CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jessica Pene and Ronnie Yaha got comfortable at the Hawaiian Airlines terminal yesterday while waiting for a flight back to Los Angeles. The couple had been trying since Monday to obtain standby tickets back to Los Angeles after their Aloha Airlines tickets were canceled. Below, other passengers also waited for a Hawaiian flight to leave yesterday at Honolulu Airport.
Hawaiian and go! show passengers aloha
Stranded travelers are grateful for the flights to neighbor island and mainland destinations
A trio played music yesterday at Honolulu Airport for the passengers of Hawaiian Airlines Flight 1022 -- many of whom were stranded in Hawaii after Aloha Airlines shut down Monday.
Hawaiian Air provided the free flight to Los Angeles for 80 stranded passengers -- including Brianna Wray, 13, who couldn't wait to go home after a day on standby left her bored and tired.
"I miss all my friends," said Brianna, a cheerleader with the West Coast Mavericks, which competed in a cheerleading tournament in Waikiki.
Her father, Matt Wray, spent about $500 for an extra day in Hawaii. He was grateful for Hawaiian's flight to Los Angeles, even if he had to rent a car to drive home to San Diego.
"If I ever come back here, I will always fly Hawaiian," he said.
About 125 passengers boarded Hawaiian's Flight 1022, leaving empty more than half of the 264 seats on the Boeing 767.
Hawaiian arranged the flight to accommodate all of Aloha's Hawaii-to-the-West-Coast passengers through yesterday.
Blaine Miyasato, Hawaiian's vice president of customer services, did not say how much it cost the company. The plane was to return empty today.
Hawaiian Air scheduled the flight because "it's the right thing to do," Miyasato said.
Hawaiian had to "step up to the plate" to help as a major player in the state's economy and in tourism, he said.
Today is the last day that Hawaiian will offer free flights for Aloha ticket-holders. Go! airlines, which does not fly to the mainland, is also accepting Aloha tickets for interisland flights. The tickets must be scheduled for today.
By yesterday afternoon, Hawaiian flew 1,500 Aloha passengers for free with 300 of those across the Pacific, a Hawaiian spokesman said. A go! spokesman did not have the number of Aloha passengers accommodated.
While some Aloha passengers said it was better to be stuck in Hawaii, several said finding a way home made it hard to relax. On Tuesday, stranded passengers waiting at the airport cheered when Hawaiian Airlines announced there would be an extra flight to Los Angeles.
"I'm the first one who clapped their hands," said San Diego resident Ricardo Gutierrez, 58, who has been stuck in Honolulu for three days. "How can you enjoy the extended days when you are thinking about whether you can go home or not?"
Jean Bores, 83, of San Diego was glad to return home without having to pay the cheapest rate she found -- $860 -- for a one-way ticket.
Others were exhausted. Jessica Pene sat on the floor, holding a friend's head in her lap.
"It's been a little stressful," she said.