Ex-Aloha Employees Open a New Chapter

Angel Pablo
Angel Pablo
Bernice Pablo
Bernice Pablo

AIEA (KHNL) -- About 2,000 former Aloha Airlines employees are filing for unemployment benefits this week. It's a difficult reality as you would imagine, but it's even twice as difficult to deal with when both husband and wife get laid off.

Angel and Bernice Pablo joined Aloha back in December 1989. Now, with the abrupt closure of Aloha's passenger service, these two former flight attendants are not sure what they're going to do next.

Aloha Airlines has been a home away from home for many of its employees.

"It was fun years, lot of experiences, met a lot of people, made a lot of friends," said Bernice Pablo.

Bernice and Angel Pablo started working for Aloha 19 years ago. They eventually fell in love.

"She was always my best friend and she's my wife today," said Angel Pablo. "And I'm forever grateful for that."

Aloha's bankruptcy announcement two weeks ago caught the Pablos off guard. But last Friday's rally at the Capitol gave them hope.

"There was hope," said Bernice Pablo. "We saw hope and there was encouragement from the senators. We left with a good feeling that something was going to happen, a miracle was going to happen."

But Aloha stopped its passenger service on Monday. Tuesday, the counters were empty.

"Everything was normal and all of a sudden, you wake up the next day, and it's done," said Angel Pablo.

Now, they're filing for unemployment benefits, wondering about their future and the future of their eight-month-old daughter Anela. They also worry about their Aloha ohana.

"We're still sharing with each other, keeping in contact, and that's the sad part because we're all going to go our separate ways after this and that's probably the hardest part," said Bernice Pablo.

They still have hope that someone will buy Aloha, so they can go back to work.

"I'm still hopeful that somebody will step in and want that Aloha brand again," said Bernice Pablo. "And I know we'll lose a lot of people along the way, but yeah, we're still hopeful. I still believe there's still hope out there."

Angel and Bernice thank the people of Hawaii for their aloha and support throughout this ordeal. They hope to be flying again real soon.