We’ve written about Hawaii flight delays now for months. And while we thought it would start to improve, it only gets worse. With our upcoming meetings in Honolulu and Maui, it’s hard to know any longer how far in advance to leave. It’s pretty nuts. Our post today includes our best strategy for dealing with this new phenomenon.
What on earth is causing these flight delays?
No one has a real answer. We’ve asked Hawaiian Airlines, which has a disproportionately high percentage of delayed Hawaii flights, and they have not been forthcoming. We’ll meet with other airline executives in November, and you can be sure we’ll be asking pointedly and reporting back to you.
As to whether one runway being out of service in Honolulu could be the cause, we’d say not likely. That has been going on for some time, and if it were the issue, then flight schedules would have already been revised to accommodate that, wouldn’t they? That leaves the answer we recently received from a Hawaiian Air person at HNL as the most suspect: lack of personnel.
Sunday’s flight delays went like this:
- 115 Honolulu Hawaii flight delays.
- 57 Maui Hawaii flight delays.
- 29 Kauai Hawaii flight delays.
- 18 Kona Hawaii flight delays.
- 9 Hilo Hawaii flight delays.
Last week we reported 316 flight delays in a single day.
Think that was the end of it? Not. Yesterday, Sunday, saw another spate of Hawaii flight delays, once again mostly impacting Honolulu but also seen widely at all of Hawaii’s airports. We started receiving messages about this early in the day. A friend trying to get to Kauai from Honolulu called to tell us about her two-hour delay, and then another delay was announced. In the end, she was 3 hours late, stuck in a miserable terminal with no options.
How to prepare for Hawaii flight delays:
1. Check during the week before travel to know how many and what percentage of your airline’s flights are delayed. That will give you an idea of what to expect. Don’t rely on airline websites for this information. Use a professional tracking resource.
2. Look for the prior day’s delays late in the day since those change and increase as each day progresses. Check these flight delays yourself on FlightAware delay tracking.
3. Also, use FlightAware flight tracking to check to see if your flight will be on time and to find the incoming plane that will become your flight. Look for the “where is my plane” link. That will take you to the incoming flight. Did it leave on time? That’s a good indication of whether your flight may be late, although it doesn’t tell the whole story.
4. Expect to be delayed and plan accordingly. If you aren’t delayed, be pleasantly surprised, and please let us know. Most of our recent Hawaii flights have had at least some delay, and that’s also what you are reporting to us, and our friends are as well.
5. Don’t expect to find great food choices at Hawaii airports. As you know from yesterday’s uber-popular article on the new and disappointing Honolulu Airport Mauka Concourse, there are virtually no food options. We realize you’re also concerned since that article has been read 50k times. Not only is that concourse totally lacking in food, but in the next terminal over (and it is a walk), you’ll find almost everything shuts down by 5 pm. We mentioned yesterday that the food choices at Hawaii airports should be unique, stand-out, and world-class. But instead, we have a miserable third-world concessionaire which offers terrible choices. Expect grim food choices at Hawaii airports when you find any.
6. Don’t count on Starbucks, either. While we found them open later than other options, their hours also seem variable. Today, the Terminal 1 location closest to the Mauka terminal appears to be closing at 5:30 pm. Other locations in the airport are closing at 8:30 and 9:30 pm. But don’t count on that either, as these can change quickly based on available staffing.
Two of your Hawaii airport food option comments stand out:
Stan said, “For as much as Hawaii has to offer the world food-wise, the options at the airport are depressing in Terminal 1 and non-existent in Terminal 2. Chain restaurants have their place, but the locally owned restaurants in Hawaii having locations open in the airport would be a great way to head out for folks about to leave on a long flight.”
Jim added, “We just returned from that airport (HNL) and to say it was a disappointment is an understatement. The only place to get something to eat was Burger King. Forty-two dollars for 2 Whoopers, fries, and two drinks.”
Jeff concurs, as he also got stuck on a no-other-option $21 veggie burger on a recent HNL jaunt.
Please be prepared for Hawaii flight delays, and then let us know how it goes.