Hawaiian Airlines' In-flight Video Teaches Tourists To Travel Respectfully

By Bill Galluccio

September 15, 2021

Hawaiian Airlines unveiled a new in-flight video that focuses on  teaching tourists how to treat the islands with respect  during their vacation. Since July, Hawaii has been inundated with travelers when the state lifted some of its COVID restrictions, allowing vaccinated travelers to visit.

The surge in tourists has  caused conflicts with some of the locals  and led to calls for people to stay away.

"It's not a good time to travel to the islands. Restaurant capacity has been restricted. There is limited access to rental cars … and we know that the visitors who choose to come to the islands will not have the typical kind of holiday that they expect to get when they visit Hawaii,"  Governor David Ige said in August .

Hawaiian Airlines hopes its new video, titled  Travel Pono , will help tourists understand their role in protecting the state's natural beauty.

"Travel Pono means to explore with care, offering your kōkua (help) to preserve our natural resources, cultures, and communities. It's recognizing your responsibility while gaining a deeper connection to Hawaii," the airline said.

The five-minute video features Hawaiin Airlines employees providing travelers information about the conservation of endangered species, local cultural and community practices, hiking and ocean safety, and how to protect the local environment.

"We've served as Hawai'i's hometown carrier for over nine decades, and as residents of this special place, we are proud to welcome our guests with valuable information that will enrich their experience on the islands while helping protect Hawai'i's natural resources and our way of life,"  said  Avi Mannis , senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines . "Over the last month, we have heard from our community and employees calling for a video like this, and we listened."

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Hawaiian Airlines Is Encouraging Responsible Travel to the Islands With New In-flight Video

Learn to "Travel Pono" before landing.

hawaiian airlines tourism video

Hawaiian Airlines is encouraging people to travel responsibly in Hawaii in a new video the carrier will play before landing in the island paradise.

The video , which runs for five minutes, asks visitors to "Travel Pono," or "explore with care" as they land on one of the state's islands, the airline shared with Travel + Leisure . The message is woven in with gorgeous views of the mountains, deep blue water, and amazing wildlife that make Hawaii such a unique and special destination.

In the video, Hawaiian Airlines crew members, including a pilot and flight attendant, share ways to tread lightly on the islands, offering tips like carrying your own trash, keeping your distance from wildlife (ignoring this one can lead to hefty fines ), and using a reef-safe sunscreen .

"We've served as Hawai'i's hometown carrier for over nine decades, and as residents of this special place, we are proud to welcome our guests with valuable information that will enrich their experience on the islands while helping protect Hawai'i's natural resources and our way of life," Avi Mannis, the senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines, said in a statement shared with T+L. "Over the last month we have heard from our community and employees calling for a video like this, and we listened."

The video will be shown on the in-flight entertainment system of the airline's Airbus A330 and on the wireless streaming function for personal devices on its Airbus A321neo.

The message comes as Hawaii has begun implementing restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. On Monday, Oahu started requiring people to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter restaurants, bars, museums, and other indoor establishments, according to the Safe Access O'ahu site . On Wednesday, a similar measure will go into effect on Maui.

Additionally, Hawaii has placed capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gatherings, and Gov. David Ige has asked travelers to "restrict and curtail travel " to the islands amid a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram .

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Hawaiian Airlines’ New In-flight Video Focuses on Traveling Responsibly

Hawaiian Airlines is debuting a new in-flight video to further its commitment to educate guests arriving in Hawai‘i on how to safely and responsibly enjoy the islands. The five-minute Travel Pono spot, which begins airing next week in the cabins of Hawaiian’s transpacific aircraft, features five Hawaiian Airlines crewmembers – including a firefighter, volunteers for search and rescue operations and marine mammal protection, and a cultural practitioner – who share expert advice on ocean and hiking safety, conservation of endangered species and the environment, and cultural and community best practices. 

“We’ve served as Hawai‘i’s hometown carrier for over nine decades, and as residents of this special place, we are proud to welcome our guests with valuable information that will enrich their experience on the islands while helping protect Hawai’i’s natural resources and our way of life,” said Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines. “Over the last month we have heard from our community and employees calling for a video like this, and we listened.”

The Travel Pono video will show prior to landing on the in-flight entertainment system of Hawaiian’s wide-body Airbus A330 and via the wireless streaming function for personal devices on the narrow-body Airbus A321neo.

“We all have a shared responsibility to mālama (to care for) our guests, and in return, we ask that they care for us and our home,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “We thank Hawaiian Airlines for taking a leadership role in educating visitors about how to respect and nurture our people and place, for the well-being of our communities throughout the state.”

The in-flight spot is an extension of Hawaiian’s Travel Pono program, which the carrier introduced last fall to encourage responsible tourism as Hawai‘i welcomed back visitors through its Safe Travels program. The program has since equipped thousands of guests with tips on how to experience Hawai’i safely and respectfully, shared via Hawaiian’s pre-trip emails, website, Manaʻo blog, and social media channels.

In addition to the new Travel Pono video, Hawaiian’s guests will continue to have access to a library of informative content, produced by the carrier’s local partners and ranging from ocean safety to cultural education. In April 2019, Hawaiian partnered with the state of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources on educational public service announcements focused on caring for the islands’ natural resources, and this month added videos created by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority for its Mālama Hawaiʻi campaign.

In July 2021, the carrier released its Corporate Kuleana Report, which details the carrier’s progress on Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives during the most challenging period in its 92-year history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hawaiian Airlines releases video on how to travel to Hawaii responsibly amid tourists surge

hawaiian airlines tourism video

Amid the calls from state officials for tourism to slow down in Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines released a new video informing those traveling to the islands on how they can respect the sacred land, culture and community when visiting. 

In the video, five crewmembers talk about the airline's goal to Travel Pono, meaning to explore the Hawaiian islands with care. The workers said visitors need to express kōkua, or your help, in protecting the sacred ecosystem, from aina (land) to kai (sea). The group also asks that visitors learn and understand Hawaiian culture while treating the natives with respect. 

The video, released on Monday, will air in the cabins of all Hawaii-bound planes starting next week, according to the airline.

Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines, said in a statement the airline wanted to give tourists valuable information that betters their experience while protecting Hawaii.

 "Over the last month we have heard from our community and employees calling for a video like this, and we listened," Mannis said.

The video comes as Hawaii has had an incredible surge of tourists, so much so that Gov. David Ige said in August , "It's not a good time to travel to the islands," as the state dealt with rising COVID-19 cases.

The high amount of tourists has resulted in tension among natives , who say visitors have been disrespectful and have expressed anger toward them.

There have also been instances of visitors disrespecting the island . Hawaii News Now reported that numerous historical landmarks have been flooded with tourists. 

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"We all have a shared responsibility to mālama (to care for) our guests, and in return, we ask that they care for us and our home,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority.

In July, Hawaii began to allow travelers to bypass the state's quarantine protocols with proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Yet, people have attempted to enter the islands by providing fake proofs of vaccination . 

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter:  @jordan_mendoza5 .

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Hawaiian Airlines Shares a “Travel Pono” Video

Hawaiian Airlines recently released a new video which will play onboard their aircraft beginning in September 2021. The “Travel Pono” video features Hawaiian Airlines employees who provide tips on how to visit Hawaii in a safe and respectful way. 

Hawaiian Airlines explains that “Travel Pono means to explore with care, offering your kōkua (help) to preserve our natural resources, cultures and communities. It’s recognizing your responsibility while gaining a deeper connection to Hawaii.”

In a post announcing the video, Hawaiian Airlines shared, “Our commitment to protecting Hawaii’s environment, culture and community remains steadfast. We have heard our community and employee’s voices and are happy to share our new in-flight Travel Pono video. We are proud to serve as Hawaii’s hometown carrier and hope that this video will welcome our guests with valuable information that will enrich their experience on our Islands while helping to protect its natural resources and way of life. “

You can view the “Travel Pono” video below. 

For additional tips on how to be a safe and respectful visitor to Hawaii, read through the Tips from Aunty Lani on the Travel with Aloha page of our website.

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Hawaiian Welcomes Guests to Travel Responsibly with New In-flight Video

hawaiian airlines tourism video

Hawaiian Airlines is furthering its commitment to educate guests arriving in Hawai’i on how to safely and responsibly enjoy the islands by debuting a new in-flight video. The  five-minute Travel Pono spot , which begins airing next week in the cabins of Hawaiian’s transpacific aircraft, features five Hawaiian Airlines crewmembers – including a firefighter, volunteers for search and rescue operations and marine mammal protection, and a cultural practitioner – who share expert advice on ocean and hiking safety, conservation of endangered species and the environment, and cultural and community best practices. 

“We’ve served as Hawai’i’s hometown carrier for over nine decades, and as residents of this special place, we are proud to welcome our guests with valuable information that will enrich their experience on the islands while helping protect Hawai’i’s natural resources and our way of life,” said Avi Mannis, senior vice president of marketing at Hawaiian Airlines. “Over the last month we have heard from our community and employees calling for a video like this, and we listened.”

The Travel Pono video will show prior to landing on the in-flight entertainment system of Hawaiian’s wide-body Airbus A330 and via the wireless streaming function for personal devices on the narrow-body Airbus A321neo. 

“We all have a shared responsibility to mālama (to care for) our guests, and in return, we ask that they care for us and our home,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the Hawai’i Tourism Authority. “We thank Hawaiian Airlines for taking a leadership role in educating visitors about how to respect and nurture our people and place, for the well-being of our communities throughout the state.”

The in-flight spot is an extension of Hawaiian’s Travel Pono program, which the carrier introduced last fall to encourage responsible tourism as Hawai’i welcomed back visitors through its Safe Travels program. The program has since equipped thousands of guests with tips on how to experience Hawai’i safely and respectfully, shared via Hawaiian’s pre-trip emails,  website ,  Manaʻo blog , and social media channels.

In addition to the new Travel Pono video, Hawaiian’s guests will continue to have access to a library of informative content, produced by the carrier’s local partners and ranging from ocean safety to cultural education. In April 2019, Hawaiian partnered with the state of Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources on educational public service announcements focused on caring for the islands’ natural resources, and this month added videos created by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority for its  popular Mālama Hawaiʻi campaign .

Hawaiian Airlines’ commitment to protecting Hawaiʻi’s environment, culture and community remains steadfast. In July 2021, the carrier released its  2021 Corporate Kuleana Report , which details the carrier’s progress on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives during the most challenging period in its 92-year history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To learn more, visit  www.HawaiianAirlines.com/TravelPono .

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Hawai‘i tourism authority educates travelers on how to visit maui with respect and compassion.

For Immediate Release: October 26, 2023 HTA Release (23-47)

23-47 HTA Educates Travelers on How to Visit Maui with Respect and Compassion.pdf

Valley Isle Voices Invite Visitors to Mālama Maui   MAUI – “Pack your patience and grace.” “Do not enter the impacted area of Lahaina Town or take photos of the area, even from afar.” “Support local businesses.” These are some of the messages continually being shared by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA), as one of the main questions being asked by visitors is how they can support the people of Maui in its recovery.   In coordination with various community members and partners, HTA is launching new videos featuring a diverse cross-section of Maui residents welcoming mindful visitation and sharing how visitors can mālama Maui. In addition, Governor Josh Green, M.D.’s Office of Wellness and Resilience, HTA and County of Maui have partnered to create informational flyers and screen signage with tips for respectful, compassionate and responsible travel to support the community’s healing. These resources are being distributed broadly to visitors, airlines, accommodations, rental car companies, shops, restaurants, tour operators and other businesses.   The County of Maui has also launched the MauiNuiFirst.com website with listings of local businesses and events that visitors can support.   “Heeding the community’s guidance, HTA and our partners are educating travelers before and after they arrive with clear-cut ways they can support Maui by visiting with respect and compassion,” said Daniel Nāho‘opi‘i, HTA’s Interim President and CEO. “We are working to ensure they understand the current situation and that their travel experience may be slightly different than what they are accustomed to.”   Nāho‘opi‘i added, “We appreciate these community members who have stepped up to share their heartfelt messages conveying appreciation for the outpouring of support being received for Maui and how responsible, intentional travel can help the island’s recovery.”   Pre-Arrival Video Messages from Maui   Geared toward visitors who are considering and planning their trips to the Hawaiian Islands, HTA and its Hawai‘i Tourism United States (HTUSA) team has produced a series of video messages centered around the voices of kupa ʻāina – the people of Maui. Their messages complement the Mālama Maui videos highlighting various ways to support the community by visiting areas throughout the island that are welcoming travel.   As of September 19, eight messages from the following Maui residents have been posted, and will continue to be posted, in the coming weeks, via HTA and @GoHawaii on Instagram and on the Global Marketing Team’s social media accounts in Canada, Oceania (Australia and Aotearoa), Japan, Korea and China with subtitles in the respective market languages.   · Tali Silifaiva, Director of Recreation, Fairmont Kea Lani (@shakaeffect @fairmontkealani) · Kumu Luana Kawaʻa (@morningmanao) · Taylor Ponte, Owner & Chef, Kamado Private Chef and Events (@taylor_ponte @kamadomaui) · Shay Smith, Founder & CEO, OCEAN Organic Farm & Distillery (@oceanvodka) · Kalei ‘Uwēko‘olani, Cultural Programming Manager Leadership Educator, Grand Wailea Maui, A Waldorf Astoria Resort & Hoʻolei Villas at Grand Wailea (@grandwailea) · Kiakona Ordonez, Flight Attendant, Videographer and Photographer, Hawaiian Airlines (@hawaiianairlines) · Wendy Tuivaioge, Director of Hawaiian Programs, Four Seasons Resort Maui (@fsmaui) · Kumu Hula Cody Pueo Pata (@kumupu)   Post-Arrival Mālama Maui Video   As visitors arrive, a distinguished cross-section of Maui kama‘āina (residents) and kānaka maoli (Native Hawaiians) are sharing ways they can care for the Valley Isle in a newly released Mālama Maui video. Featuring the following Maui voices, the video is being targeted to visitors on-island via @GoHawaii and shared by HTA, Kilohana by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement and HTA’s Global Marketing Team. Three shorter videos will be released in the coming weeks.   · Makalapua Kanuha, Director of Culture, The Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows (@makalapuakanuha) · Kau‘i Kanaka‘ole, Kumu Hula/Executive Director of Ala Kukui (@kkanakaole) · Kimi Werner, Free Diver/Champion Spear Fisher (@kimi_swimmy) · Amy Hānaiali‘i, Singer/Songwriter (@hanaialii) · Kai Lenny, Professional Waterman (@kai_lenny) · Chef Sheldon Simeon, Chef/Owner Tin Roof Restaurant & Tiffany’s Maui (@chefwonder) · Brit Alejo-Fishell, Owner Haku Maui (@hakumaui)   Royal Lahaina Resort & Bungalows Cultural Director Makalapua Kanuha lost her home in the August 8 wildfires, and like others from Lahaina, she is sheltering at a hotel in Kā‘anapali. Kanuha still encourages all to visit Maui to support local businesses in order to avoid an economic disaster on the Valley Isle.   “It is so important to support our local businesses,” said Kanuha. “They are a part of our community. They are a part of Maui […] and they in turn support the livelihood of our people so it’s very important that we support our small businesses, the mom and pop shops, and that helps to support our families in Lahaina as well.”   The video was produced by HTA and its Kilohana by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement team with the collaboration of Alaska Airlines, HAWAI‘I Magazine, Hawaiian Airlines, Mana Up, and Maui Divers Jewelry. Maui creatives were also employed to help produce the video, including cinematographers Chris Cabotage and Ryota Komai, and musician/producer Matt Kuali‘i who composed the Hawaiian soundtrack.   Compassionate Travel Flyers and Graphics   The Govenor’s Office of Wellness and Resilience, HTA and the County of Maui have partnered and produced informational flyers and graphics for display screens geared toward visitors with the following tips for respectful, compassionate and responsible travel. This inter-agency collaboration follows the leadership and guidance of Governor Green and Mayor Bissen who continue to emphasize mental health support for Maui disaster survivors.


The travel tips include:   · Make sure you’ve packed two things on a trip: patience and grace. Expect to wait for longer than you’re used to for food or other services. · Support local businesses. Your visit will support Maui businesses that rely on tourism for their families’ livelihood. Visit MauiNuiFirst.com for various ways to eat, shop, play, stay and support local. · Hosting uninvited volunteers in direct recovery work may be difficult at this time. Visit MauiNuiStrong.info for efforts welcoming volunteers and contributions. · Do not enter Lahaina Town or take photos of the area, even from afar. The area is restricted because conditions can be hazardous to your health. Respect the privacy of survivors and the dignity of those who lost their lives. · Do not ask about a resident’s personal experience with the disaster. While a question such as “Were you impacted by the fire?” may be intended to be supportive, many survivors are not ready to share their experiences with others. · If you come across a memorial service or other private gathering, leave the area immediately. Respect the gathered survivors and residents — do not take photos or videos.   Visit HTA’s Mālama Maui toolkit to view and download these resources, including an updated map of Maui at: www.hawaiitourismauthority.org/maui-recovery/for-businesses/ . The toolkit is available for community members, industry partners and businesses to utilize and amplify the resources broadly.

Media Contacts:

T. Ilihia Gionson Public Affairs Officer Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (808) 973-2255 (o) [email protected]

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Alaska Airlines has formed a Hawai‘i Community Advisory Board to help shepherd its merger with Hawaiian Airlines. A Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A-330 and an A321 Neo, right, are seen at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Alaska Airlines announced Monday that it has established a Hawai‘i Community Advisory Board, or HICAB, to honor the legacy and significance of the Hawaiian Airlines brand as the airlines work toward combining as well as to reinforce Alaska Airlines’ expanded role in Hawaii.

Daniel Chun, Alaska Airlines regional vice president, Hawaii, said in a statement, “The HICAB will be instrumental in shaping the future of Alaska Airlines in Hawaii. Their insights into our local community’s needs and preferences will guide our decision-making, ensuring that our services and initiatives not only resonate with Hawaii residents, but also foster sustainable growth.”

Alaska Airlines has had 16 years in Hawaii; however, it’s poised to take on a bigger role with the pending acquisition of Hawaiian Airlines, a $1.9 billion deal that was announced Dec. 3. Closure of the deal would make Hawaii the second-largest hub in the Alaska system, behind Seattle.

Peter Ingram, Hawaiian Airlines’ president and CEO, and Alaska Airlines CEO Ben Minicucci told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an earlier interview that the deal maintains both brands. They said it also will continue to respect the culture, reputation and community of Hawaiian Airlines, which was founded by veteran Navy pilot Stanley Carmichael Kennedy Sr. on Nov. 11, 1929, under the earlier Inter-Island Airways Ltd. name.

To move forward, the Department of Justice must approve the merger, which will be scrutinized to ensure that it does not violate antitrust laws or regulations. There is not a set timeline for the DOJ’s review or, if approved, for merging operations; however, the process is expected to take 12 to 18 months.

HICAB, which is built on a model that Alaska Airlines has used to support Alaska communities over the past four decades, is a diverse 16-member board made up of representatives from nonprofits, education, health care, business, tourism and agriculture. Intended as a corporate and community sounding board, members will provide Alaska Airlines with feedback and recommendations on its business approaches and initiatives, local current events and community investment needs.

Inaugural HICAB members include Paula Akana, president and CEO, The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace; Na‘alehu Anthony, founder, Paliku Documentary Films; Todd Apo, vice president, community partnerships and public affairs, Hawai‘i Community Foundation; Rosie Davis, executive director, Huli Au Ola, Maui County Area Health Education Center; Stephanie Donoho, administrative director, Kohala Coast Resort Association; Art Gladstone, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, Hawai‘i Pacific Health; Hokulani Holt, director of Kahokuala, Hawaiian Cultural Arts Institute, University of Hawaii Maui College; Stephanie Iona, community outreach manager, Kekaha Agriculture Association; Meli James, Mana Up co-founder; Valerie Janikowski, program administrator, Lana‘i Kina‘ole; Kuhio Lewis, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement CEO; Colbert Matsumoto, Tradewind Group chair; Ben Rafter, Springboard Hospitality president and CEO; Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat, Honua Consulting president; Jayson Watts, director of environmental health and safety, Mahi Pono; and Kuha‘o Zane, Sig Zane Designs &SigZaneKaiao COO and creative director.

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New Flight Routes Taking off in 2024

Posted: January 2, 2024 | Last updated: January 2, 2024

The new year is upon us and that means air travelers can look forward to a plethora of new flight options, both domestic and international.<br><br>While the hectic holiday travel season may be winding down, major carriers continue to expand their networks amid <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines-airports/demand-for-international-travel-propels-us-travel-agencies-november-air-ticket-sales" title="surging demand for travel">surging demand for travel</a>. <br><br>Here are some of the new routes taking flight this year.

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In order to stay competitive with the larger airlines, Alaska Airlines has expanded. <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines-airports/alaska-airlines-launching-new-coast-to-coast-nonstop-routes">Alaska will add more coast-to-coast flights in the coming months</a>.

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American Airlines is anticipating a <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines-airports/american-airlines-expands-route-network-and-eyes-record-breaking-summer-schedule-from-dallas-texas" title="busy year at its hub">busy year at its hub </a>in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. For summer 2024, the carrier will offer more seats departing DFW than ever before in its history with more than 850 daily departures. New destinations launching from DFW will include Albany, New York; Redmond, Oregon; Barcelona, Spain and Tulum, Mexico.<br><br>Other notable new destinations available on American this year include Copenhagen, Denmark; Naples, Italy; Nice, France; Tijuana, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Governor's Harbour, Bahamas; Pasco, Washington and Hyannis, Massachusetts.

American Airlines planes lined up at their gates.

Air travel can present many challenges in 2023, one of the biggest which can be reaching your destination on time. With airlines facing pilot and staffing shortages amid soaring demand for travel, there's always the potential for your flight to be delayed even when weather isn't a factor. Nonetheless, some carriers are navigating the current climate better than others as evidenced by Cirium aviation analytics' <a href="https://www.cirium.com/thoughtcloud/cirium-monthly-on-time-performance-report-2023/" title="monthly on-time performance report">monthly on-time performance report</a> for September 2023.<br><br>Cirium defines on-time performance as an aircraft arrival at the gate under 15 minutes of the scheduled arrival time. With that in mind, here's a look at the airlines around the world excelling in terms of punctuality this fall.

Delta Air Lines plane.

Frontier Airlines recently announced expanded operations across 10 key markets in spring 2024. Expanded service starting as early as March 7 includes flights between Tampa and Hartford, Connecticut; Cleveland and Montego Bay, Jamaica; Dallas and Jacksonville, Florida and Pittsburgh and Atlanta.

Frontier aircraft

Hawaiian Airlines continues to be one of the most reliable U.S. carriers, ranking fourth when it comes to the rate of cancelations, delays, mishandled luggage and denied boardings. The airline also ranks fifth in terms of affordability at 11.89 cents per mile.

Hawaiian Airlines plane landing at Los Angeles International Airport

JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines-airports/jetblue-ceo-talks-spirit-merger-summer-travel-and-more">gave a wide-ranging interview</a> in which he spoke about the dissolution of the Northeast Alliance with American Airlines, the upcoming trial against the DOJ over the Spirit Airlines merger, and more.

JetBlue aircraft taking off

Southwest Airlines <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines-airports/southwest-airlines-will-reportedly-make-a-change-to-boarding-process">makes a change to its boarding process</a>. But the catch is, it may cost some passengers more money.

Southwest Boeing 737-800 airplane at Dallas Love Field

Ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines will also launch new service to Tulum, Mexico in 2024, debuting nonstop service to Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida on March 28.

Spirit Airlines aircraft

Facing a strike in <a href="https://www.travelpulse.com/news/airlines-airports/united-airlines-to-offer-pilots-new-deal-worth-over-8-billion">what</a> is supposed to be one of the busiest summers in years, United Airlines was the first to crack. United offered its pilots a deal worth more than $8 billion.

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The best and worst airlines in the US for 2023, according to the WSJ

  • The Wall Street Journal published its annual list of the best and worst US carriers.
  • Delta Air Lines took the crown for 2023 in its third consecutive win, followed by Alaska Airlines.
  • JetBlue Airways came in dead last, faltering in metrics like on-time performance and extreme delays.

Insider Today

The Wall Street Journal published its annual list of the best and worst carriers in the US for 2023, and Delta Air Lines once again took the crown for the top airline.

Delta ranked first in three of the seven evaluated metrics — on-time performance, complaints, and involuntary bumping (the latter tied with Allegiant Air).

The WSJ compiled data from aviation company Anuvu and the Department of Transportation.

In the WSJ ranking, Delta did not place lower than fifth in any of the other four categories, including flight cancellations, extreme delays greater than 45 minutes, baggage handling, and tarmac delays of at least two hours.

The carrier's on-time performance, which means arriving within 15 minutes of scheduled arrival, was 83% in 2023, the WSJ reported.

Meanwhile, the airline's low involuntary bump rate comes as no surprise, given its reputation for offering passengers thousands to give up their seats on an oversold flight.

Right on Delta's heels was its West Coast rival Alaska Airlines, which also ranked second in 2022 and 2021 and was the only other carrier to achieve a punctuality rating of at least 80%, according to the Journal. And it beat out Delta for cancelations and extreme delays.

However, the Seattle-based airline faltered in baggage handling, ranking seventh out of nine carriers — United Airlines being eighth, and American Airlines coming in dead last.

An Alaska spokesperson told the Journal that the carrier is implementing new tools and technology to improve this metric: "We are committed to improving our baggage performance and raising it to the level of reliability we offer in every other category of our operation," he said.

The Journal noted that the rankings do not include any impact from the aftermath of the Alaska 737 Max 9 door plug blowout that occurred in early January.

Gaining ground in 2023 was ultra-low-cost carrier Allegiant, which jumped from fifth to third last year. The airline won points for its low rate of flight cancellations, tarmac delays, mishandled baggage, and involuntarily bumping zero people.

Allegiant overtook Southwest Airlines, which ranked lower this year after its infamous winter meltdown in late 2022 and early 2023 caused passenger complaints and baggage mishaps to skyrocket. The Journal noted, however, that the issues did not cause Southwest to take a huge tumble, only falling one spot into fourth.

"We took lessons from the end of 2022 and made sure that 2023 was a year of progress," Southwest COO Andrew Watterson told the Journal.

American and United sat in the middle of the group, mostly losing points for cancelations, tarmac delays, and baggage mishaps. Spirit Airlines performed worse, ranking fifth or lower in every metric.

But at the bottom of the pack was once again JetBlue Airways. The airline has fallen behind low-cost competitors Frontier Airlines and Spirit for a third time since 2021, scoring last in baggage handling, punctuality, tarmac delays, extreme delays, and flight cancelations.

Its on-time performance was just 66.4%, according to the Journal, which is below the 77.6% industry average. This means a third of its 2023 flights arrived more than 15 minutes late — something the airline has attributed to staffing shortages, severe weather, and congested skies in and around New York City.

A Jetblue spokesperson told the Journal that a slot waiver at NYC airports, as well as adding more wiggle room between flights and investing in new technology to handle disruptions, will help the airline better control its operational performance.

"We have the highest level of exposure to New York of any airline, and that continues to make an apples-to-apples comparison with other carriers difficult," the spokesperson told the Journal.

Other last-place finishers were Frontier for customer complaints and involuntary bumping, and American for baggage handling, the WSJ data shows. Frontier still took seventh overall, beating JetBlue.

(The WSJ said it omitted Hawaiian Airlines from the rankings due to its regional focus.)

Here's a closer look at the best and worst airlines in the US for 2023 — and how they ranked in each category in the WSJ rankings :

9. JetBlue Airways

2022 Rank: 9

Coming in last for a third year in a row, JetBlue ranked ninth for on-time performance, cancelations, extreme delays, and tarmac delays.

The carrier came in sixth for mishandled baggage and complaints, and fourth for involuntary bumping.

8. Frontier Airlines

2022 Rank: 8

Frontier was the second-worst airline last year and ranked last for involuntary bumping and complaints.

The airline came in eighth for on-time arrivals and extreme delays, seventh for cancelations, sixth for tarmac delays, and third for mishandled bags.

7. Spirit Airlines

2022 Rank: 7

Spirit maintained its seventh-place spot for 2023 and did not rank last in any metric.

However, it came in eighth for complaints, seventh for on-time performance, involuntary bumping, and extreme delays, sixth for canceled flights, and fifth for tarmac delays and mishandled bags.

6. United Airlines

2022 Rank: 4

United took a tumble in 2023, falling two spots mostly due to its eighth-place finishes for cancelations, tarmac delays, and mishandled bags.

Meanwhile, it ranked fifth for extreme delays, fourth for punctuality and complaints, and third for involuntary bumping.

5. American Airlines

2022 Rank: 6

Sitting right in the middle of the pack was American, with its ninth-place rank for baggage handling weighing it down.

The airline came in eighth for bumping, seventh for tarmac delays, fourth for flight cancelations and extreme delays, and third for on-time arrivals and complaints.

4. Southwest Airlines

2022 Rank: 3

Despite its chaotic winter meltdown, Southwest came in first for tarmac delays, second for baggage handling, and third for cancelations and delays.

The airline faltered with complaints and involuntary bumping, coming in seventh and sixth, respectively. Southwest was fifth for on-time performance.

3. Allegiant Air

2022 Rank: 5

Allegiant moved to the front of the group in 2023, taking first for involuntary bumping and mishandled baggage.

Meanwhile, it was second for flight cancelations and tarmac delays, though it came fifth for complaints and sixth for on-time arrivals and extreme delays.

2. Alaska Airlines

2022 Rank: 2

Falling short of the first-place spot once again was Alaska, though it won in the flight cancelations and extreme delays categories.

Second-place finishes were for on-time arrivals and complaints. The airline came in third for tarmac delays, fifth for bumping, and seventh for baggage mishandling.

1. Delta Air Lines

2022 Rank: 1

Delta is the best airline in the US for 2023, according to The Wall Street Journal's ranking. It came in first for on-time performance, bumping, and complaints.

It was second for extreme delays, fourth for tarmac delays and mishandled baggage, and fifth for flight cancelations — its lowest finish overall.

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Why the JetBlue-Spirit antitrust ruling doesn't spell doom for an Alaska-Hawaiian merger

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  • President Joe Biden's Justice Department has successfully halted one airline partnership and another planned merger.
  • The decisions sparked questions of whether Alaska Airlines' proposed merger with Hawaiian would suffer a similar fate in a likely antitrust lawsuit.
  • Analysts and legal experts say the pitfalls that brought down the Spirit-JetBlue deal may offer clues into how Alaska and Hawaiian could pass muster with regulators, or in court.

In this article

President Joe Biden 's Justice Department has successfully had two airline linkups halted in court in recent months. That doesn't necessarily spell doom for Alaska Air's plan to buy Hawaiian Airlines .

U.S. District Court Judge William Young on Tuesday sided with the Justice Department and blocked JetBlue Airways ' $3.8 billion attempted takeover of Spirit Airlines , saying that the elimination of the budget carrier known for rock-bottom fares would "harm cost-conscious travelers" who rely on those cheap tickets.

The decision immediately sparked questions of whether an Alaska-Hawaiian combination would suffer a similar fate in an antitrust lawsuit. Shares of Hawaiian plunged in the minutes after the ruling was handed down, though they ultimately recovered.

"We'd be lying to ourselves if we thought the probability of a successful merger had not been lowered following [Tuesday's] ruling," Deutsche Bank airline analyst Michael Linenberg wrote in a note Wednesday.

Yet the pitfalls that brought down the Spirit-JetBlue deal may offer clues into how Alaska and Hawaiian could pass muster with regulators, or in court. The Justice Department didn't immediately respond to a request for comment about whether it plans to challenge Alaska and Hawaiian's proposed deal.

"The court in the JetBlue case was plainly concerned that this merger was eliminating a low-price carrier," said Herbert Hovenkamp, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Carey Law School and a specialist in antitrust law.

"What that says about Alaska-Hawaii, their advisors [and] lawyers are going to have to make sure that they can avoid those problems," he said.

JetBlue and Spirit jointly said they disagreed with the decision and were considering next legal steps, which could include an appeal.

Read more CNBC airline news

  • United CEO casts doubt on 737 Max 10 order after Boeing's recent problems
  • United Airlines forecasts first-quarter loss due to Boeing 737 Max 9 grounding
  • JetBlue-Spirit antitrust ruling doesn't spell doom for Alaska-Hawaiian merger

Different kind of deal

Alaska and Hawaiian executives have expressed confidence in their nearly $2 billion deal, which includes Hawaiian's debt.

"The decision involving other airlines does not impact our plans to combine with Hawaiian Airlines," an Alaska Airlines spokeswoman said in a statement Thursday. "Our deal combines two airlines with complementary networks and we believe the transaction will enhance competition and expand choice for consumers."

A Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson said the carrier believes the combination with Alaska "offers compelling benefits to our employees, guests, communities and all stakeholders," but declined to comment on the JetBlue deal.

Alaska agreed in December to purchase Hawaiian, which was reeling from a sharp drop in bookings in the wake of the Maui wildfires, increased competition in its home market from Southwest and a slow recovery in Asia travel.

JetBlue contended it needed to buy Spirit to better compete with the largest airlines, which control about 80% of domestic capacity, a dynamic that resulted from years of megamergers .

In the case of JetBlue and Spirit, Young took issue with scores of overlapping routes. The carriers had offered divestitures to solidify the deal, but to no avail.

While Alaska and Hawaiian's combination  won't be a breeze  with regulators, the two deals are quite different.

Alaska and Hawaiian said in an investor presentation last month that they would have less than 3% overlap in their combined networks, which would include more than 1,300 daily flights.

"From a competitive standpoint, I think that lands really, really well," said Alaska CEO Ben Minicucci on a Dec. 3 call with analysts after announcing the merger.

JetBlue had planned to remodel Spirit's bright yellow and tightly packed planes to look like its own, which offer fewer seats, more legroom and other amenities.

Alaska, in contrast, has said it plans to keep the Hawaiian and Alaska brands separate. Alaska did away with the Virgin America brand after it bought that carrier in 2018.

"Not a single material point raised by the court, in our opinion, in ruling against the JBLU/SAVE merger directly applies to the Alaska deal to buy Hawaiian," JPMorgan airline analyst Jamie Baker wrote after the Tuesday ruling.

DOJ challenge

That doesn't mean the Justice Department won't launch the effort, however.

Biden's DOJ is already two for two against airline deals, after a separate U.S. District Court judge in May sided with the Justice Department to undo JetBlue's partnership with American Airlines in the U.S. Northeast, an alliance that won government approval during the final days of the Trump administration.

That agreement allowed JetBlue and American to coordinate routes and schedules in the Northeast, where they contended congested airports and airspace made it difficult to compete against bigger rivals.

The Justice Department successfully argued the partnership was anti-competitive, and the airlines last year ended the agreement, though American has announced it will appeal the decision.

Still, the department is fresh from another victory in court, which Hovenkamp said may "invigorate them to try to challenge [Alaska-Hawaiian] as well."

Minicucci said last month that the airlines expect closing the deal will take 12 to 18 months. Some analysts, however, say the Justice Department's win against JetBlue-Spirit will cast a shadow on Alaska's deal.

"The reality is, even if you think everything's going to be fine, the probability of the deal has to be lower than it was" before the JetBlue-Spirit ruling, said Conor Cunningham, an airline analyst at Melius Research.

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Boeing Faces Backlash From Airline Chiefs

The aircraft maker’s customers are going public with their frustrations, hoping their tough comments will force the company to improve quality control and engineering.

  • Share full article Share free access

The front of a grounded airplane with the words “Boeing” and “proudly all Boeing” on its side.

By Santul Nerkar and Bernhard Warner

Airline bosses have lashed out at Boeing over a streak of safety and production problems — loose bolts, a discarded wrench found under the floorboards , delayed shipments — as scrutiny over the company’s manufacturing processes intensifies.

“I am angry,” Ben Minicucci, the chief executive of Alaska Airlines, told NBC News on Tuesday after the carrier found “many” loose bolts while checking its fleet of Boeing 737 Max 9 jetliners after a door plug flew off one of the planes in midair on Jan. 5. “My demand on Boeing is, What are they going to do to improve their quality programs in-house?”

After the incident, the Federal Aviation Administration grounded around 170 Max 9 jets until they are inspected and said it would investigate whether Boeing failed to ensure that the plane was safe .

Scott Kirby, the United Airlines chief executive, told CNBC on Tuesday that the Max 9 grounding was “probably the straw that broke the camel’s back for us.” He also criticized production delays of another Boeing aircraft the airline had ordered, the Max 10, saying he doubted the planes would be delivered anytime soon.

“We’re going to at least build a plan that doesn’t have the Max 10 in it,” Mr. Kirby said.

It’s an uncommon escalation: Airlines and their manufacturers typically enjoy a symbiotic relationship, with carriers often competing with one another to place orders for new jets, which can have yearslong wait lists. Along with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, Boeing makes the majority of the world’s commercial jets, limiting options for airlines that are seeking new planes.

“Boeing’s maintenance and production faults over the last few months are unprecedented, so it’s not surprising that airlines are beyond frustrated and taking unprecedented behavior themselves,” said Xavier Smith, director of energy and industrials research at AlphaSense.

But at this point, criticizing Boeing may be the most that the chief executives can do to vent their frustration without stoking panic about plane safety.

Jonnathan Handshoe, an airline analyst for CFRA Research, said the public admonishments amounted to reassuring passengers that the airlines were concerned about safety while impressing upon Boeing the severity of the crisis.

“It’s more like: ‘Hey, we’re calling you out. This is an issue. It needs to be fixed because there are clearly quality control issues,’” Mr. Handshoe said.

Stan Deal, chief executive of Boeing’s commercial plane unit, said in a statement on Tuesday that the company had “let down our airline customers” and was “deeply sorry for the significant disruption to them, their employees and their passengers.”

Mr. Handshoe said the airlines could theoretically void large orders of new Boeing planes — United placed an order of 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in October and a year earlier said it planned to buy 100 by 2032 — but given existing headwinds and market constraints, they were unlikely to do so.

United, like other airlines, is trying to upgrade its fleet to more fuel-efficient planes. Since the F.A.A. ordered the grounding of the Max 9, airlines have been forced to use older, less fuel-efficient planes. That has increased their fuel costs, Mr. Handshoe said, even as the cost of jet fuel has abated in recent months.

Another issue is that the F.A.A.’s order has reduced the airlines’ fleets at a time when they are trying to expand. The diminished capacity has raised costs, which have been passed down to consumers.

The constraints are heightened for a company like Alaska Airlines, which has a smaller fleet, one that it has sought to expand with a proposed $1.9 billion purchase of Hawaiian Airlines.

Since the Jan. 5 incident, Boeing’s stock has fallen more than 13 percent, while Alaska’s has fallen 5 percent.

Some airline executives have avoided criticizing Boeing, even going so far as to express confidence in the manufacturer.

“Boeing is so pivotal to our industry,” Delta Air Lines’ chief executive, Ed Bastian, said during a Jan. 12 appearance on CNBC. “It’s pivotal to our economy, and they will figure this thing out,” Delta, he noted, flies neither the Max nor the 787.

Dave Calhoun, who became Boeing’s chief executive to right the company after fatal Max crashes in 2018 and 2019, is meeting this week with senators including Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat and chair of the Commerce Committee. Ms. Cantwell said last week that she planned to hold hearings on the Max 9 groundings.

Boeing’s woes may have a lasting impact. Michael Leskinen, United’s chief financial officer, told analysts that the groundings would dent growth in the “ coming years .” Michael O’Leary, the chief executive of Ryanair, a low-cost European airline that is one of Boeing’s biggest customers, also has doubts that the Max 10 will be delivered soon.

Mark Walker contributed reporting.

Santul Nerkar is a reporter covering business and sports. More about Santul Nerkar

Bernhard Warner is a senior editor for DealBook, a newsletter from The Times, covering business trends, the economy and the markets. More about Bernhard Warner

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