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Airlines serving Maui adding flights, offering more flexible changes

CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Travelers wait for their flights at Kahului Airport on Maui today. At the center is Olga Fong with her children, Alex, 9, and Nicholas, 3. The Fongs left Lahaina just before the wildfire gutted the historic town but had to sleep overnight on the floor of the airport since their flight back to Los Angeles had been canceled.
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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

Travelers wait for their flights at Kahului Airport on Maui today. At the center is Olga Fong with her children, Alex, 9, and Nicholas, 3. The Fongs left Lahaina just before the wildfire gutted the historic town but had to sleep overnight on the floor of the airport since their flight back to Los Angeles had been canceled.

GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, speaks today during a press conference.
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GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM

Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, speaks today during a press conference.

CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Travelers wait for their flights at Kahului Airport on Maui today. At the center is Olga Fong with her children, Alex, 9, and Nicholas, 3. The Fongs left Lahaina just before the wildfire gutted the historic town but had to sleep overnight on the floor of the airport since their flight back to Los Angeles had been canceled.
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, speaks today during a press conference.

Many of the airlines serving Maui are offering more flexible cancellation policies and adding flights to bring in emergency supplies and to help evacuate travelers affected by brush fires.

Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO, said during a press conference held today at the airline’s corporate headquarters in Honolulu, “It’s an unbelievable tragedy and I think we’ve all got a fondness for Maui and for Lahaina in particular. I know that I’ve spent a lot of special days in old town Lahaina. It’s really difficult to think about what it’s going to look like.”

Ingram added that Hawaiian is also concerned about the well-being of its team.

“We’ve got hundreds of employees in Maui who worked at Kahului airport who worked in cargo or in maintenance and many of our pilots and flight attendants lived there as well,” he said. “We are trying to get a sense of how many of their lives have been disrupted or the lives of their families with the widespread property damage.”

Hawaiian Airlines said this evening that it planned to extend its operations today with three additional late-night flights to Honolulu from Kahului.

Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson Alex Da Silva said the new flights, scheduled to depart Kahului at 11:10 p.m. today through 2 a.m. Thursday, are timed to meet travelers expected to arrive at Kahului via Maui County buses.

Hawaiian earlier today added six extra flights between Honolulu and Kahului to accommodate departures out of Maui, as well as support emergency response efforts,” he said. “Currently, four extra Kahului-Honolulu flights have been added for (Thursday).”

Hawaiian is advising that guests traveling through Kahului should continue to check their flight status on its website at hawaiianairlines.com or on the app before coming to the airport.

Ingram said that Hawaiian is offering reduced $19 main cabin fares out of Maui to facilitate urgent travel needs.

“In situations this where we we’ve got a natural disaster one of the first things we do is put a cap on pricing so that our revenue management systems don’t when plans fill up start pushing prices high,” Ingram said. “That’s not what we want to do in a situation where people are dealing with a tragedy.”

Da Silva said since Hawaii is discouraging non-essential travel to Kahului, Hawaiian is supporting its guests with flexible travel options. Call the reservations team at 1-800-367-5320 to change flights to and from Maui or receive a refund, he said.

Hawaiian is asking guests with non-urgent inquiries to delay calling so that it can assist travelers with immediate needs.

“The safety of our guests and employees, including teammates who live and work on Maui, is our priority,” Da Silva said. “We are working closely with the state of Hawaii to support the transportation of first responders and supplies and help with the overall emergency response as best as we can.”

He said Hawaiian today pledged to match up to 30 million HawaiianMiles in donations to the Hawaii State Chapter of the American Red Cross, the airline’s partner, to assist the Maui community.

“Within a few hours, nearly 2,200 HawaiianMiles members had already donated 13.8 million miles, for an average donation of nearly 6,400 HawaiianMiles,” Da Silva said.

Hawaiian’s FAQ page and travel waivers site answer additional questions.

Southwest, which has more than 90 flights a day that touch Hawaii, and 60 of them operating daily within the state, said today that it planned to run its full schedule. It also was adding flights to move people away from challenges, and to keep supplies moving.

Customers affected by the Maui wildfires should consult southwest.com/travel-advisory/ for flexible options. A visit to Southwest.com shows that the carrier is offering some $19 fares on interisland routes to and from Kahului.

Alaska Airlines said it is closely monitoring the devastating impacts from the Maui wildfires, and is continuing to operate all eight of its scheduled daily departures from Maui.

Alaska spokesperson Daniel Chun said “We are committed to getting airplanes and crews into (Kahului Airport) so that we can operate full flights of guests needing to leave the island,”

An Alaska.com website has been instituted so Alaska guests can adjust their travel plans.

“We are grateful to our employees on Maui and our crewmembers who are continuing to help our guests,” Chun said.

United Airlines said it cancelled today’s inbound flights to the Kahului Airport so that it planes could fly empty to Maui and be used as passenger flights back to the mainland.

“Our teams monitoring the situation closely and adjusting our schedule so we can keep serving our customers under difficult conditions. We’re emphasizing safety as always and checking on the welfare of our employees on Maui.”

Customers may visit united.com to check their flight status and view the latest information. Additionally, United has waivers in place for customers traveling to, from or through Maui.

Delta said earlier today that it anticipated operating a full schedule today, and was adding two flights to help accommodate customers whose flights were cancelled due to conditions on the ground.

“Delta teams in our Operations and Customer Center in Atlanta continue to monitor Hurricane Dora and adjacent wildfires in Hawaii as the health and safety of our customers and people remains our top priority,” the airline said.

On Thursday, Delta planned to offer five departures from Maui, including two to Seattle and three to Los Angles.

The airline is offering travel waivers allowing customers traveling to, from or through Maui to rebook travel with a waived fare difference if travel occurs on or before Aug. 16.

The airline recommends visiting the Fly Delta App for the most recent information, and visiting delta.com to ensure the airline has their current contact information.

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