Updated August 11, 11am. We will have further updates on the unfathomable, devastating, and deadly Maui Fires that have destroyed Lahaina and more coming out again today. This remains very fast evolving. We wanted to start by updating you on what each of the airlines has announced in terms of how they are currently handling Maui flights and what you can expect. That too will be updated with further changes expected.
Travel to Maui should still be postponed!
Getting to Maui or out of Maui is challenging, and we would highly advise against attempting to travel to and from the island for the time being. The state has also asked that all non-essential Maui travel be postponed. The duration of this recommended pause in travel will be forthcoming as more details become know about the situation.
South Maui is not damaged but the island’s infrastructure is. Travel to South Maui can resume far sooner than to West Maui. We urge patience as everyone works through this dire emergency.
Airline Maui travel waivers due to apocalyptic fires.
All of the airlines with flights to Hawaii have been working to provide help for passengers to a greater or lesser degree. Here is the current status from each airline, although we urge you to be in touch with your carrier directly as the airline situation is also fast-changing.
Due to the emergency and evacuation situation caused by fires on the island of Maui, a travel waiver is available for guests traveling to/from Kahului (OGG) until August 31, 2023. That according to Hawaiian Airlines.
No change fees/no fare difference up-charges.
Hawaiian is allowing the rescheduling or cancellation of Maui flights, even those purchased for basic economy tickets.
“Reschedule your flight at no additional cost: If you are traveling on Hawaiian Airlines to/ from Kahului, Maui (OGG) between August 9 – 31, 2023 HST, you can reschedule your flight to new dates, no change fees will be charged, and we’ll waive any applicable fare difference and other fees related to changes or guest servicing on the same city pair for travel and same cabin of service. Tickets can be booked for new travel to/from the following stations: Kahului (OGG), Kona (KOA), Hilo (ITO), Honolulu (HNL) or Lihue (LIH). However, tickets must be rebooked into the same compartment (Main Cabin or Business Cabin) by September 1, 2023, and travel must recommence by October 31, 2023 HST.”
Tickets can also be canceled with refunds to original payment method.
“Cancel your flight and request a refund: If you are traveling on Hawaiian Airlines to/from Kahului, Maui (OGG) between August 9 – 31, 2023 HST, you have the option of receiving a refund for your trip. Refund requests must be made to our Reservations department or via our online form by September 1, 2023. For those submitting the online form, please ensure that your request includes the topic, ‘Refund,’ and sub-topic, ‘Maui Fire Travel Waiver.'”
Hawaiian previously advised Beat of Hawaii, “We are continuing to monitor the emergency fire response on Maui. With the state of Hawaiʻi discouraging non-essential travel to Kahului, we are supporting our guests with flexible travel options to change their flights to and from Maui or receive a refund by calling our reservations team at 1-800-367-5320. We ask guests with non-urgent inquiries to please call back later so that we can assist travelers with immediate needs.”
Alaska said “Due to wildfires on Maui, HI (OGG), an emergency order has been issued to strongly discourage all non-essential travel to Maui. We are offering a flexible travel policy if you would like to change or cancel your flight.
Flights may be delayed or canceled. Please monitor your flight status regularly. Sign up for flight notifications and we’ll notify you of any last-minute delays, cancellations, or gate changes on your flights by email or text message.
For tickets purchased on or before August 9, for travel dates through August 15, travel can be changed to dates through August 31, 2023.
Alaska updated their policy to state: “Tickets must be changed or canceled prior to the departure of your original flight. If you purchased your tickets through a third party, such as Expedia, another travel agency, or another airline, contact them directly for assistance. If you purchased a nonrefundable First Class, main, Saver, or award ticket, you may:Change your trip without a fee. No difference in fare will apply for new travel to/from Maui (OGG), Honolulu (HNL), Kona (KOA), Lihue (LIH) through August 31, 2023 in the same cabin. Cancel your trip without a fee and choose to deposit the funds into your Account wallet, receive a credit certificate for future travel, or a refund to the original form of payment.”
Southwest also just updated policy as follows: “Due to the current wildfire activity in Kahului (Maui), HI – OGG, travel to and from the airport may be impacted. Between Wednesday, August 9 through Monday, September 4, Customers holding reservations to, from, or through Kahului (Maui), HI – OGG can alter their travel plans, and may rebook in the original class of service or travel standby (within 14 days of their original date of travel between the original city-pairs and in accordance with our accommodation procedures) without paying additional charges. In order to provide our Customers with maximum flexibility, Customers scheduled to travel to, from, or through Kahului (Maui), HI – OGG during this time period may also change their departure/arrival to any of our Hawaii destinations listed below, without paying any additional charge.”
Refund to original payment method offered.
In addition to their no change fee policy, which is always in effect, Southwest is going one step further for Maui travelers. The dates are still only 8/9-8/11, at least at this time. Southwest said, “Additionally, Customers holding reservations for a flight that is canceled may request a refund for an unused ticket/travel itinerary.”
As with the other airlines, United has just updated their policy as follows for travel between August 11, 2023 – August 31, 2023 to or from Kahului. “You can reschedule your trip and we’ll waive change fees and fare differences. But, your new flight must be a United flight departing between August 10, 2023 and October 1, 2023. Tickets must be in the same cabin and between the same cities as originally booked or one of the following: Honolulu, HI, US (HNL), Kona, HI, US (KOA), Lihue, HI, US (LIH). If your new trip is after August 31, 2023, or is to a different destination, we’ll still waive any change fees but you might have to pay a fare difference depending on the flight. If you cancel or don’t take your trip, you can get a full refund.”
American Airlines has the most short-sighted and inappropriate policy in effect. It only allows for changes if you are scheduled through August 13 and can travel by August 18. But, the airline did say, “You can also cancel your trip and obtain a refund to your credit card.“
Delta has updated their Maui fire policy as follows: “When rebooked travel (originally for travel through August 15) occurs on or before August 18, 2023 in the same cabin of service as originally booked, the fare difference will be waived. A fare difference may apply when the waiver is class to class restrictive and the original booking class is not maintained in the rebooked itinerary. When rebooked travel occurs after August 18, 2023, a difference in fare may apply. If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance. Applicable fare difference may apply for new travel dates. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity.” No refund option is offered.
Photo of historic Lahaina, Maui prior to the devastating fire of August 8, 2023. Video credit Richard Olsten from Air Maui Helicopter Tours.Second-Proclamation-Relating-to-Wildfires94