Monday, March 31, 2008

Aloha Airlines Ends Six Decades of Island Spirit

Aloha Airlines halts all passenger service today. Meanwhile, the travel industry rushes to help passengers affected.
Since 2000, Aloha Airlines flew Bay Area travelers to the islands of Hawai'i, and reunited island residents with family and friends here on the mainland. But Aloha Airlines history, mixed with ups and downs, runs much deeper to the people of Hawai'i.

"When its first flight took off from Honolulu in 1946, the interisland carrier that would become Aloha Airlines was an underdog created by minorities determined to succeed in post-war Hawai'i...and being a passenger was like flying with a local-style party. Flight attendants served pineapple juice, sang Hawaiian songs, danced the hula and even played the 'ukulele." -Mike Gordon (Honolulu Advertiser)

"Across the Islands yesterday, Aloha Airlines employees — and their families — reacted to the news that their ailing airline was shutting down passenger service, effective today. After the initial shock, there was a range of emotions — anger, anxiety and sadness." -Mary Vosino (Honolulu Advertiser)

"This is to Hawai'i what Katrina was to Louisiana, we're very much integrated into Hawai'i." -Randall Cummings, pilot for Aloha.

"Aloha is like an 'ohana." -Coreen Dijos, customer service agent for Aloha.

"This is the one job where everybody is like a family." - Shavonn Okamura, Aloha staff

Visit the Honolulu Advertiser for special ongoing coverage including slideshows of the airlines history and video of employee reaction.

The travel industry has been quick to respond. United Airlines, and to a lesser degree Hawaiian Airlines are offering affected Aloha passengers special accommodations and/or discounts. Marriott and Aqua Hotels have invited existing guests unable to leave the island special accommodations.