It’s been a month since Hawaii flight delays last made the news. But unfortunately, they are back again, as reported by the flight-tracking service FlightAware. Hawaii travelers, both visitors, and residents were punished by this latest round of 160 flight delays at three Hawaii airports on Saturday and Sunday. These were a mix of short and long delays, on both mainland and interisland flights.
Honolulu travelers took the brunt of the latest delays, as did those traveling on Hawaiian Airlines. Southwest came in second. These Hawaii flight delay problems started mounting over Memorial Day weekend and don’t appear going away anytime soon.
What’s the cause of Hawaii flight delays this round?
This isn’t something we expect here in Hawaii; good weather year-round helps reduce delays. And we’ve heard nothing specific about any cause for this weekend’s problems. The Airline Pilots Association previously said these were caused by “airline mismanagement.” They also prognosticated correctly that “the situation is likely to get worse this summer.”
Airlines want to place blame on the country’s air traffic control system. But others say not so fast.
Undoubtedly the surge in demand combined with the airline employees’ great resignation during Covid is a part of the issue.
DOT data showed that the airlines were responsible for 41% of flight delays earlier this year. That whereas Air Traffic Control (ATC) accounted for 17% of the delays, and the weather was related to only 5%. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said he’s hopeful this will come to an end and confirmed that it isn’t ATC-related, “Anytime there’s anything under FAA’s control, they will work on it, but I want to be very, very clear here: That is not explaining the majority of delays.”
UAL’s CEO Scott Kirby added, “I think the whole system is strained. There’s tight staffing everywhere, and that’s a part of it. It’s not unique to the FAA. It’s everything in the whole economy, and certainly, a big chunk of things that touch on aviation are tight.” Meanwhile, another UAL exec said that over the July 4 holiday, more than half of their delays were related to FAA. The FAA was quick to respond with “balderdash.”
The Airline trade group Airlines For America said, “We really are not interested in engaging in a finger-pointing exercise. We are focused on collaboration and trying to make sure that we’re all focused on the things that are going to improve the operational reliability.”
The bottom line on flight delays seems to be this: industry at capacity.
Everyone is frustrated. That goes from the pilots and other airline employees to the companies themselves, the federal government, and most importantly, the consumers. The number of flights Hawaii travelers want and that airlines plan to fly no longer matches up with multiple system capacities that most of us never gave much thought to before.
U.S. DOT in hot pursuit of airline consumer protection.
This latest round comes just days after we reported on how Hawaii Travelers Will Benefit From New DOT Rules. Planned changes thus far include protection for schedule changes, cancellations, and changes in aircraft type.
With these flight delays continuing, and the tone emanating from the DOT, it leads us to wonder if the federal government will move to attempt even greater consumer protection. We’re reminded of what we have experienced when flying from the U.K. In one case, we were each compensated $600 for a 3-hour flight delay. Refunds there depend on circumstances but seem to be far more protective of consumers.
104 Hawaii flights were delayed this weekend at Honolulu.
1 American Airlines
2 Air Canada
4 Alaska Airlines
1 Delta Airlines
2 Mokulele Airlines
57 Hawaiian Airlines
25 Southwest Airlines
11 United Airlines
50 Hawaii flights were delayed this weekend at Maui.
2 Air Canada
5 Alaska Airlines
1 American Airlines
7 Mokulele Airlines
20 Hawaiian Airlines
12 Southwest Airlines
2 United Airlines
6 Hawaii flights were delayed this weekend at Kauai
5 Hawaiian Airlines
1 Southwest Airlines
Have you experienced a Hawaii flight delay recently? What role should the DOT play in protecting passengers from flight delays?