Aloha's Departure Leaves Big Hole in Inter-Island Air Travel

HONOLULU (KHNL) -- With Aloha Airlines out of the air travel picture for now, Hawaiian and go! now have to accommodate the bulk of the interisland passengers.

Aloha's departure has definitely left a big hole in inter-island air travel. It's virtually impossible to find a weekend flight with less than a week's notice. So now, air travelers have to plan ahead and stay flexible to get the flight they want.

The Hawaiian Airlines terminal was bustling with activity midday. Lines were long, as people waited to get to their destinations. This couple from Denmark had a hard time booking a flight online.

"So, we had to search for a long time to find a page where we can pay where they accept Denmark," said Else Andersen, a visitor from Copenhagen, Denmark.

And this man from the Big Island flew to Honolulu for a doctor's appointment. He has respiratory problems because of Halema'uma'u Crater's volcanic ash.

"I've been trying to find a flight back out from yesterday in the morning," said John Krems, a Kona resident. "I have to wait here at the airport. I waited from yesterday morning to get a flight confirmation, yeah."

After two days, he finally has a flight that leaves tonight.

"It's frustrating right now trying to get back and forth, I guess," said Krems. "It's going to be hard."

That's because here at Hawaiian, flights are full and it's virtually impossible to get standby seats, but quite a different experience at the old inter-island terminal.

Lines at go! were short. Folks like Rick Bettua who flies back and forth from Oahu and the Big Island say they haven't noticed a change in flight availability.

"I never have a problem," said Bettua. "I fly back and forth a couple times a month. I book only, like I said, a week early and I never have a problem booking a flight."

Both Hawaiian and go! increased the number of flights since Aloha shut down passenger service several weeks ago. They plan to keep up with demand as we approach the busy summer months.

The advice is book at least a week or maybe even two weeks in advance, especially if you're planning to travel over the weekend because Friday through Sunday flights book up really fast.