HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Je-song-hamnida. That's the respectful way to say "I'm sorry" in Korean. The employees at Hawaiian Airlines were saying that a lot as its first ever flight from Seoul suffered an eight and a half hour delay.
The flight was supposed to land at 11:00 am. Instead it landed at 7:30 pm Hawaii time. There was supposed to be Hawaiian music and hula to greet the passengers but after the lengthy delay all that got skipped, however each passenger was given $300 as compensation.
"We hope that goes some way in showing them our concern for the delay," said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines President & CEO. "There's no question it was disappointing. A lot of hard work went into this inaugural. It's been very successful in every respect but we had a mechanical issue. Safety is the number one thing we have to take care of and we had to take some time to rectify it and that did take something away from the day."
There were 240 passengers on the plane and the ones we spoke with say it was a long delay, but they understood the safety reasons.
"The flight itself was fantastic. There was a delay so the staff was going out of their way to make up for the delay and inconvenience so I think everyone was impressed with their attitude," said Hyunwoo Sun, passenger from Seoul.
Despite the delayed start the Korean community here in Hawaii is excited about the additional flights and hope the competition will eventually reduce ticket prices.
"I have family over in Korea, I have friends in Korea they are ready for this flight," said Jinun Kim, Korean Christian Church, Associate Pastor. "I know a lot of people around me actually waiting for the flight for a while."
The Korean population is relatively small in Hawaii, but the culture is quite popular in large part to the Korean dramas broadcast on KBFD. Interest should accelerate as the station will start a locally based show in March where they will send hosts to Korea and scout out the best places to visit, shop and of course eat.
"It's a tremendous growth in learning about the Korean culture through Korean dramas and because of that there are a lot of local people that are travelling to Korea now. To get more of a firsthand taste and feel of Korean culture," said Jeff Chung, KBFD General Manager.
As for that inaugural Hawaiian vacation, let's just hope the weather isn't worse than the delay.
"It's an experience. It's a story. We will try to make up for the loss in the remainder of the trip," said Hyunwoo Sun.
The next Hawaiian Airlines flight back to Incheon Airport in South Korea is scheduled to leave Saturday at 1:20 in the afternoon. It is scheduled to be on time.