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The Ugly Side of Travel - Change Fees by Greedy Hawaiian Airlines

Featured Photo by: JetBlue

QUESTION: Who is your favorite and least likely to fly airline?

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Been traveling with Hawaiian over 8 years since I’ve moved to the islands. But now I will switch to Alaska Airlines for my flights to/from the mainland. Here’s why:

  1. Destinations Change on a Whim Initially, I had been saving my miles for a big trip to the Philippines… according to their Where We Fly destinations page, Manila is listed. Alas, you can never find a flight to Manila and upon calling, they said they’re phasing flights out. Now, they’re focused on Chinese tourism forgetting that Filipinos make up the second-largest racial group in Hawaii (according to figures from a 2010 Census).
  2. Hawaiian Air's Customer Service is outsourced to affordable call centers in the Philippines. I am a Filipina-American but experienced getting representatives that do not know what they’re talking about. Sometimes they can’t understand you and/or vice versa. I hate it when you get interrogated with questions before you can even ask a question! When you give them a record locater number, they still can’t seem to find you and ask your name and membership miles number, etc. They talk like robots who’ve memorized a script. It’s like I have to hand hold them so they can do their job to look up my reservation. Simple questions and you’re put on hold several times. I’ve even explained the same question in different terms just to make sure they understand your question. When they finally understand your question, you may be transferred several times... which only makes you repeat yourself to that new representative again and again. Feels like you're going in circles. Service while on the flight may be “Aloha” but definitely not translated when calling so-called "Customer Service."
  3. Hawaiian Airline Fees are a Rip-off. I paid for 2 roundtrip tickets for myself and boyfriend at a really great rate of about $500. I don’t recall if I had mixed using a few accumulated miles with this fare but all I needed to do was:
    (a) first goal - move my Departure date by one week
    (b) worst-case scenario goal - miss my Departure flight but keep my seat for my Return flight which I had already seat assignments for
    Initially, calling with ample advanced notice… over 60 days.., they wanted to charge $200 change fee + $517 for what the new departure fare rate would be for the new date. So, $700 more for wanting to fly out 1 week early for tickets I purchased at only $500 for two people? So expensive! Only choice was to keep my original ticket.
    Purchased a new ticket to fly out one-way on a different airline, I called again today to inquire if I’ll still keep my seat for my Return flight home… like missing a flight. The 1st representative I talked to put me on hold 3x to double check and said I paid for my ticket so I should be fine even if I missed the Departure portion of the flight… but, that I would not be compensated with miles for the flight I didn’t take even if the flight is paid for.
    Being paranoid about the level of service on the other end of the phone, I called again with the same question. This time the 2nd representative said I would lose my entire roundtrip ticket for missing the first leg of my reservation. WHAT?!! Doesn’t sound logical. I can make my return flight which I’ve paid for but they just want to keep my money and charge me for new change fees & reservations?
    Hung up and tried again… same question. Can I miss my departure flight and keep my return trip itinerary intact? At this point, the 3rd agent got us nowhere. He couldn’t even find our reservation under the record locator we’ve used in previous calls. Had the call escalated to a manager. Explained the situation that this was our 4th call losing my departing flight, having buying another ticket to leave earlier than expected with another airline because Hawaiian Airline was outrageous with their fares for a one-way ticket, and that all I wanted was to keep my return ticket.
    Lesson learned: Stand Your Ground. Get a call escalated to people with power and not the peons answering the phones. The manager/supervisor created a new itinerary for myself as a one-way return. My boyfriend kept his itinerary the same. We had the same seats assigned for our return flight home to Oahu. She waived the change fee. What an ordeal.
    Conclusion: Cancelling my Hawaiian Airlines credit card(s) now. Not worth accumulating miles or paying an annual fee on a credit card for this company.

Other Examples of Hawaiian Airlines Greed

These are just a few headlines but imagine the everyday scenarios of them taking your hard earned money.

Hawaiian pilots are making 45% less than their peers… compared to the market-rate.

Hawaiian Airlines jacked up prices from $89 to $301.40 in an hour of a Molokai race cancellation...

On This Day in History

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