I love flying Hawaiian Airlines, I will always choose Hawaiian for my island vacations. The extra comfort seats are my favorite, they give me an extra 6 inches of much-needed leg room for any flight to the Islands. The complimentary alcoholic drink as we reach the islands gets me even more excited to start my island getaway. With that being said, I was excited to add my 4th island, O’ahu, to my list of Hawaiian Islands visited. I was not happy to be awake at 5am and on the road before 6am, but LA traffic requires it.
My dad was nice enough to take Michelle and me to LAX for our flight. About halfway to LAX is where our problems started. Michelle got an email saying our Thursday 10am flight was delayed until 10:57am, no big deal. Getting our boarding passes, and luggage tags printed was a breeze. Heading up to TSA, we were diverted to another line, where we didn’t have to take off our shoes or coats, I thought Great! This is going to be a breeze! And it was.
We boarded the plane and took off, then 10-15 minutes into the flight the captain tells us we need to turn around as there is an indicator light for the right engine on. We circle the area a few times to dump some fuel and finally land. As we are taxiing to the gate, we are told we will be able to stay on the plane. 12pm we are told they need to take the aircraft someplace else and we all need to get off.
We all stand in line to get our $18 lunch voucher that Hawaiian is kind enough to hand out for the inconvenience. The next update should be 3:30pm, so Michelle and I find something to eat and kill some time while we wait for an update.
3:30pm comes, and they tell us they need more time with the airplane and the next update will be 5:30pm. At this point, Hawaiian agents are rebooking people on other Hawaiian flights or even with other carriers. In all of the times I have flown Hawaiian, they have NEVER had to cancel a flight. Michelle and I did inquire about our options, just in case. We knew if we needed there was an 8am Friday flight to Lihue then on to Honolulu (that will be important later)
5:30pm we are told we will have the plane back by 6:45pm and were given another meal voucher for dinner, this time it was $20. 6:45pm comes and goes, we see our pilots and flight attendants waiting to board the airplane. 7:15pm and we still aren’t on the plane.
Then it happens, I see the pilots leave! I knew then it wasn’t going to be good. Even though we were getting our plane back, the crew had timed out. At 9pm the Hawaiian Airlines manager made the call to cancel our flight and reschedule it for 7:30am Friday.
At this point, we are told if we needed to find a hotel they would give us a voucher and book us in a nearby hotel. It didn’t make sense to have someone pick us up to only have to be up early again the next morning and on the road back to LAX. They had 4 counters open, Michelle and I were in 2 different lines to see which moved faster, we were told there were only 50 rooms available in the nearby hotels. We finally get a voucher for the Westin, or so we thought. We stopped at Rip Curl to buy a new shirt since we will be sleeping in our current clothes and having to wear them again the next day. Head downstairs to catch the Westin shuttle and head over to the Westin.
We arrive at the hotel and are told they are on the phone with Hawaiian to negotiate prices and we have to wait 15-20 minutes before we can check in. We can finally try to check in and are told what we have is not a voucher, it was just our reprinted boarding passes with the Westin written on the back. If we wanted we could go back to LAX and get the voucher or we could pay the $139, which is the rate Hawaiian will pay the hotel, and file a claim with the airline to get our money back. We chose that option as it was already 11pm.
I called the shuttle that was picking us up in O’ahu and told them what was going on, and they changed our pickup with no hassle. I then called the hotel and explained, and to keep our room, they had to check us in and charge us for Thursday even though we were not there. We honestly didn’t care as long as it meant we had someplace to stay Friday upon arrival.
Friday morning I wake up to an email from the hotel saying my credit card had been declined and I need to fax over a form before the end of the night, or we would lose the room. I frantically called the hotel and explained I forgot the card on file had fraudulent activity and was closed months ago, luckily they allowed me to give them a new card number as they held our room for us anyway. I poured my heart out to Joey, who was helping me as he was validating my new card info and he wished us a safe flight and quick arrival.
We were both up and out of the hotel before 5am, we breezed through TSA since Hawaiian Airlines still had our luggage. Stood in line at Coffee Bean and Tea leaf (don’t judge, it’s the only “coffee” in the terminal) for what felt like forever, got a quick breakfast here and then headed back to our gate to wait again.
As we were boarding, we each got instructions on how to redeem our $500 credit for a future flight with Hawaiian. We did board the airplane on time, but 7:30am came and went, people were getting restless and cranky with the flight attendants, I get it we wasted a day in the airport, but it was not their fault. Remember earlier I mentioned a Friday 8am flight to Lihue then on to Honolulu? Well, it was delayed, and since half of our plane bailed the day before, they were diverting passengers onto our flight. I completely understand, and it’s why I wasn’t getting upset. If there was a flight on Thursday we could have gotten on, I would have wanted them to hold it as well.
9am on Friday, and we are FINALLY in the air and on our way to O’ahu. We didn’t check in to the hotel until after 3pm HST on Friday, but we made it. We lost an entire day and a half of time in paradise, but we were safe, and that is what matters the most.
This was definitely a unique travel experience for me, I’ve never had a flight delayed so many times, canceled and rescheduled. I hope it never happens again, but it’s all apart of flying. I can laugh about it now, and even write a 1,343 word blog post about it.
I want to thank the Hawaiian Airlines agents that were in the terminal helping us, and flight attendants for being so patient and understanding with all of the cranky passengers. I know it wasn’t your fault and that safety is a top priority. This will in no way deter me from flying with you again, I said it at the beginning of this post, and I’ll repeat it. I will always choose Hawaiian Airlines for my flights to and from the Islands.
So, there you have it, my crazy day at LAX. Have you ever had a flight delayed or canceled? If so let me know in the comments below! Mahalo for reading!