Yesterday your editors flew around the state and experienced two flight delays (Kona to Honolulu and Honolulu to Lihue). Had we not been flying ourselves, we might not have investigated further or found the huge number of delays on Hawaiian Airlines.
According to the flight tracking website FlightAware (as of 3 pm Monday), Honolulu again had the most significant problems yesterday, with a whopping 70 Hawaiian Air flight departures and arrivals delayed. That represented 40% of all of their flights being delayed at HNL yesterday. By contrast, Southwest had 6 flights delayed there, representing 7% of their flights.
The airport in second place for Hawaiian Air delays was Maui. They had 29 flights delayed at Kahului, representing 35% of all of yesterday’s arrivals and departures. That, while at typically more on-time Kona, Hawaiian had 47% of their flights delayed or 20 flights in total. And at also generally more on-time Lihue, Hawaiian suffered 45% of flights delayed, 19 in total. Hilo came in last with 7 HA flights delayed (29% of their total).
What is the cause of incessant delays, and why does Hawaiian seems to be suffering the most?
This has been an ongoing saga, and we honestly have asked but never received a straight answer from the airline about the situation. Yesterday we asked one Hawaiian Airlines employee at the Premier Club at HNL what they thought the cause might be. She offered just one word: “personnel.” We suspect that, at least in part, it is the correct answer. We are open to hearing any suggestions others may proffer.
It’s worth noting that one of the HNL runways is currently undergoing repairs which could be one of multiple issues. Southwest however also has a very robust interisland schedule yet they seem to be impacted far less per the FlightAware data.
Previously, the airline industry delay causes included “airline mismanagement,” according to the pilots’ association. The airlines said it was due to the federal ATC system. The government said that is nonsense.
Hawaiian’s #1 spot in on-time arrivals could be ending.
Hawaiian has long held the enviable position of being the most on-time airline in the US. That is partly because most of their flights operate within the state of Hawaii, with our year-round good weather. Then too, most mainland Hawaiian flights operate to and from the west coast, which also has generally better weather than other parts of the US.
Here in Hawaii, we have become so accustomed to the airline operating on time for decades that we are still somewhat shocked when flights are late, as was the case yesterday.
What about all of the unexpected flight changes? Shouldn’t those have fixed the delays?
Regarding our flights yesterday between the Big Island and Kauai (connecting through HNL), we received four flight change notices from the airline between the time of booking and the actual flights. Originally the flights booked were nonstop in both directions, but those were changed to connecting flights and then the flight times we’re repeatedly changed. Not only that, but at the airport, the airline asked to move us to a different flight for no apparent reason. Until then, our reservation between KOA and LIH had no plane change at HNL, just a brief stop. It seems to have made more sense to have kept us on that flight out of KOA, instead of getting us to HNL earlier, requiring a plane change, only to meet the same flight we were going to be on out of KOA that took us to LIH.
We have had similar issues with flight changes on other airlines recently, including Alaska Airlines, but so far not to this degree. On the other hand, we fly Hawaiian more than other airlines, so if you have experiences you can share, we’d appreciate it.
Too many people traveling? Hardly.
On yesterday’s late afternoon flight from Honolulu to Lihue, there appeared to be a total of about 20 passengers onboard the 128-seat plane.
U.S. DOT isn’t happy.
US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg previously said, “We are still seeing far, far too many delays and cancellations.” US airlines told DOT that they would be bringing flights into alignment with their resources.
Honolulu flight delays Monday 10/17 (see image from FlightAware below)
- 70 Hawaiian Airlines (40%)
- 6 Mokulele Airlines (6%)
- 6 Southwest Airlines (7%)
- 6 United Airlines (20%)
- 3 Delta Airlines (25%)
- 1 Alaska Airlines (6%)
Maui flight delays Monday 10/17
- 29 Hawaiian Airlines (35%)
- 3 Mokulele Airlines (3%)
- 3 Southwest Airlines (7%)
- 2 Alaska Airlines (12%)
- 1 American Airlines (12%)
Kona flight delays Monday 10/17
- 20 Hawaiian Airlines (47%)
- 2 Delta Airlines (100%)
- 1 Southwest Airlines (5%)
- 1 United Airlines (12%)
Lihue flight delays Monday 10/17
- 19 Hawaiian Airlines (45%)
- 1 American Airlines (25%)
- 1 Southwest Airlines (5%)
Hilo flight delays Monday 10/17
- 7 Hawaiian Airlines 7 (29%)
- 1 Mokulele Airlines (10%)