Preparing for boost in inter-island travel, Hawaiian Airlines outlines new safety measures

Preparing for boost in inter-island travel, Hawaiian Airlines outlines new safety measures
Hawaiian Airlines employees posed as passengers to test new safety procedures the carrier has put in place. (Source: Image: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A practice run on a make-believe flight Monday gave Hawaiian Airlines staff a chance to run through procedures passengers and employees will encounter on an inter-island trip once the quarantine is lifted June 16.

It starts in the lobby.

“If you look around the lobby you’ll see the markings on the floor to keep people as distant as possible while they’re in the lines,” said Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO.

Besides social distancing floor markers, check-in kiosks are safely spaced and Plexiglas barriers provide another layer of protection at counters.

Ingram said Hawaiian’s exercised safety protocols since coronavirus concerns surfaced. Now they are enhanced.

"We're using this as an opportunity to further enhance our practices to make sure that as we start seeing people traveling in greater numbers that they can travel with confidence," he said.

Seating on the carrier’s fleet of Boeing 717 interisland jets will not exceed 90 passengers per flight or about 70% of capacity.

The airline is blocking off seats so passengers can maintain some social distancing, although Ingram admits it’s hard to do in an airplane setting.

"It's really not practical at all given how close the seats are together," he said.

Couples and families can sit side-by-side if they book it that way when making a reservation. Hawaiian Air will also board flights starting from the back of the airplane.

“We’re going to board purely by rows so not boarding first-class first,” Ingram said.

To further address COVID-19 worries the airline has enhanced its cleaning procedures in its lobby and on airplanes.

It promises to be ready when the interisland quarantine is lifted June 16 and demand for travel increases.

"We're not anticipating any problems with staffing or getting people back, and we'll get the aircraft back and running and ready to go," Ingram said.

Hawaiian Airlines calls its new procedures “Traveling With Confidence.” The carrier may modify them as needed.

Copyright 2020 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.