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.
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.