Where is my refund, Hawaiian Airlines?


If there were a movie titled “Escape from Hawaii,” Chaya Friedman could be the star. She and her husband are stuck on the island of Molokai and miss their connection in Honolulu to get home to the Chicago area. She is forced to buy tickets on another airline in order to make it to Honolulu on time. Can our advocates help her get reimbursed for her expenses?

Question: Our flight on Ohana Airlines from Molokai to Honolulu was delayed several times, until it would have caused us to miss our connection to the mainland.

We had to book the last two seats on another airline (there are very few options on Molokai). In addition, Ohana (a division of Hawaiian Air) collected our luggage fees at the airport and claimed they could not refund them.

I contacted Hawaiian through their website, but have not received any reply – it has been almost a month. Could you help us get a refund of $136 for the flight and $50 for the luggage charges? — Chaya Friedman, Des Plaines, Ill.

Answer: It’s a horrible feeling to know that your flight delay is going to cause you to miss your connection, especially when you’re more than 4,000 miles away from home. A search of Hawaiian Airlines’ Manage Flights page shows that there are only three nonstops a day between Molokai and Honolulu.


In your case, not only did you have limited options to get you back to Honolulu for your Chicago connection, but you also had spent $50 to check bags on a flight that wouldn’t have gotten you there in time. When you attempted to initiate a refund at the airport, you were told it was not possible.

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To make matters worse, after you went online to file your claim with Hawaiian, you never received an acknowledgment of your claim. Our contacts at Hawaiian say they strive to answer claims within 30 days. However, after a month of not hearing back from them, you decided to escalate your claim.

You could have emailed representatives of Hawaiian Airlines on your own. We list their executive contacts on our website. Instead, you reached out to our advocates, who contacted Hawaiian on your behalf.

It turns out that Hawaiian did receive your claim, but, for some reason, it never sent you an acknowledgment.

Shortly after we contacted Hawaiian, you heard back with great news.

The Hawaiian representative apologized for the flight delay and recognized that you needed to make your connecting flight to Chicago. As a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience, Hawaiian refunded your tickets at $68 per person, in addition to the $50 baggage fees charged to your card, the exact outcome you had hoped for.


Mark Pokedoff

Four-time Emmy-award-winning television sports production specialist and frequent traveler. Longtime freelance writer and travel blog enthusiast. Proud papa of four amazing kids who have been upgraded to first class more than all their friends combined. Read more of Mark's articles here.

  • sirwired

    “As a goodwill gesture for the inconvenience… [full refund].”

    If the flight is significantly delayed, I thought a refund was par for the course if you don’t take the flight.

    And kudos to the passenger for taking it upon himself to get to Honolulu in-time to make the connection (on another airline; Hawaiian doesn’t fly to ORD), instead of missing it and asking Hawaiian to pay his one-way walk-up fare to get home.

  • Daddydo

    One question. How long of a layover did you allow in Honolulu? We are in a different world today. As far as the airlines seem to be concerned, you are a revenue statistic. We were stranded on the 1st in Miami instead of Grenada because Delta misconnected and would not exchange the ticket to American. I have not yet heard back from Delta re: refund. When dealing with multi carriers it is my agency’s best advice to allow 3 hours connection time in order to play it safe. When traveling internationally, we may even suggest longer. When traveling on the same carrier, it depends on the airport. 35 minutes is legal at Newark for United airlines, but you will miss you flight. It takes that long for the person in front of you to retrieve their oversized suitcase.

  • AAGK

    This is a case where the OP simply ignored the clear directions on the Hawaiian Air site and just contacted Elliott to do it for them. I have received refunds from HA and all you have to do is click the consumer complaint/advocate (I forget) button on its site. You will always hear back within 24 hours and the link is prominently featured. She could have secured the refund within a couple of days.

  • Michael__K

    This is a case of simply ignoring the clear contents of the published article, and then slandering the OP based on false assumptions.

    To make matters worse, after you went online to file your claim with Hawaiian, you never received an acknowledgment of your claim. Our contacts at Hawaiian say they strive to answer claims within 30 days. However, after a month of not hearing back from them, you decided to escalate your claim.
    […]
    It turns out that Hawaiian did receive your claim, but, for some reason, it never sent you an acknowledgment.

  • Lindabator

    Sounds like he did all on his own, and may not have informed them in advance – which would have made him a no-show and not entitled to anything — but Hawaiian is very flexible, and consumer-friendly as a rule

  • Lindabator

    they no longer have a ticketing agreement with American and that is due to their constantly covering American’s poor scheduling practices, which is a shame, as it REALLY limits options. And yes — ALWAYS give yourself plenty of breathing room — they would even have been better returning to Maui the night before and flying out of there the next morning as an option

  • Lindabator

    or did not give them a valid email/phone number — folks do that a lot

  • AAGK

    I guess I thought, “online” seemed vague. There is a very specific spot with an annoyingly misleading name. I assumed they hadn’t gone there since it was not mentioned in the article. It is called, “Consumer Affairs.” If the Op filed there and did not hear back, I probably would not have waited so long but that is very rude of Hawaiian to ignore.

  • Michael__K

    You mean the specific spot which is linked from the article in that very sentence?

    you went online to file your claim with Hawaiian

  • Blamona

    Did they ticket all tickets together thru Hawaiian or seperately?

  • AAGK

    Yes. They could have sent an email to a contact on the site. It wasn’t clear to me they clicked on the consumer advocate section specifically and filed the claim. It’s still not clear. If they did, it was wrong to not receive a reply. The 1st reply is automated. It’s important to be specific bc sometimes the problem is simple and if that step was overlooked then the resolution will be easier. It’s like troubleshooting a computer problem. You have to ask a series of questions beginning with is it plugged in. It seems dumb but a lot of the problems can be resolved there. I was trying to trouble shoot and words like claim and online do not necessarily mean that the proper procedure was followed.

  • AAGK

    Old emails or using a default email for a company you no longer work at is very common. I dislike that Hawaiian calls the refund request section the consumer advocacy. It confused me bc I associated it with, well consumer affairs and advocacy and thought it was an outside consumer affairs division when it’s really just the refund request section.

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