Tag Archives: Mark Dunkerly

Kelly Slater and Bob Hurley start #dontflyhawaiianairlines scrap on instagram, Hawaiian Airlines responds!

dontflyhawaiianPro 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.

#dontflyhawaiian now?

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

SUCK-METER-PATCH

http://www.myairlinesucks.com/

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.

 

 

 

Interisland update, Mark Dunkerly, Hawaiian Airlines & the Garden Island News

Mark Dunkerly, the CEO of Hawaiian Airlines had the opportunity to visit the island of Kauai and spoke at a Kauai Chamber of Commerce luncheon. The Garden Island News responded by writing a story that seems to be a tongue in cheek jab right back at Hawaiian’s most illustrious of all executives.

“Hawaiian Flying High” was the hazily sublimed title of the article.

Mark Dunkerly adressing Kauai Chamber of Commerce

“Flying between the islands of the state is a bargain that is quite, quite, quite remarkable”

OK, one thing for certain is that Hawaiian does not spend nearly enough money advertising with the Garden Island News. A center spread once or twice a week or even a daily banner across the front page advertising Hawaiian’s low fares to Kauai just might solve the problem with this reporters opinion. Most large corporations have huge advertising budgets with the local papers to help curtail unwanted criticism. I’m just saying, everyone else does it.

Well, I would like to give Mr Dunkerly a fair shake. The entire visit to Kauai seems to be an attempt by Dunkerly at defusing building tensions over perceived high airfares with local travelers. So I ask my readers this. Is the criticism of Hawaiian Airlines fair? Are the airfares too high?

I would like to offer a suggestion. Let us pick the easiest “fact check” the normal lay person like me can verify. Rising government taxes and highway projects are hard for us to translate into tangible “yes or no” facts. However there is one thing that Dunkerly claimed that is very easy for us to verify.

According to the article Mark Dunkerley said they have “an average fare one way of $69″ 

oh-really

SIXTY NINE DOLLARS TO KAUAI? lets holo holo!

Well there is an easy number to verify. Go to www.hawaiianairlines.com and check their published one way fares from Honolulu to Lihue and lets all see how easy the $69 average fares are to book. $69 average means there will be fares LOWER than $69 so this is an outright bargain for a one way flight on a jet anywhere. Using the word AVERAGE suggests any of us should be able to find a lower than $69 fares.

Verifying this is easy for anyone to do. Mark seems like a brilliant executive and I can’t imagine he would put out a number like this without it being triple verified.

After a quick check I do see a few $72 fares on the early morning flights (5:14 AM & 5:56 AM only) which is actually a $58 fare with $14 in taxes and fees which comes out to $72. Today is the 7th of January and the earliest I could find a $72 fare is the 19th so 12 days out. Not bad at first glance but do the rest of the facts check out? Is this really an “average” fare and how easy is it to secure a booking at this fare on “AVERAGE“.

Now hopefully we get some readers to comment. I know this isn’t exactly USA Today but anyone out there reading this with an opinion, please feel free to speak your mind.

Much Aloha

Incentivizing Interisland Airline Competition

The Garden Island News has published an article about Kauai County Council asking state lawmakers to explore incentivizing interisland airline competition in the State of Hawaii. The Star Advertiser and KITV have also reported on this proposal, along with others.

I like the spirit of the “Unconquered Island” lawmakers, but lets just stop for a minute right here. The whole proposal has several problems.

First here are a few snippets.

Councilman Ross Kagawa, who introduced the resolution said, “We need to speak up already. Right now this is a serious problem.”

Ann Botticelli, SVP Corporate Communications and public affairs officer, speaking for Hawaiian, said the company keeps its fares low and that a one-way ticket price from Lihue to Honolulu for 12 months ending March 30 was $68 (or $82.70 with taxes).

Rep. Dee Morikawa, District 16 on Kauai, said “Maybe the resolution will spur the discussion”

oh-really

Well I DO NOT think the government, local or federal can fix any problems, perceived or otherwise, with interisland air travel. They can’t force someone IN to business as easily as we have seen airlines forced OUT of business in recent years. New or existing airlines might not want to get tangled too tightly with State of Hawaii lawmakers.

These lawmakers could have just listened to me when I warned them about Mesa back in 2004 but that’s long forgotten history now. An ounce of prevention would have been worth a pound of resolutions and “spurring discussions” but it is now 2015 and both Aloha and Mesa are long gone from Hawaii’s skies.

Mesa left Hawaii’s economy a “scorched earth” (precisely as I predicted in 2004) and Hawaii has barely recovered now many years later. Hawaiian can and will charge whatever the market will bear. No other airline wants to enter the vortex of interisland passenger travel after so many other failed operations in recent history.

The people of Hawaii were played. How did anyone think $19 and $29 tickets would turn out? Just be thankful Mesa’s shame in Hawaii is unforgettable to this day. Hawaiian would eventually chose to use Empire instead of Mesa for their Ohana operation and Mesa would ultimately depart Hawaii for good. Empire is the same certificate holder that operated Mahalo for Robert Iwamoto back in the 1990s. Small world isn’t it?

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