Lanai pets depend on these traveling vets, but flight delays are cutting into service

Delayed flights to the island of Lanai are not only affecting travelers but sick animals too.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 5:40 PM HST|Updated: May. 31, 2023 at 5:51 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Delayed flights to Lanai are not only affecting travelers, but sick animals, too.

Veterinarians from Oahu use Mokulele Airlines, the community’s only commercial airline, to get to Lanai and care for animals in need of medical attention.

“It’s very much a lifeline for our animals,” said Maui County Councilmember Gabe Johnson. “Presently, there are no veterinarians on the island of Lanai which is why it’s so important that they get flown here.”

Veterinarians say in the last several months, their Mokulele flights have been delayed multiple times.

The most recent delay was this Wednesday.

“Our flight was at 6 a.m. got pushed back to 7 a.m. then pushed back to 8 a.m., then 9:30 a.m.,” said Keoni Vaughn, the CEO of Lanai Veterinary Care.

They say those delays have led to a growing backlog of 20 to 30 animals waiting for medical care.

“When we see people’s pets going without some of the basic needs or some of the critical needs that we are able to provide here, it’s very frustrating,” said Dr. Claire Conrath, a veterinarian with Lanai Veterinary Care.

Lanai residents say the traveling vets play a crucial role for their small island community.

“I have a 19-year-old cat. If they weren’t coming here, I would have to take this cat on the ferry or on a stressful flight to get them to get them to the veterinarian care that they need,” said Kathy Carroll, a Lanai resident.

A spokesperson for Mokulele says in May, the airline has been able to improve its on-time performance when compared to April and says data will be out in mid-June to back that up.

“Mokulele runs over a 100 flights a day in Hawaii and most of those are on time and sometimes flight delays happen and often times its just bad luck,” said Keith Sisson, with the airline.

“There’s nothing systemic with any of the flight delays we are having right now. They are all one off issues and we work to address those on a day to day basis.”

Johnson says despite the delays, the airline should be credited for its customer service.

“They do communicate very well, all things considered, but it just goes to show we do need better help with our inter-island transportation,” said Johnson.

The veterinarian team says all they want is to get to their animals on time.