Aloha Passengers Scramble to Find Flights

Catherine Conway
Catherine Conway
Joe Ritchey
Joe Ritchey
Joan Komen
Joan Komen

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- As most everyone in Hawaii knows by now, Aloha ended 61 years of passenger service Monday.

Nearly 2,000 people are now without jobs and hundreds of passengers are still trying to make alternate travel arrangements.

Here at Honolulu International Airport, Hawaiian Airlines and other carriers continue beefing up service to accommodate stranded passengers.

Most of the passengers on inter-island flights found a way to get to their destination.  But, it's a different story for those trying to catch flights to the mainland.

The first day without Aloha Airlines.

Planes sit on the air field, and abandoned ticket counters lay empty in the terminal.

Aloha's abrupt closure caught passengers like Catherine Conway and Joe Ritchey flat footed.

"It was just unfortunate and upsetting, not knowing how we're going to get home and when," said Conway.

"Now we're stuck trying to get our way home, probably have to be on stand by today if not tomorrow, and if not that, we have to buy another ticket, for more than what it cost to go round trip," said Ritchey.

Hawaiian Airlines added 6,000 seats Tuesday morning, but most are inter-island flights.

"Mainland services flights are quite full, and while we're trying very very hard to accommodate as many people as we can, we're not able to accommodate everybody," said Blaine Miyasato, Vice President of Customer Service at Hawaiian Airlines.

That's not good news for Conway and Ritchey, who are trying to get back home to Santa Cruz, California.

"They're able to send our baggage home," Conway said.  "We're not sure about a flight but they're being really helpful."

But lines mid-day at Hawaiian were short, thanks to extra employees on duty.

"I thought that it would be a mad house, but it isn't," said Joan Komen, a Hawaiian Airlines passenger.  "So far it seems to be working fine."

And over at the old interisland terminal, lines were also short.

Go! added two more planes, bumping up their flights by 50 percent.

Passengers are relieved.

"I don't know other than the price was right," said Sondra Baker, who chose to fly with go! Airlines.  "That's probably why we picked it, and I'm glad we did now.

Still, many can't believe Aloha shut down its passenger operations.

"There's been so many airlines that have been in and out of bankruptcy," said George Baker, a go! Airlines passenger.  "Where we're from in Minnesota, where Northwest is based, I think they've been in and out a few times, so I was surprised to see an airline actually go under."

Many go! passengers are sympathetic to Aloha's situation.

"It's too bad," said George Baker.  "Hate to see a long-time company like that go under but hopefully they'll be able to get some sort of service back."

The changing landscape of Hawaii's airline industry.

For the next three days, Hawaiian Airlines is accomodating Aloha passengers free of charge on any flight, if there is space available.