Hawaiian Airlines Hell: Flight Returns To LAX 3 Times

Hawaii is an awesome destination. It has beaches, mountains, and thanks to Southwest’s upcoming flights to the island state, very cheap flights.

But at what point does the effort to actually get there outweigh the possible destination?

Passengers on one such flight to Hawaii, which had to return to LAX three times for unrelated issues, might be able to answer.

Hawaiian Airlines Hell: Flight Returns To LAX 3 Times
A Hawaiian A330-200 in flight. Source: Hawaiian Airlines

What happened?

Hawaiian Flight HA33 was en route on a normally scheduled service between LAX and Maui when about 30 minutes into the flight the flight crew noticed that they had a warning from the onboard system. Because Hawaii is so remote and the plane would not be able to land most of the way, they decided to return back to LAX.

After double checking back at LAX, the A330-200 was then cleared for takeoff and resumed its route. But then suffered an unrelated issue and again, returned back to the Airport.

The route taken by the plane on its first attempt to cross the Pacific.

To try and get passengers to their final destination, the plane attempted a third time to fly the 5-6 hour route. Alas, this time the pilot decided to not even attempt a takeoff, return to the gate and cancel the flight, for you guessed it, unrelated technical problems.

“Safety is our top priority, and we apologize for the inconvenience to all our guests who were aboard Flight 33 from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Maui’s Kahului Airport today, We understand our guests’ disappointment and deeply regret their travel plans were disrupted.” – Hawaiian Airlines Statement

What caused the problems with the flight?

At this stage, Hawaiian has been reluctant to reveal any details as to why the plane was unable to go to Hawaii. However, they have come out praising the captain and the crew for taking no chances.

“These flights have more rigorous safety requirements because of the greater distance between suitable airports, When there is an abnormality on an over-land flight it can, and often does, continue to its destination. However ETOPS flights operate to a more stringent safety standard. Our aircraft have redundant systems, yet our standard is to respond to any indication of abnormalities with an abundance of caution.” – Hawaiian Statement

What happened to the passengers?

The 207 passengers onboard HA33 were given a $100 coupon towards a future flight on Hawaiian, hotels for the night (plus food) and placed on the next available flight to the island.

It is unlikely to be stuck on a plane that keeps having mechanical problems, but admittedly, I’d much rather have faults on the ground in LAX than three hours into a six-hour trip across the Pacific.

What do you think? Did the pilot do the right thing?