Airlines And Passengers Tussle: Frustrating Hawaii Flight Service

In-flight passenger service to Hawaii is waning fast as airlines can cut corners in order to make more money. A recent internal memo from American Airlines to its flight attendants brought this to mind. Thanks to JonNYC on X (Twitter) for finding it and sharing what was to be confidential. Here’s what told its flight attendants:

“Part of our commitment to ensuring a consistent customer experience, please refrain from offering Premium Cabin amenities/service items (i.e. pillows, blankets, amenity kits, and certain food items) to customers who are not seated in a Premium Cabin.”

American Airlines

Sign of the times – service on flights to Hawaii is largely a thing of the past.

The latitude of flight attendants to provide excellence and anything unique in service is clearly waning too. Since we talk a lot with flight crews, we’ve heard of multiple occasions how the decline in what they can offer us is even embarrassing for the crew. With that said, on United, the flight attendants were able to issue a credit for both the wrong meal or for pouring a beverage all over editor Jeff, on two recent flights.

Here’s one example of service from United. The photo above shows the only in-flight snack that was offered on our United Airlines flight from Hawaii to Los Angeles last week. The only thing! The flight attendant literally cringed in embarrassment as she kindly handed them out. We all laughed about it. The solo half-melted (as you can see) cookie (a strange quinoa/chocolate concoction) weighed in at just 1/4 ounce. That’s right, 7 grams. And it was already falling apart when we opened the bag.

And it doesn’t stop with only economy class being dismal service.

Beat of Hawaii is flying back and forth between the mainland and Hawaii this week, and we’ll only tease that we have pretty fascinating reviews, even for us. There is a lot of good and a lot to be desired. We are flying in economy this time.

But several weeks ago, Beat of Hawaii also flew first class on United Airlines between the mainland and Hawaii. And while the flight attendants were personable and kind, there, too, the service offerings were terrible. The only exceptions we have found are on widebody flights in premium cabins, such as the amazing flight we had on Hawaiian, last year.

Classless Southwest Hawaii Review: Unique In The Market

We thought Southwest Hawaii snack pack was bad, but now it excels.

In actuality, looking back, the Southwest snack pack was quite good. It was also followed up by a generous brownie/cookie dessert that was 2.5 times larger than the United Airlines cookie in the lead photo. For more details, see that Southwest Hawaii review.

So too, in its own way, is the Hawaiian Airlines economy “meal” generous. They provides on trans-Pacific flights and it’s pictured below from that review. Meal might be an overly generous term to use, but it’s still way better than many of the other airlines.

Alaska Airlines, in our opinion, has some of the best in-flight food available for purchase starting at $7.50, and includes their signature fruit and cheese platter.

Hawaiian Airlines complimentary economy meal.

What passengers can do now.

Flight attendants have told us to write to the airline and complain. We continue to bring our own food on board as backup, and water too. Jeff does that in first class as well, and that saved him on the recent Delta flight to Hawaii. Our initial thought was if the airlines want to reduce in-flight service, we should ask them to stop promoting largely bogus credit card offers in flight. That way, both passengers and airlines have something to cut.

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48 thoughts on “Airlines And Passengers Tussle: Frustrating Hawaii Flight Service”

  1. Hawaii has nothing to offer the world but close proximity to the mainland. The have zero economy without tourism and continually complain about tourists and then overcharge for everything. Karma Hawaii and yours just ran out. Go the vsbi..superior

  2. Last year I flew first class on Delta to Kona. The only service was a snack literally pitched to me. Additionally the seat was extremely uncomfortable. The flight was from Seattle and one of the worst I have ever had. Though I have thousands of frequent flier miles I decided that I would not fly DAL again to Hawaii. It’s disgusting how little the airlines give you for your money.
    Not valued.
    Patty G

  3. We always pay for the better seats. They are now costing more than 200 average from Nashville. Going home lady year they started to hand out crackers and cokes and when they got to our row, 3 rows down they said they ran out. We’re were starving. Thank goodness I had a few things in my purse. This trip we only got what economy was offered. With the cost of tickets you would think Anerican could go to Costco and buy crackers, right? It amazes me the ticket prices. We always fly American and have a credit card though them. The only people I see that gets good service is first class. They always have food and nice meals.

  4. The suggestion to “write and complain” is ok, but the only complaints the airlines would listen to would have to come from frequent first class flyers, in other words, those who have little to complain about. Airlines have made it clear, they don’t care about economy passengers.

  5. Domestic air travel has become a commodity almost like catching a bus ride. Your objective is to get from point A to point B in the least possible time with a modicum of convenience.

    You are not expecting a pleasurable ride with entertainment. Those days are long gone.

    The goal of the flight attendants are to maintain good order during the flight.

    1. We recently flew to Hawaii from Boise to Seattle to Honolulu on Alaska Airlines. The food we purchased ahead of time was terrible. The flight crew was rude & seemed like they wanted to be any place but on that flight. On the return flight it was worse. To start flight was delayed twice then cancelled. Our replacement flight did not have our pre-ordered meals transferred so we had no food on a 6.5 hour flight. The flight crew actually made an announcement that we should not use the call button uness it was an emergency . Basically “don’t bother us” . We then were flown to Portland instead of Seattle we arrived at midnight & no services or food at airport until 5am &again our flight was cancelled we sat in that airport until 8am


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