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Airlines Alter Schedules, Reduce Fares as Hurricane Lane Inches Closer to Hawaii

Aug. 24, 2018
5 min read
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As Hurricane Lane continues on its path toward Hawaii, the Category 3 storm has already pummeled the Big Island with more than 31 inches of rain. With things expected to get worse across the state, airlines are taking measures to cap fares, waive fees and change flight schedules.

As of 12:00am Friday, the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture implemented new, temporary travel restrictions for all animals traveling to Hawaii — including service and emotional support animals. From Friday through Monday at 8:00am local time, pets — including emotional support animals — will not be accepted on flights into Hawaii. Those with service animals will be required to contact the quarantine office of the State during check-in at the airport to ensure that the service animal was pre-cleared for arrival in Hawaii. The Department of Agriculture said that all airlines had been notified of the temporary policy.

Along with the weather waivers that airlines have issued since the beginning of the week when news started breaking that Lane would bring severe weather to the state, several of the major airlines have taken additional measures. United announced that it was taking steps to reduce the fares on last-minute travel.

As of Friday at 11:00am ET, the following airline information, including weather waivers, are available for Hawaii travel:


  • Travel dates: August 22-26 (previously August 25)
  • Airports covered: Kauai (LIH); Kona (KOA); Maui (OGG); Oahu (HNL)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by August 21
  • Rebook travel anytime between now and August 31 (previously August 30)
  • Change fees and difference in price waived if you don’t change your origin or destination city and rebook in same cabin.
  • You may request a refund if you choose not to travel at all. Tickets must be exchanged or refunded prior to the departure of your original flight.

American Airlines

On Thursday, American announced that its four departures/arrivals to Kahului, Hawaii (OGG) have been canceled due to an increase in the winds. Some of its flights to other islands were experiencing delays, but many were operating on time. AA said that it's notified all customers affected by the temporary animal restriction policy.

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Proactively, AA delayed several flights on Friday:

Honolulu (HNL) — Eight scheduled departures/arrivals. Flight 31 from Los Angeles (LAX) to HNL and Flight 162 (HNL-LAX) are both delayed four hours. All other flights are scheduled to operate on time.
Kona (KOA) — Three scheduled departures/arrivals. Flight 59 (LAX-KOA) and Flight 58 (KOA-LAX) are both delayed four hours. Flight 663 from Phoenix (PHX) to KOA is delayed two hours. All other flights are scheduled to operate on time.
Kauai Island (LIH) — Three scheduled departures/arrivals. All are scheduled to operate on time.
Kahului (OGG) — Four scheduled departures/arrivals. All canceled due to an increase in wind.

The airline still has the following weather waiver in place:

  • Travel dates: August 23-26
  • Airports covered: Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL); Kona, Hawaii (KOA); Kauai Island, Hawaii (LIH); Kahului, Hawaii (OGG)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by August 20
  • Rebook travel anytime between August 21-30
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.


  • Travel dates: August 23-24 (previously was through August 26)
  • Airports covered: Honolulu, HI (HNL); Kona, HI (KOA); Lihue, HI (LIH); Maui, HI (OGG); Seoul, South Korea (ICN)
  • Ticket must be reissued on or before: August 27 (previously was August 30)
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: August 27 (previously was August 30)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by August 21 (new limitation)
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond August 27, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply.
  • If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance.

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Travel dates: August 21-28 (previously through August 26)
  • Airports covered: Flights departing to/from/within/via the State of Hawaii (LIH/HNL/OGG/JHM/MKK/LNY/ITO/KOA)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by August 21
  • Rebook travel no later than September 9
  • Changes to origin and/or destination or connecting/stopover point will be permitted without change fee and are subject to applicable fare difference.

United Airlines

Thursday night, United issued a statement about its efforts in Hawaii. A spokesperson from the airline said that it's taken steps to reduce fares beyond what a regular last-minute fare would be. On Thursday, the airline scheduled two additional flights from Honolulu (HNL) to San Francisco (SFO) — one, operated by a Boeing 777-300 and the other, a Boeing 757-300.

On Friday, United had canceled all flights in and out of Kahului Airport (OGG). For those still in Hawaii with travel booked, United still has a travel wavier in effect until August 26.

  • Travel dates: August 21-26
  • Airports covered: Hilo, HI (ITO); Honolulu, Oahu, HI (HNL); Kahului, Maui, HI (OGG); Kailua-Kona, HI (KOA); Lihue, HI (LIH)
  • Rebook travel anytime now through September 9
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same cabin or pay the difference.

This storm serves as another reminder that we are in hurricane season. If you’re planning to travel to hurricane-prone areas — or even just currently cancellation-prone areas like the US Northeast — make sure to book the trip with a card that offers solid trip delay and cancellation insurance. I’ll be using my Chase Sapphire Reserve to book flights going forward.

Featured image by Getty Images