In just a few hours, Aloha Airlines will operate its last scheduled passenger flight. It is a very sad day today for the aviation community. Due to unfair competitive tactics used by a rival, an airline with a rich history will cease to exist. Some will say that businesses may come and go, but when it comes to an airline, it is different, because no words could say it better than the Hawaiian word ‘Ohana’ meaning ‘family’. Airlines are like a family, and while the business catastrophy is one, the catastrophy of a ruined family is much greater and far more important.
I never had to chance fly aboard Aloha Airlines. In my entire life, I may have interacted with 2 or 3 Aloha Airlines employees tops. So why am I writing about this? As a long time US Airways customer, supporter and ‘fan’, I’ve come to appreciate the US Airways ‘Ohana’, and I would be devastated to see US Airways gone. After chatting with so many employees, and just seeing them in their workplace, you realize that they still find a sense of ‘good’ in their jobs. Regardless of how they feel about management, they find comfort and pleasure in working alongside fellow employees. Sincere friendships, and not just smiles of co-workers create this airline family.
In regards to Aloha Airlines, I have a pleasant story to share. In a way, I feel very lucky. I was actually recently in Hawaii, and had a flight from Honolulu, Oahu to Kahului, Maui aboard Hawaiian Airlines. I chose Hawaiian Airlines since they are a US Airways partner for earning Dividend Miles and it was all on one ticket. It was a rainy day, probably the only rainy day during my entire trip. As I settled into seat 16D, I realized it was already 7:55PM. The last day in Hawaii had gone by really fast. It was dark outside. The window to the right of me was approximately 5 feet way- the view was very blurry and full of water droplets. It had stopped raining however. Just a few moments we later we pushed back and we were on our way taxiing out of Honolulu’s (HNL) inter-island terminal. I started seeing tails of Aloha Airlines Boeing 732s. I really felt like taking a picture and my camera was just inches away in the seat-back pocket of 15D. No, it’s dark outside, it’s so blurry, it’s not worth taking pictures this time. I will come back to Hawaii again, I will take great daylight pictures of those Aloha 732s. Next time. The camera which I pulled out of the pouch, I slowly put away back into the seat-back pocket. The gut feeling didn’t let go as I quickly snatched the camera out of the pouch once more. It was a chaotic grab, and the contents of the seat-back pocket just fell out. I didn’t care, I needed to snap as many photos in the next few seconds. The plane was taxiing, there was no time to loose- any second, the tail I would see would be the last. In total I have no more that 10 pictures, with the best ones posted a few lines underneath. Maybe it was an instinct, or I felt that my life would not witness something again, but I felt a sense of calm afterwards. Aloha Airlines was the only airline aircraft I photographed that night. When we landed in Kahului, Maui there were other planes, but I didn’t seem to be interested. Aloha Airlines were the only aircraft pictures I came back to the mainland with. Thinking about this story as Aloha announced it’s plans to cease operations, made me think to appreciate people/things while we can, because one moment it will be too late. Mahalo, Aloha Airlines.
MAHALO NUI LOA – ALOHA OE
July 26, 1946 – Forever in mind, heart and spirit.