Hawaii. Both Alaska and Hawaiian almost always rank at the top of airline reliability on all counts. From being on-time to safe travel, these companies lead the industry. We don’t see any real distinction.
Airline comfort. This was based on rankings for in-flight experience, free amenities including Wi-Fi, more legroom, and free snacks and beverages.
Results: Alaska 5 and Hawaiian 8. Other rankings were JetBlue 1, American 2, Southwest 3, United 4, Delta 6, Virgin America 7.
Beat of Hawaii. When it comes to the basic economy service on both Alaska and Hawaiian, we don’t see great differentiation, other than free meals on Hawaiian Airlines. Also Hawaiian continues to have wide-body planes, which Alaska does not. Also, those wide-body aircraft feature seats that are two across on both sides of the plane, meaning that you do not have to seat in a 3-seat configuration. For us, that’s a big plus.
Results: Alaska 3 and Hawaiian 7. Other rankings Southwest 1, Skywest 2, ExpressJet, 4, Delta 5, JetBlue 6, Virgin America, United, American.
Beat of Hawaii. We have crossed the Pacific hundreds of times and have almost never had an issue with either company. There was one flight cancellation on Hawaiian maybe ten years ago, and a couple of inter-island delays. Our bags have been delayed on Alaska a couple of times, and they offer a baggage delay guarantee/refund which we were able to apply to future travel. In the end, we have no complaints.
Results: Alaska 6 and Hawaiian 10. Other rankings Spirit 1, Frontier 2, ExpressJet 3, SkyWest 4, Virgin America 5, JetBlue 7, United 8, American 9.
Beat of Hawaii. These rankings really don’t pertain to Hawaii. At Beat of Hawaii we focus on time-sensitive Hawaii travel deals, and those rotate around the airline companies. Hawaiian Airlines has had more deals than anyone else, and that is followed by Alaska and American.