Hawaiian Air CEO apologizes to frustrated passengers as strong winter storm threatens more delays

“I know that we’ve disappointed a lot of passengers."
Published: Dec. 21, 2022 at 3:51 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 21, 2022 at 5:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - If you’re getting on a jet plane this holiday season, pack your patience.

Travelers in Hawaii and nationally are encountering mounting delays and cancelations in the wake of a winter storm that impacted the state and as a “bomb cyclone” threatens extreme cold across much of the mainland.

As of about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, there were about 160 delays at Honolulu’s airport and 13 cancellations.

‘It’s not good’: Delayed, canceled flights at Honolulu’s airport trigger big travel headaches

On Maui, Kahului’s airport saw at least four cancelations, leaving passengers frustrated ― furious.

Officials note that the situation is better than it was earlier this week, when a winter storm barreled over the state. But some are asking why it’s taking so long to get back to normal, especially for inter-island flights.

“Today we got some challenges, late arrivals for various reasons, crew rest ... they do have rest requirements by the FAA. So once that gets caught up, we should be all OK,” said Maui Airports District Manager Marvin Moniz.

Peter Ingram, CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, apologized for delays and cancelations and said the airline has had a “very challenging” last few days ― especially in the wake of a severe turbulence incident on Sunday.

“I know that we’ve disappointed a lot of passengers in the week before Christmas. And, you know, we’re gonna have to do everything we can to get better,” Ingram told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

“If we play it back and could do over the last couple of days, there were there are a lot of things we might have done better. And so we’ll work on that going forward.”

Many passengers are wondering why there are still issues with flights.

He added that the situation is getting better.

“We shouldn’t have the same degree of cancellations over the next couple of days,” Ingram said.

“We should be able to get a better handle on the delays and make sure we don’t have some of the challenging situations where, unfortunately, we’ve left people in the airports late at night.”

Maui County Councilmember Kelly King said the message for Hawaiian Air is: “Get your act together.”

“Come on you guys, you’ve been around for a long time and at the very least, let people know what’s going on,” King said. “I just feel for people flying with young kids.”

Hawaiian Air added that it is working as quickly as possible to accommodate passengers on canceled flights and boost capacity.

But while things might get back to normal for inter-island travel, the headaches are far from over with a winter storm bearing down on much of the mainland during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

The National Weather Service is calling the winter storm a “once-in-a-generation type event.”

It’s expected to deliver deadly cold and a potential blizzard in the Midwest, particularly Chicago, a major hub for American, United and Southwest.