Sandy strands 1,300 travelers in Hawaii

Sandy strands 1,300 travelers in Hawaii
Published: Oct. 29, 2012 at 10:33 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 30, 2012 at 1:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 1,300 travelers bound for the East Coast remain stranded in Hawaii.

And our visitor industry is reaching out to help them..      

The isle's two largest airlines have canceled a total of six direct flights to the East Coast since Sunday. Hawaiian Airlines canceled two daily flights to New York while United Airlines canceled four daily flights to Newark, N.J. and Washington, D.C.

The East Coast is a growing but lucrative market for Hawaii and local tourism officials and airlines are scrambling to accommodate stranded visitors.

"Addressing this, I think we got ahead of it knowing that it was going to come on shore and a lot of hotels began communicating with their guests," said David Uchiyama, Hawaii Tourism Authority vice president.

Local hotels are offering discounted rates for travelers whose flights have been canceled. Airlines are also waiving fees to rebook their reservations.

"There should be no additional charge for anything related to Hurricane Sandy," said Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Ann Botticelli.

"So if your flight was canceled ... if you just decide to cancel your trip, we'll give you a full refund."

Hawaiian Airlines says it has scheduled an extra flight to New York, which could fly as early as Wednesday. The total cost for the cancellations and the added flight: about $250,000.

Late October is typically a slow season for hotel bookings, so stranded travels should have little problem finding a place to stay.

However, for Hawaii travelers stuck on the East Coast ... experiencing Sandy first hand is much more traumatic.

University of Hawaii staffer Jay Hartwell, was holed up in a Greenwich Village hotel. He's seen hurricanes here is Hawaii and so he felt well prepared for this one.

"We're feeling fine because we've gone through this a number of times and know the drill," he said.

"All of our pots are filled with water and the bathtub will be filled with water. We have enough food to get us through three days."

Hartwell has a Wednesday flight he's hoping to catch but he and millions of others will have to wait and see how long it will take for service to return to normal.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.