E komo mai: Cabin announcements to be in Hawaiian on flight to Vegas

Speaking Hawaiian on this Hawaiian Airlines flight is now possible — and encouraged
Updated: Apr. 13, 2018 at 12:31 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The in-flight menu: Chilled passion orange juice, airplane snack mix and now — a side of Olelo Hawaii.

With the preservation of the Hawaiian language being a hot issue in the islands, Hawaiian Airlines is making strides to incorporating traditional tongue into every day business.

On Friday, Hawaiian Airlines will take to the skies with a crew of fluent Hawaiian speakers.

Flight HA18 bound for Las Vegas will be the first mainland-bound flight where Hawaiian language is spoken in cabin announcements and crew instructions.

"Flight attendants onboard HA18 to Las Vegas will transform the journey into a one-of-a-kind cultural experience by engaging with guests in both 'olelo Hawai'i and English," the company said via email.

It's an idea previously tested on four flights to Hilo at the start of Merrie Monarch last week.

And the concept of really took off.

"The initiative is an extension of the airline's commitment to honor and share our Islands' unique culture with guests visiting Hawai'i," a company spokesperson said.

Not only will the in-flight announcements be done in Hawaiian, but the announcements at the gate will be in olelo as well.

On the flight to Vegas will be special guest Dr. Larry Kimura. To many, Kimura is known as "the grandfather of Hawaiian language revitalization," the company said.

Hawaiian Airlines hopes to expand and formalize the language immersion program in the coming months.

Hawaiian language has been inching its way back in to modern day business.

The issue recently captivated local news when a judge refused to acknowledge a protester in court after he identified himself in Hawaiian — which is an official language of the state.

[Read more: State says it will provide Hawaiian interpreters in courts to those who request them]

The state has since started training interpreters to serve in courtrooms across the state.

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