Hawaii artist stuck in San Francisco for 4 days after Flossie flight cancellations

Hawaii artist stuck in San Francisco for 4 days after Flossie flight cancellations
Hisashi Otsuka
Hisashi Otsuka

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A well-known Hawaii artist and his assistant are stuck in San Francisco -- for four days -- because of cancellations and backlogged flights caused by tropical storm Flossie.

Hawaii artist Hisashi Otsuka just completed a month-long trip to California with four art shows there.

He said he and his assistant, Patrick Huaume, knew the tropical storm was threatening Hawaii when they showed up at the United Airlines counter at San Francisco Airport Monday afternoon, hoping to board their 4 p.m. flight to Honolulu.

That's when they got the news the flight was canceled because of the storm, without getting an early courtesy call from United.

"If something like that got canceled, then why didn't they send an email or a text or whatever, but do nothing.  It's kind of a disappointment," Otsuka said.

They were more disappointed when United told them they couldn't get a confirmed direct flight back to Honolulu from San Francisco until Friday, four days later.

"The only solution to be on standby," Huaume said. "That was the only way they advised me if you want, come earlier to Honolulu, be on standby.  I didn't agree with that."

A United Airlines spokesman Charles Hobart said the company canceled 12 of its flights from the mainland Monday because of the storm and 14 of its departures from Honolulu.

United added six extra round-trip flights between Honolulu and San Francisco as well as Los Angeles Monday and Tuesday to try to get stranded passengers where they wanted to go, Hobart said.

But these longtime United passengers say their Friday departure -- delayed four days because of the storm and the backlog -- will be their last on the airline.

"I don't think I fly again with United.  But, it's not the first time they treat the passenger badly," Huaume said.

"This is the end.  I don't fly (United) anymore. No, I don't think so," Otsuka said.

United's Hobart told Hawaii News Now: "When there are multiple cancellations, we work as quickly as we can to re-accommodate customers when the weather conditions allow us to do so."

"Sometimes they fly standby and sometimes they get a confirmed seat in the next couple days," Hobart said.

The artist and his assistant checked into a San Francisco airport hotel -- at their own expense -- Monday night and are now staying with friends in Marin County until their departure from SFO for Honolulu at 8 a.m. Friday.

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