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New 2024 Airline Rules Include Refunds For Hawaii Flight Delays

by Staff

We all want to make the most informed decision possible to avoid potential Hawaii travel delays. But when something goes wrong, then what? New rules that go into effect in 2024 include $75 vouchers on some Hawaii flights when things go awry.

How each airline compensates for flight delays and cancellations varies significantly.

We referred back to the US DOT dashboard that lays out in pretty clear terms how the ten biggest US airlines deal with flight delays and cancellations.

The airlines and the DOT worked together to help clarify just what consumers can expect from each company. Also airlines may or may not choose to go beyond what is required according to the dashboard, but it also never hurts to ask.

The dashboard provides a framework for consumers to easily compare policies. The US DOT also believes it makes it easier to hold airlines to their word on their practices.

Also see Hawaii Flight On-Time? 2023 Airline Performance Review.

All airlines flying to Hawaii are not equal in their policies, especially now.

In the event of a flight cancellation, every airline will provide you with alternate transportation on the same airline. Every airline, other than Southwest, will offer alternate transportation on another carrier with which it has an agreement. So it is still a little confusing.

While the US DOT would clearly like all of the airlines to provide compensation when a delay or cancellation results in a passenger waiting for 3 hours or more, we aren’t there quite yet.

Starting in 2024, however, Southwest Airlines passengers can receive a $75 voucher for delays. That comes as part of the government’s $140 million settlement with the airline following Southwest’s 2022 holiday meltdown that impacted Hawaii flights, too. Southwest is setting up a $90 million compensation system to benefit passengers impacted by future “controllable” flight delays and cancellations.

Alaska Airlines also stands out inasmuch as they offer both a credit/travel voucher when cancellation results in a passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time. They are also the only airline to provide frequent flyer miles with the same delay.

Southwest must offer passengers a transferable $75 voucher for future travel on Southwest when passengers arrive at their destination three plus hours beyond the scheduled arrival time.

“This industry-leading benefit will ensure that Southwest passengers impacted by any future significant disruptions will receive not only flight rebooking, hotels, and food during the delay, but also timely compensation from Southwest due to the inconvenience.”

U.S. Department of Transportation

When it comes to flight delays, again, there are significant differences in what you can expect depending on the airline on which you are flying to Hawaii.

Prior to the US DOT settlement, Alaska had been the only airline that provides both a credit/travel voucher when a flight delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time and provides frequent flyer miles when a flight delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time.

As an aside, BOH editors were on a delayed flight to Hawaii last week.

On the flight from Washington DC to Honolulu, immediately following push-back from the gate, the flight came to a screeching halt. It was nearly an hour later that the captain came on to announce that they were still “working the checklists,” not exactly the words airline passengers hope to hear, and even more so during the holidays.

That meant that they are going through a series of predefined resources that are part of standard operating procedures. Checklists are systematic lists of procedures and tasks that are followed before and during phases of any flight. These are designed to ensure that critical steps are not overlooked.

Ultimately the flight got away without returning to the gate, and the captain never did say what the problem was that caused the apparent mechanical delay. But through our minds and on our phones went the thoughts about what if this flight can’t go. It was mid-day, a few days before Christmas, and there might not have been alternative flight arrangements for quickly returning to Hawaii.

What are your rights when Hawaii flight delay/cancellation troubles do occur?

When the inconvenience of getting stuck en route to or from Hawaii hits, it gets complicated and costly. Will the airline help cover your out-of-pocket expenses during a disruption, or not?

When the problem is something the airline and DOT can construe to be the airline’s responsibility, be that maintenance, crew timeout, etc., then the odds of getting some expense reimbursement improve dramatically.

If, on the other hand, it’s an act deemed to be outside the company’s control, including weather issues and air traffic control, for example, passengers can expect to find there is less accommodation for either flight delays or cancellations.

When three Hawaii flights to/from San Diego, all experienced flight diversions crossing the Pacific. What causes these flight diversions?

1. Alaska Airlines controllable delay and cancellation policies.

Controllable cancellation commitments:

  • Alaska commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost
  • Alaska commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost
  • Alaska commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for new flight
  • Alaska commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • Alaska commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • Alaska does not commit to Cash compensation when a cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Alaska commits to Credit/travel voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Alaska provides frequent flyer miles when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time.

Controllable delay commitments.

  • Alaska commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays
  • Alaska commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost for significant delays
  • Alaska commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting 3 hours or more
  • Alaska commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Alaska commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Alaska does not provide cash compensation when a delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Alaska commits to Credit/travel voucher when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Alaska provides frequent flyer miles when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
Woman Gets Prison + $39K Fine Interfering With Hawaii Flight CrewWoman Gets Prison + $39K Fine Interfering With Hawaii Flight Crew

2. American Airlines controllable delay and cancellation policies.

Controllable delay commitments:

  • American commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays
  • American commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost for significant delays
  • American commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting 3 hours or more
  • American commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • American commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • American does not commit to Cash compensation when a delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • American does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • American does not provide frequent flyer miles when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time

Controllable cancellation commitments:

  • American commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost
  • American commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost
  • American commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for new flight
  • American commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • American commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • American does not commit to Cash compensation when a cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • American does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • American does not provide frequent flyer miles when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
Botched Service: Delta Airlines A321neo To HawaiiBotched Service: Delta Airlines A321neo To Hawaii

3. Delta Air Lines controllable delay and cancellation policies.

Controllable delay commitments:

  • Delta commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays
  • Delta commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost for significant delays
  • Delta commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting 3 hours or more
  • Delta commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Delta commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Delta does not commit to Cash compensation when a delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Delta does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time no
  • Delta does not provide frequent flyer miles when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time

Controllable cancellation commitments:

  • Delta commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost
  • Delta commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost
  • Delta commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for new flight
  • Delta commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • Delta commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • Delta does not commit to Cash compensation when a cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Delta does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Delta does not provide frequent flyer miles when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
Hawaiian Airlines Cancels Many Flights AbruptlyHawaiian Airlines Cancels Many Flights Abruptly

4. Hawaiian Airlines controllable delay and cancellation policies.

Controllable delay commitments:

  • Hawaiian commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays
  • Hawaiian does not commit to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost for significant delays
  • Hawaiian commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting 3 hours or more
  • Hawaiian commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Hawaiian commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Hawaiian does not commit to Cash compensation when a delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Hawaiian does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Hawaiian does not provide frequent flyer miles when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time

Controllable cancellation commitments:

  • Hawaiian commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost
  • Hawaiian commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost
  • Hawaiian commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for new flight
  • Hawaiian commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • Hawaiian commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • Hawaiian does not commit to Cash compensation when a cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Hawaiian does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Hawaiian does not provide frequent flyer miles when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
Telltale $99 Southwest Hawaii Sale | Summer and FallTelltale $99 Southwest Hawaii Sale | Summer and Fall

5. Southwest Airlines controllable delay and cancellation policies.

Controllable delay commitments:

  • Southwest commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays
  • Southwest does not commit to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost for significant delays
  • Southwest commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting 3 hours or more
  • Southwest commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Southwest commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • Southwest does not commit to Cash compensation when a delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Southwest does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Southwest does not provide frequent flyer miles when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time

Controllable cancellation commitments:

  • Southwest commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost
  • Southwest does not commit to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost
  • Southwest commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for new flight
  • Southwest commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • Southwest commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • Southwest does not commit to Cash compensation when a cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Southwest does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • Southwest does not provide frequent flyer miles when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time

6. United Airlines controllable delay and cancellation policies.

Controllable delay commitments:

  • United commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost for significant delays
  • United commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost for significant delays
  • United commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when flight delay results in passenger waiting 3 hours or more
  • United commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • United commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight delay
  • United does not commit to Cash compensation when a delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • United does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • United does not provide frequent flyer miles when delay results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time

Controllable cancellation commitments:

  • United commits to Rebook passenger on same airline at no additional cost
  • United commits to Rebook on partner airline or another airline with which it has an agreement at no additional cost
  • United commits to Meal or meal cash/voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more for new flight
  • United commits to Complimentary hotel accommodations for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • United commits to Complimentary ground transportation to and from hotel for any passenger affected by an overnight cancellation
  • United does not commit to Cash compensation when a cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • United does not commit to Credit/travel voucher when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time
  • United does does not provide frequent flyer miles when cancellation results in passenger waiting for 3 hours or more from the scheduled departure time

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