A sore point for many, including us, about Hawaii bellwether Hawaiian Airlines was that changes didn’t permit getting lower “web fares” but only the highest fares possible. As of today, we find that has changed for the better. There’s just one big gotcha to be aware of, which we’ll explain too, in what took an hour with the Call Center to resolve. First, the good news…
Hawaiian Airlines now allows changes using web fares.
This is actually a significant change for the better. This is good news now for BOH visitor Jeannie, who said previously:
“I had purchased a round trip ticket but needed to cancel one direction. I canceled that ticket, purchased one online for 70% less, and am now hoping that they’ll change their policy before the credit expires. The end result will definitely affect my sense of loyalty toward them!”
And for Patrick, who added, “I found out the hard way that ‘no change fees’ means they just charge you in less transparent methods not explicitly stated on the website. Rebooking is limited to “rebooking” fares only (often much higher fares than the online flight search results)… I tried to file a complaint with their customer service, but didn’t get anywhere. I then filed a BBB complaint, where they were more responsive, but still don’t seem to be getting anywhere. Beware!”
Hawaiian Airlines still doesn’t permit flight credits to be used online.
We ended up with a credit from the unused flight, which editor Jeff was only reminded of when helping to author this article. He went online, and the credit was nowhere to be found in his HawaiianMiles account. So another outreach to the call center ensued. The agent confirmed that it is impossible to apply flight credits from canceled flights online.
1. Flight credits can’t be used online. Be sure to retain your ticket number when you cancel your ticket. In our experience, the customer service representatives could not retrieve the information. Had we not kept it in a note, we would not have been able to apply the credit.
2. Fares for rebooking tickets. The fare available online for main cabin economy was $49, which was the same price offered by the call center when applying the unused travel credit.
3. The length of time that it took the agent to be able to retrieve the credit and create the new reservation was very long, almost an hour.
4. It should be possible to do this time of change online, as is the case with all of the other airlines we use for Hawaii flights.
Here’s what the problem has been:
Last summer, we wrote about the problem, which was widely viewed and commented on: $700 Fare Change On “No-Change-Fee” $100 Hawaii Airfare.
Ever since Covid, Hawaiian has had the widely announced policy of no change fees. “Book now, change if you need to… There are no change fees for guests who purchase tickets or redeem HawaiianMiles…Please note that a fare difference may apply if the rescheduled flight exceeds the value of the original ticket price.”
2. Changes could not easily be made online. So when Jeff bought tickets at a great fare, he assumed, incorrectly, that he would be able to change the tickets should circumstances necessitate, which they did. Unfortunately, at that time, Hawaiian first assessed a fare difference of nearly $700 for two tickets that originally cost just $108. That necessitated a call to the customer service center, which you know is not U.S. based.
In any event, Jeff ended up returning the $108 credit to his account and buying new tickets at the then-best available web fare, which was $190. Reasonable. Therein came the second problem, which Hawaiian Airlines has still not resolved.
Other airlines, including Alaska and Southwest, make it easy to change flights using available web fares. Money is returned to a wallet or to travel funds that customers can readily access. Southwest has been the leader in no change fees and last year also eliminated expiration dates on all flight credits from canceled or changed tickets.
Also, know the limitations of Hawaiian Airlines’ basic economy tickets.
Virtually all “basic economy” airline tickets do not allow changes permitted starting 24 hours after purchase.