Most likely, yesterday we took our last flight on Hawaiian Airlines. For about twenty years we've flown direct from Portland, Oregon to Maui. In January 2012 Hawaiian dropped non-stop Portland-Maui flights.
So my wife and I are going to drop Hawaiian. We had lots of frequent flyer miles accumulated through our usually-annual flights to Maui, supplemented by our habitual use of a Hawaiian Airlines VISA card, which gave us one mile for every dollar charged.
This year we used up almost all of our frequent flyer miles to buy "free" tickets for a flight to Maui that required a plane change in Honolulu. Ugh. Never again.
From now on we'll fly Alaska Airlines' non-stop to Maui from Portland. And cancel our Hawaiian VISA card. Hawaiian Airlines made a bad business decision.
Have you enjoyed direct flights from Maui to Portland on Hawaiian Airlines? That service is about to end. Beginning mid-January, you will need to make connecting flights through Honolulu.
This move is bad for Maui tourism. Nonstop service is what attracts visitors to the Neighbor Islands. With fewer options for direct flights, tourists who understand the consequences of connecting flights will opt for a different airline or a different locale to visit.
The Portland flights always seem full, but if statistics show otherwise, why drop the number of days for the direct service to zero? We understand that difficult business decisions sometimes need to be made, but we don't understand the wisdom of deserting an existing market entirely.
Yesterday we asked a Hawaiian Airlines employee why the non-stop flight was cancelled.
"I have no idea," we were told. "The company doesn't tell us employees anything. The direct flights were almost always full. People liked them. Now we're losing business travelers who can't get to Maui early enough to do a full day's work. You should write Hawaiian and complain."
For sure. I'm going to.
Maybe it won't make any difference, but the more people who gripe about losing the non-stop Portland to Maui flight, the more Hawaiian Airlines will realize that whoever dreamed up this stupid move made a bad decision.
From a Facebook page, I learned that Mahalo@HawaiianAir.com is an email address to send complaints to. And the above-quoted letter from The Maui News says, "Leona Duarte at the airline is accepting email from affected travelers/businesses, Leona.Duarte@HawaiianAir.com" So I'm going to send my message to both email addresses.
I'm going to let Hawaiian Airlines know that it was much less enjoyable to fly to Maui through Honolulu. Yesterday my wife and I left Maui pretty much on schedule at 12:45 pm. Our flight to Portland left Honolulu about twenty minutes late, around 3:00 pm.
So we spent over two hours getting farther away from Portland. Which meant that by the time we got our bags and hopped on the Park N' Fly shuttle, it was after midnight. Living as we do in south Salem, we didn't get home until close to 2:00 am.
Not fun. Not compared to the non-stop Portland-Maui flights that we and so many others had come to like so much.
The Hawaiian Airlines employee we talked with had the same attitude as I did: "It just isn't right that now a lot more Oregonians are going to be flying on Alaska Airlines to Maui. Getting to Hawaii should be on Hawaiian Airlines."
I agreed. Wholeheartedly.
My wife and I love the service and island-atmosphere on Hawaiian. More than that though, we love not wasting hours of our time making an unnecessary stop in Honolulu -- which is an unattractive, poorly designed airport with horrible eating options for health-minded vegetarians like us.
Hawaiian Airlines likely is about to feel the full impact of disgruntled formerly loyal customers. As mentioned above, we've now used up almost all of our frequent flyer miles. From now on, we'll use Alaska Airlines for our annual vacations on Maui.
Good bye, Hawaiian. We've enjoyed your company for several decades. But your inexplicable decision to drop all direct flights to Maui from Portland is causing us to embrace Alaska. Change your ways, and we'll probably come back into your arms wings.
Not if you continue to make us fly through Honolulu, though.