How to change or cancel a Hawaiian Airlines flight

May 15, 2022

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A trip to Hawaii is on most people’s bucket list. But, if the pandemic taught us anything, it’s the importance of being prepared when planning trips. And that preparation should include understanding the airline’s cancellation and change policy.

Hawaiian Airlines took a bit of a different tack during the pandemic compared to other airlines. The airline was initially slow to offer refunds, and, even today, the Hawaiian Airlines cancellation policy is more restrictive than other big airlines.

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In This Post

Hawaiian Airlines cancellation policy

Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330
(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Hawaiian Airlines offers free refunds up to 24 hours after booking (as long as you book more than seven days before departure), as required by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The airline also allows free changes or cancellations more than 24 hours after booking. In those instances, customers are responsible only for a difference in fare when they book a new flight if the new fare is more expensive than their original booking. Customers have up to one year from the original booking date to use the flight credit.

However, the wrinkle in the Hawaiian Airlines cancellation policy comes when the fare for your new flight is lower, in which case you would lose any remaining value associated with your ticket. That stands in contrast to the policies of many other U.S.-based airlines. And it also means you need to be careful when you book a new flight after you cancel or change a Hawaiian Airlines flight. If prices have gone down, you may want to book a higher class of service or tack on an additional stop to ensure you don’t leave money on the table.

It’s also worth checking whether your booking is covered by one of Hawaiian’s COVID-19 travel waivers.

Related: Hawaiian Airlines announces free Wi-Fi courtesy of Elon Musk’s Starlink

Hawaiian Airlines refund policy

Hawaiian Airlines plane July 2021.
(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Unless you cancel in the first 24 hours after your booking, Hawaiian Airlines’ flights are nonrefundable.

The terms and conditions of the Hawaiian Airlines refund policy actually state that all flights are nonrefundable unless otherwise specified. But after searching various destinations and date ranges, I could not find any refundable fares. Even first-class fares are nonrefundable, so make sure your plans are set before committing to a flight.

Other airlines, such as United, offer refundable fares and a broader route network if you need to reuse a flight credit. If you purchase a ticket on Hawaiian Airlines and don’t get a refund in the first 24 hours, chances are you’ll be flying to Hawaii to use your flight credit.

Related: I had sworn off Hawaii during the pandemic — here’s why I went back (and plan to again)

Bottom line

The Hawaiian Airlines cancellation policy is more customer-friendly than it used to be. However, compared to other airlines, it still leaves something to be desired. And the Hawaiian Airlines refund policy is pretty stringent as well.

In short, you’ll want to be fairly confident you’ll be able to make the journey before booking a Hawaiian Airlines flight. Once you’ve made your purchase, there aren’t many options other than flying to Hawaii. That being said, there are certainly worse fates.

Featured image by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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