Pro surfer Kelly Slater and Hurley International founder Bob Hurley have publicly begun to roast Hawaiian Airlines over baggage fees and policies they describe as “ridiculous and a default profit racket.”
Slater and Hurley have both called for a boycott of Hawaiian via their Instagram pages with the hashtag #dontflyhawaiianairlines
GrindTV and The Inertia have both run headlines on this story, in what appears to be support for the surfers call for a boycott of the airline.
Hawaiian Airlines, the only large passenger airline actually based in Hawaii nowadays, initiated a quick response on their own on Instagram, explaining and defending their policies. KHON and other local news agencies have also picked up the story.
I have never met either Kelly Slater or Bob Hurley, but one has to wonder if their hashtag is a nod to the the last major airline protest campaign in Hawaii some ten years ago. “dontflygo”
Oddly enough, the “dontflygo” boycott was started by a now retired Hawaiian Airlines pilot and focused on the interloper carrier go! and their parent Mesa Airlines. That protest continued from 2007 through 2008 until actually it would be Aloha Airlines that would shut down, not Mesa/go!. The shutdown of Aloha Airlines set off the largest layoffs ever (2000 plus employees affected) and the worst recession ever seen in the State of Hawaii. Many former Aloha Airlines employees would eventually find employment with Hawaiian Airlines now, many others would leave Hawaii and never come back.
Hawaiian is what is known as a low cost carrier (LCC). Passengers like Slater and Hurley who dislike the LCC experience can always choose an actual legacy carrier like Delta or United. United still has the largest presence in Hawaii and the Pacific as they are the current operators of the old Pan American Airlines routes, however they are not free from complaints either. It is understood that ALL airlines actually go out of their way to agonize their customers BY DESIGN as described by the New Yorker magazine in this 2014 article. Why Airlines Want to Make You Suffer
While Bob Hurley can probably afford his own jet, the rest of us will be forced to embrace the suck whenever we need to fly somewhere. Especially those of us out here in Hawaii. I don’t know what other choice anyone has out here except to just deal with it or stop flying entirely.
This is your “free market”
My family was recently faced with the prospect of paying exorbitant change fees on Hawaiian Airlines. After a funeral for her grandfather earlier this year, my older daughter, fully qualifying under Hawaiian’s bereavement policy, still found it far less agonizing and about $100 cheaper to just throw away her return Hawaiian Air ticket and instead, buy a one way ticket back to California on Delta. In all fairness to Hawaiian, all the airlines gouge their passengers on change fees and it is all part of the “calculated misery” and “where the suffering begins” as the New Yorker article describes… This is your free market on drugs!
Kelly Slater, Bob Hurley and the rest of us need to face the facts, there are no more good airlines. Nowadays, any airline identified as offering too much customer service gets torn to shreds or downgraded by Wall Street analysts, or as in the case or Aloha and Midwest Express, shut down completely.
My opinion finally is this. Get over it and “embrace the suck”, or… avoid all the airlines entirely, stay home and make your next vacation a stay-cation! The only way the airlines will change is when we as the traveling public, refuse to fly on any of them anymore.