316 Hawaii Flight Delays, Up To 6 Hours | Airlines + FAA Brawl

Is it a pilot shortage, airline mismanagement, the FAA, or a runway repair to blame? Hawaii flight delays are out of control.

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35 thoughts on “316 Hawaii Flight Delays, Up To 6 Hours | Airlines + FAA Brawl”

    1. Actually Hawaiian has had the best on time record of any US carrier for the last 20 years or so. What’s going on is likely a bit of an anomaly.
      You are seeing so many HA flights mentioned here because they have the most flights to Hawaii, all airlines are struggling and Hawaii closing the major runway in HNL has made the problem worse.

      1. I no longer believe HA’s best on-time record since we have received emails advising us of a change in our scheduled departure time that made the delayed flights “on-time”. Thursday’s HA22 from HNL to SEA took off over 2 hours late but was “on-time” per the “schedule change” announced just before departure.

        1. Funny you should say SEA Joy! I am going to SEA and googled flight aware for my flt (HA21)…mostly on time for the last 10 days and a couple flights were late, but they still got in before midnight…given the state of the whole airline industry I’m OK with that

  1. I always fly American between Hawaii and the mainland, and I’ve made well over a dozen round trips over the past couple of years. The most common problem I’ve run into is when we get to HNL and there’s no employee there who can run the jet bridge. It’s now happening on just every flight I’m on. It’s so frustrating to be stuck on the plane at the gate after a long flight and not be able to disembark.

  2. We were also on HA 20 HNL to SMF. For us it started when we sat on the tarmac in KOA for close to hour due to limited runway availability in HNL. Once cleared to takeoff the flight was pleasant getting us in with a few minutes to get to gate 8. The problems with flight 20 began with a maintenance issue in a lavatory. There was a problem with the luggage delivery system to the tarmac, so long wait for the luggage to be loaded. Out to the runway for a very long time waiting for a long string of landing planes. Apparently the brakes headed up while in the holding position. When the brakes cooled, there was not enough fuel left to fly safely. Back to the gate for fuel. Limited runways and the baggage issue seemed to start the chain of events.

  3. Starting pay is way below $130k for most ATC and airlines schedule flights as if there is not weather on the islands or mainland and weather (fog, turbulence, thunderstorms etc) effects ATC’s ability to handle the same volume of aircraft for safety purposes.

  4. I was on delayed Hawaiian 44 yesterday it departed about 2 hours late The inbound from PDX arrived late they were slow to turn the aircraft and once on board we were told the bag scanner was down so they had to use the TSA dogs to check the bags for explosives

  5. Thanks for the article I got out to HML next week I’ll have to keep watch on the patterns. Hopefully my flight back to Boston won’t be as delayed as the 6 hour one mentioned!

  6. I had a flight from Honolulu to Phoenix yesterday. We were delayed an hour due to a “door” issue. Relatively minor compared to what others have been faced with. From my seat in the back of the plane, it seemed everyone handled the delay well.

  7. Hi Rob+Jeff. Well it looks like the latest updates with flight delays, $50 visit fee, beach + park fees, the high state taxes,hotel,resort,rental car, groceries, adventure tours, will definitely keep people from visiting the Islands. It’s really sad and disappointing to say the least. Just came back from Kauai +Big Island. Was nice, at least not overcrowded at this time of year. But yes, expensive.$2,000.00 for 4 days at the condo.Was $1,925.00 for a wk a year ago. Basic groceries were 300.00.3 bags. Bread, milk, eggs, etc.Looks to be awhile before I go back. Hope you both keep on giving us better news than what has been happening. Mahalo and Aloha!!!!!

  8. The FAA isn’t having trouble hiring and retaining in the tradition sense of employment – the FAA refuses to hire more controllers because in their eyes they have the minimum amount needed and any extra would be financially irresponsible.

    Meanwhile, every facility is running tons of overtime, with the larger facilities requiring hundreds of hours per controller per year, year over year. 6 day workweeks are burning everyone out, and there is no end in sight because the FAA refuses to admit they need more controllers.

    It is purely financial on part of the FAA. For every 10-20 applicants, they hire 1. It is cheaper to pay thousands of controllers exorbitant amounts of overtime than hire more people.

    Thanks for the article!

  9. there were also gate delays after flights touched down
    many aircraft’s no able to lock in to gates to deplaned!!
    these flights have not been accounted for delays for many many days

  10. A friend and I flew into jfk on April 1 from Hawaii early sat morning we arrived supposed to leave at 130 go Orlando with jet blue,Sunday at 530 pm we had flights no shower no food gave us a dinner voucher after 12 midnight so we didn’t eat. Our flight was delayed 5 xs 5 gates no one could answer a question on anything.what a nightmare after having a great time in Hawaii .worse experience ever jfk sucks never again

  11. Enjoyed your article today. My wife and I were returning yesterday from Kona through Maui to home on Kauai. The first leg was delayed some three hours. Same plane then went onto Kauai. That plane originated in Honolulu. Flight crew attributed their late departure from Honolulu to issues with the baggage handlers. I’d estimate 30+ people in Kona — who would have missed their connecting flights to the mainland leaving from Maui, ended up not boarding the Hawaiian flight hoping to reschedule.

  12. Regarding the HNL-SAC flight that was mentioned. They were kept on the tarmac for six hours? That is totally illegal and HA will probably receive stiff penalties for the incident. The passengers may also file charges.

    1. Last week, we flew HA from Maui to Lihue and waited in a Bag Drop line for over two hours (after tagging our own bags at the kiosk and before lining up for TSA)! The other airlines did not have this issue. I previously had reservations on SWA, but was inspired to try Hawaiian because of all the positive comments and loyalty observed on this site. While our experience wasn’t awful, it certainly wasn’t impressive. For us, the choice in future will come down to schedule and price.

      1. Four out of five of our HA flights were significantly delayed. We would have most certainly missed our connection in Honolulu, but the second leg was delayed, as well. It worked out fine for us, but, in general, HA seemed to struggle in just about every area. On our return flight (Lihue to Austin), they ran out of beverages and didn’t have any earbuds for the in-flight entertainment?! Not tragic, but just not good. Too many concessions to recommend HA, especially with added baggage fees.

  13. Wow. That sounds a bit extreme and unreliable. Hard to plan a vacation if you don’t know when you’ll get back for sure. How sad. I wonder if people will quit coming because of the unpredictability of the trip. I’m sorry for the airline industry, and possibly the fare wars and lack of staff have possibly contributed to this. 😢

  14. We had a flight from HNL to JFK yesterday and were delayed. However, our delay wasn’t any ot the reasons that others have mentioned. It wasn’t personnel. weather, mechanical failure, disruptive passenger etc. It was to allow a couple of passengers whose connecting flight was late into HNL to board with us. I don’t know if the delaying flight was a Hawaii airlines plane or not. They held the plane up about 1/2 hour. While some might be disturbed by this delay the couple that was able to catch their long flight to JFK were certainly thankful. Hawaiian airlines showed great Aloha in doing that.

  15. Closing 8L has to be a huge factor…contributing would be the so called SWA effect.
    When you throw a bunch of flights into one market to try and establish yourself it obviously creates more clutter. Also their “predatory aggressiveness” could be a contributing factor. There are only so many slots available for crossing the pacific and they are shared by flights from all the airlines. SWA does have a reputation for abusing the ATC system if they can find a way to benefit themselves, even if it causes problems for others.

  16. Thank you for these updates. I’ve been reading your articles for the last couple of months as I prepare for our November trip. I have to say it’s rather daunting to hear about all of the airline delays but I’m just glad to know ahead of time what we may be in for so thank you! I’m flying to Maui direct but my travel partners have a lay over in Honolulu so I’m wishing the best for all!

  17. We traveled Maui to SFO 2 days ago. 20 minute delay, but the interesting thing was there were no people in the security line. Zero. Not exaggerating. I know Tuesday’s are a slow day at the airport but 0 travelers in security? That’s never happened to me before on any flight ever.

    Definitely something going on with tourist count reduction to and from the islands!

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