ENJOYING THE UNIQUE HISTORY OF HAWAIIAN AIRLINES
Dallas Sherringham finds that flying between the stunning islands of Hawaii aboard the sleek Hawaiian Airlines fleet is one of the great joys of visiting the Island State, but it was a different proposition almost a century ago.
Hawaiian Airlines is celebrating its 91st year of operations in the Pacific region and like many successful operators, it all started with one single aircraft doing joy flights.
Recently I learnt all about the airline’s history while flying to Las Vegas via Hawaii and enjoying an Extra Comfort seat. It was a far cry from the early days of Pacific aviation and showed me just how far Hawaiian has come.
Way back in 1929 on Oahu, the original aircraft used was a Bellanca monoplane and the airline was known as Inter-Island Airways Ltd. The aircraft survives and was restored to operating condition in 2007.
It was quickly joined by two Sikorsky S38 amphibious aircraft which allowed it to fly to Hilo from Honolulu via Molokai and Maui. The eight passengers enjoyed a leisurely journey of three hours and 15 minutes compared to 13 hours by steam ship.
Aircraft technology changed dramatically in the next decade and Hawaiian realised it had to keep up with the latest improvements because it spent most of its time flying over the unpredictable Pacific Ocean rather than land.
In 1935, Sikorsky S43’s were introduced carrying 16 passengers which allowed it to carry 13,000 passengers that year, but the Golden Age of flying boats was coming to an end as Douglas began to revolutionise the industry with its DC2 and DC3 aircraft and better landing strips became available
The name was changed to Hawaiian Airlines in 1941, the year the dazzling state-of-the-art DC3s were introduced. The aircraft is still considered one of the best passenger aircraft ever built and stayed in operation with Hawaiian until 1968.
Three new 24-passenger DC‑3s were flown in formation form Oakland, CA, to Honolulu in 13 hours and 54 minutes—then the longest over-water flight made by a DC‑3
In 1952, the age of pressurized cabins arrived with the Convair 340s and later 440s capable of carrying up to 52 passengers at a much higher altitude.
Hawaiian rocketed into the jet age in 1966 with the DC 9 and 10 aircraft dramatically cutting travel times in half.
With intense competition on low revenue inter-island routes now a constant challenge, Hawaiian did what all great businesses do at such times: they thought outside the square; way outside the square in fact.
It started offering charter services throughout the Pacific using DC-8’s in 1985 and soon took delivery of Lockheed Tri-stars which allowed it to launch the Honolulu- Los Angeles service, followed by San Francisco, Seattle, Portland Las Vegas and Anchorage.
The airline had its ups and downs in the next 20 years but by 2006 they were rated the best airline servicing Hawaii by both Conde Nast Traveller and Travel and Leisure magazines.
Importantly for Aussie travelers to Hawaii and the USA mainland, Hawaiian began flying to Australia in 2004 .
Now in its 91st year of continuous service, Hawaiian is Hawaii’s biggest and longest-serving airline. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (13) than any other airline, along with service from Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, American Samoa and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides, on average, more than 170 jet flights daily between the Hawaiian Islands, and over 260 daily flights system-wide.
Last year, Hawaiian welcomed nearly 12 million travelers within the islands and between Hawaii and its U.S. mainland and international gateway cities, averaging some 30,000 guests daily.
And I can vouch for their splendid hospitality and sleek service. The new Extra Comfort seats give you more leg room and personal space at a very affordable fare.
Please check out all the current fares and offers: https://www.hawaiianairlines.com.au/
1: Hawaiian Airlines original Bellanca monoplane offered $5 joyflights
2: Flash forward to a modern Hawaiian Airlines jet over Diamond Head
3: Extra Comfort seats give passengers more leg room and personal space
4: Hawaiian Airlines is famous for its friendly, relaxed service