News sources in Hawaii, such as the Star Advertiser, are reporting that flights are returning to normal today, August 9, following hundreds of cancellations and delays. Thousands of passengers were stranded on the islands due to hurricane Iselle.
According to the Star Advertiser, “Neighbor island flights to and from Honolulu came to a near standstill Friday among the smaller Hawaii-based carriers as they either grounded aircraft or delayed flights rather than risk flying into Iselle as it bore down on Oahu.” Island Air had canceled all flights while Mokulele Airlines stopped all but flights along the Kahului-Kona route. Those operations resumed at noon today. Passengers were stranded who had booked flights on Alaska Airlines, Fiji Airways, Jetstar Airways, 'Ohana by Hawaiian and US Airways, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority that indicated there were nearly 150 flights canceled Friday and about 140 canceled Thursday.
Apparently Hawaiian Airlines was one of the few carriers that didn't need to cancel any of its 250 scheduled flights but still experienced some delays and re-routing of some flights. 'Ohana by Hawaiian, the company's turboprop division operated by Idaho-based Empire Airlines, canceled 10 flights.
If you’re in Hawaii or scheduled to fly there, it’s a good idea to reconfirm with your airline before heading to the airport as Mother Nature is always unpredictable. The Star
Advertiser quoted Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Ann Botticelli as saying, "In our case what we do is track these storms pretty closely and look at not just projections, but what the storm is actually doing. It comes down to whether we can get our airplanes in and out of there safely."
As reported in this Examiner’s pre-storm post on August 7, the last major hurricane to hit the islands was Iniki in 1992 which os Angeles journalist Richard Pietschmann covered for Travel + Leisure Magazine following its aftermath which included the destruction of homes and hotels and the death of six people. He camped out in the ruins of a hotel while exploring the area and interviewing locals and hospitality executives.
While it’s never fun being caught in a storm, one of my best memories was from a stay at the since beleaguered Kona Village (it was hit by a foreclosure) on the Big Island where major weather caused the cancelation of our flight to Hana Maui and we were ‘forced’ to return to the hotel, which turned out to be more romantic than one might expect. In typical Hawaiian ohana or Aloha (spirit) the hotel gave us a room for the night complete with a bottle of wine which we took out on the lani to sip while watching lightening illuminate the sea. It was truly magical as the islands can be.
The following morning with the sun shining brightly, we took an ocean swim and had breakfast we headed to the airport for a flight to heavenly Hana Maui—that proved quite smooth.