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Storm scrambles tourists' vacations

By Allison Schaefers

LAST UPDATED: 02:13 a.m. HST, Oct 30, 2012

KAT WADE / Special to the star-advertiserKristen Caporiccio, who moved to Hawaii from a Boston suburb five months ago, sunbathed on Waikiki Beach on Monday while, back east, her mother was weathering Superstorm Sandy.

Fran Barrett, a visitor from Avondale, Pa., made it through Saturday's tsunami but got stranded in Hawaii on Monday as flight disruptions from Superstorm Sandy affected travelers.

"Fortunately for us, we are retired and we love Hawaii, so staying here an extra day is nice," said Barrett, who extended her stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. "However, we are anxious to get home to our relatives in the hurricane."

Flight cancellations Monday may have affected as many as 1,612 passengers on direct flights between Hono­lulu and East Coast cities, including New York, Washington, D.C., and Newark, N.J.

FlightAware, a Houston-based industry data provider, told Bloomberg News that the grounded-flights tally from Sunday through today was expected to reach 13,785.

In Hawaii both legs of the Hawaiian Airlines flight between New York and Hono­lulu, which seats approximately 294 passengers, were canceled Monday. United Airlines also canceled both legs of its 256-seat flights between Hono­lulu and Newark and between Hono­lulu and Dulles, outside Washington. The seats on those flights add up to 1,612.

"It's brought everything to a standstill," said Jack Richards, president and CEO of Pleasant Holidays LLC, Hawaii's largest travel wholesaler. "We have guests all over the place. They are stuck on four different islands."

Hawaii hotels have been able to accommodate guest extensions because they aren't dealing with high summer occupancies and many arriving guests have been delayed, Richards said.

"In a way it's been a trade-off," he said. "But the good news is that as of (Monday evening) we have only had five cancellations. Almost everyone else is rebooking."

Jerry Gibson, vice president of Hilton Hawaii, said the company extended special rates to about 20 guests who had to stay over at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and about 15 guests who stayed on at the Hilton Wai­ko­loa Village and another 15 at the Grand Wai­lea.

"We are working with all of our guests," Gibson said. "If they can't get home, we would rather they stay in a nice hotel than an airport."

Hilton is also assisting guests whose Hawaii trips have been delayed, he said.

"Most of them will get here by Friday or Saturday," he said. "We understand. We don't want people hurt by the storm, and we don't want to penalize them."

Participants in the East-West Center's U.S. Presidential Election Reporting Seminar and the New Generation Seminar have been affected by foul weather, said program coordinator Liz Dorn. The first is a 12-day study tour for journalists with stops in Tampa, Fla., Cleveland and Washington; the second is a two-week program for young leaders in the United States and Asia-Pacific region with stops in Hono­lulu, Wisconsin and Washington.

"I was supposed to fly out on United from Hono­lulu to Newark tonight and then fly from Newark to Tampa," Dorn said. "But in the last 48 hours, my flight has been canceled and rebooked five times."

Three of Dorn's Asian-based participants also have been rerouted because they were supposed to go through New York or Washington, she said.

Throngs of Hawaii residents and visitors frolicked on Waikiki Beach on Monday as Sandy slammed into New Jersey and wreaked havoc in New York.

Kristen Caporiccio, who moved to Oahu from Boston five months ago, said Saturday's tsunami scared her. But on Monday she was glad to be in Hawaii.

"It's gloomy in Boston," she said. "It's cold and it's depressing."


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manakuke wrote:
Scary indeed as the East Coast goes through fire and brimstone!
on October 30,2012 | 04:37AM
allie wrote:
The storm will hurt tourism dollars, at least in the short-term
on October 30,2012 | 07:20AM
Dizzle wrote:
Yet another mediocre comment. Assume you refer to Hawaii tourism, never mind the 39 dead and billions of dollars lost from closure of NYSE, all NYC airports, businesses, government offices, schools, the complete shutdown of all subways, busses, bridges and tunnels and the massive destruction of personal property. The effects of Sandy extend far beyond and are much more significant than any “temporary” slow-down in Hawaii visitors. Way to sum up a huge tragedy allie with your usual insipid wisdom. Strongly suggest you take some writing classes, a storm does not hurt tourist dollars unless they get wet.
on October 30,2012 | 11:21AM
tiki886 wrote:
Exactly the sentiment that needs to be expressed. Hawaii's tourist revenues come 2nd or last when it comes to the people who have lost their lives, property and loved ones enduring this storm. God bless and provide comfort to the many families who lost loved ones especially the family that lost two children when a tree fell upon their home.
on October 30,2012 | 04:55PM
localgirl2 wrote:
The good Lord has been trying to get our attention. This is one real big attention getter. Wonder how many will realize it. 9/11 was the first.
on October 30,2012 | 09:05PM
raphaeldag wrote:
At least they are stuck in Hawaii. I'm stuck in New York. Hawaiian re-scheduled my Tuesday flight to Wednesday, then cancelled the Wednesday flight, even though JFK Airport was open. When asked, their reservation center in the Phillipines gave two different responses. One person said that they didn't have a plane in New York. So, I asked why did they re-schedule me for a Wednesday flight if there was no plane in New York on Tuesday. Since they cancelled the Tuesday flights from JFK, I can't believe they seriously believed that they were going to fly from Honolulu to JFK on Tuesday. I didn't get an answer. Another person said that there was a plane in New York, but Hawaiian Airlines simply decided to cancel the Wednesday flight, even though JFK was open. The implication was that the decision was made and could not be rescinded. Neither explanation made sense to me. The really irritating thing is that they could have re-scheduled my Tuesday flight for Thursday, but never gave me the option. So, I have to pay for additional hotel days in New York and fly out on Friday at 6:00 a.m. When I asked whether they had any discount hotels available, they said that they have not had time to build those kinds of relationships with hotels in New York. I'm starting to think that Hawaiian Airlines has expanded too fast, and needs to work on their existing routes before getting any new ones in China or Japan or elsewhere. But given the damage suffered by many other people, you have to keep a perspective. My problems may be irritating. But I haven't lost my life or home or livelihood. So, I also need to give thanks for what I have. Next time, I think I should spend a week of vacation cleaning my house.
on October 31,2012 | 06:53PM
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