If you remember posts from my blog from over a year ago regarding Hawaiian airlines, you’ll know that I was generally happy with them. Friendly service with smile? Check! Miles earned with US Airways Dividend Miles program? Check! No hassle baggage policies + interlining (passing of bags between carriers)? Check!
I don’t know if it is because Aloha Airlines no longer flies, or there is growing hostility toward Go! airline, but Hawaiian Airlines has taken a turn for the worse. And it has nothing to do with closed counters to which customers are still directed to, poor signage that to forces you to change lines three times or agents that won’t check you in, becuase you’re not flying First Class all the way.
When we were checking in with Hawaiian for the Honolulu to Chicago via Lihue, Phoenix and Philadelphia (HNL-LIH-PHX-PHL-ORD) portion of the trip, we were fully aware of baggage fees. It was explained to us from the beginning- since we were flying interisland on Hawaiian, we were only responsible for the 2nd bag fees. Immediately after arriving, the “kind” lady barked at me saying I have to pay for each and every bag I am checking. “Doesn’t matter what reservations or US Airways told you, you have to pay for all the bags you check. I simply don’t care that it’s on US Airways stock or their rules. You’re on Hawaiian Airlines and we decided what we do with you!” Here’s the juicy part. A supervisor and a second agent sided with me. They told me I would only have to pay the bag fee for the second bag since I’m flying US Airways back to the mainland. A few minutes later as the supervisor’s shift ended (or maybe he just took a break), the original agent told me I would still have to pay up since she couldn’t get in touch with the supervisor and that the supervisor didn’t go into the record. She also told me the second agent that sided with me was not a supervisor and she couldn’t listen to him. Funny she said so. Isn’t she just a regular agent? So why can she make rules, but the, the second agent can’t? I keep telling her I want to talk to the supervisor in front of her. She says he’s gone, puts her hand in the air covering the area face and direct vision at her and storms of for five minutes.
After about five minutes, she returns in a slightly better mood and says she has a special deal for me. I thought, what, a bribe? She says she’ll only charge for the second bag as the rules state, but she will only tag it to Lihue where I have to leave security during my connection, pick up all bags and re-check with US Airways. Ha! This is after I told her that my Mom lost her only photo ID and that she would need about 30-40 minutes of additional screening time. In the end we had to pay the $55 dollars since there’s no arguing with a lady which probably finished drinking some acid. She was pure spite! Of course, while gathering information about the supervisor, second agent and her, all I got was first name. No last name or initial or badge number. Agent should have been fired on the spot.
Erase the friendly service with a smile and the no hassle baggage policies on the spot. Also erase the automatic miles postings. I had to contact a USAirways.com live chat agent in order to get the miles posted. I am going to write a complaint letter to Hawaiian Airlines, but I’m also going to try and question the charges with the credit card since techinically “I was charged for a service I did not use/request”. We’ll see where that takes me.
There is good news however which is what the second half of this post is dedicated to. While “arguing” with the agent, I noticed a new airline nearby with a small counter- Mokulele Airlines. I did some research after I returned from my trip and I’m thinking if they do well, they could be the next Aloha Airlines. Mokulele Airlines has their own website. I also emailed them with a few questions and here’s what I can tell you so far without flying with them.
- First Class- 2 bags free of charge on each flight, Coach Class- first bag free on all fares, second bag $17
- Fleet of 3 Embraer 170′s and Cessna Grand Caravans 208 B’s
- Complimentary juice/water in coach, alcohol/soft drinks/juice/water in First Class
- Working on a in-flight snack program for sale
- Operate two lounges (one in Honolulu, the other in Kona)- annual membership costs $79.95 + tax
- Each flight will earn you 500 Alaska Airlines miles
- No additional charges for passing bags two two interline carriers, Alaska Airlines and Continental Airlines (more to be added in the future)
What’s neat is that with only three EMB-170′s they still offer a generous amount of flights between the different islands. The Cessna’s add to the experience by offering service to smaller destination, and for aviation enthusiasts, a nice “ride”.
I am seriously considering switching to Mokulele Airlines for all my future inter-island travel. I’ll likely miss out on my 500 miles, but I’ll be able to see which “pineapple” tastes better! Cause we’re not comparing apples to oranges here.
Have a nice clicK life,