Traveling Interisland in the Wake of Aloha Airlines’ Closure

Go $49

More than a week since Aloha Airlines shut down their passenger service, interisland air fares are beginning to spike up in the wake of the closure. So far, the lowest advertised airfare is Go! airlines $49 one-way interisland fare, which is still available on many of their flights. Hawaiian Airlines has raised the price on many flights but if you make a reservation and are not too picky about travel days and times, there may be a few $49 seats available on that airline.

Experts in the travel industry continue to forecast higher interisland airfares. And while I don’t like any of those forecasts, I believe that they are correct. In time by the end of the summer for sure if not even before, I predict interisland air fare will be at $79 or $89 each way on the low end, though more common will be airfares of $100 or more. Deja Vu, it will be 2004 again.

Travelers coming to Hawaii and residents going to the mainland have suddenly found a shortage of seats to several destinations. While Aloha Airlines had a small percentage of mainland flights, the closure last week of ATA Airlines, only a few days after the Aloha shutdown, have many travelers scrambling to find new flights and change their reservations, often having to buy more expensive tickets. Some of the airlines have quickly filled the void, most notably, Hawaiian. Prices to and from the mainland have spiked more dramatically in the past week than interisland for now.

Industry forecaster predict that mainland to Hawaii travel prices will settle down after this week’s adjustments.

For people traveling to and from Maui between now and June, the Hawaii Superferry is offering $39 trips each way, per passenger. The cost is $55 for a standard sized vehicle. The superferry resumed service today after having their vessel tied up in dry dock for several repairs over the last 2 months. I hope Superferry’s technical problems are behind them and hope that they can provide reliable service in the coming months.

Finally a group known as “Friends for Aloha Airlines” recently put together a 30-second video tribute to the fallen carrier which have been airing on a number of local TV stations from last week. The video is shown below:

Aloha to Aloha Airlines

Aloha Airlines 737-200

Aloha Airlines announced that it is shutting down passenger operations after tomorrow (Monday, March 31). The price war has ended, and flying interisland will become more expensive with less competition and less airplanes flying between the islands. Mesa’s Go Airlines recently increased their fares by $10, so that the lowest priced seat starts at $49. It will be a long, hot summer ahead for the flying public of Hawaii.

Here is Aloha’s press release:

Aloha Airlines announced today that it will be shutting down its inter-island and transpacific passenger flight operations. Aloha’s last day of operations will be Monday, March 31, 2008. On that day, Aloha will operate its schedule with the exception of flights from Hawaii to the West Coast and flights from Orange County to Reno and Sacramento, and Oakland to Las Vegas. Code-share partner United Airlines and other airlines are prepared to assist and accommodate Aloha’s passengers who have been inconvenienced.

For more information on United’s accommodation options, contact United at 1-800-UNITED1 or Passengers who do not wish to be re-accommodated by another airline should contact their travel agent or credit card company to request a refund. Effective immediately, Aloha will stop selling tickets for travel beyond March 31, 2008.

The shutdown of Aloha’s passenger operations will affect about 1,900 employees. Aloha also announced that its air cargo and aviation services units will continue to operate as usual while the U.S. Bankruptcy Court seeks bids from potential buyers. On March 27, 2008, Saltchuk Resources, Inc., announced its intention to buy Aloha’s air cargo business.

“This is an incredibly dark day for Hawaii,” said David A. Banmiller, Alohaís president and chief executive officer. “Despite the groundswell of support from the community and our elected officials, we simply ran out of time to find a qualified buyer or secure continued financing for our passenger business. We had no choice but to take this action.

“We deeply regret the impact this will have on our dedicated employees who have made Aloha one of the best operating airlines in the country. “Aloha Airlines was founded in 1946 to give Hawaii’s people a choice in inter-island air transportation.

Unfortunately, unfair competition has succeeded in driving us out of business, bringing to an end a 61-year-old company with a proud legacy of serving millions of travelers in the true spirit of Aloha. “We realize that this comes as a devastating disappointment to our frequent flyers and our loyal business partners who have supported this company for many, many years.”

It is sad to see a long time firm like Aloha Airlines shut down. A changing marketplace (Go Airlines), high fuel costs, bankruptcy, no buyers for their passenger operations and a possible slowdown of the economy may be attributed to the airline’s demise.

Interisland air travel will certainly be different without Aloha’s noisy 737s flying the Hawaiian skies. Prices certainly will spike higher. I and many others will probably travel less between the islands as prices creep up.

Hopefully Hawaiian Airlines, Island Air, Go! and the Hawaii Superferry can make adjustments to fill in the gap that will be left by Aloha Airlines’ departure.

QE2 Stops in Hawaii for the Last Time

QE2 in Honolulu

Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth 2 (QE2) cruise ship made its last stop ever in Hawaii on her current iteniary yesterday (March 25). She came into Honolulu Harbor early yesterday morning (at around 5 am) and left early this morning at 1:00 a.m. The legendary cruise liner is on its way to Los Angeles, retirement and the history books.

Late this year Cunard Line will retire the QE2 . The mighty ocean liner will be sold to an investment firm in Dubai where she will set sail for in November. Once there she will be refurbished and converted to a “floating luxury hotel, museum, retail and entertainment destination.”

The QE2 has been a regular Honolulu port visitor on her annual around the world cruises. Upon leaving Honolulu today, she set sail for Lahaina, Maui.

More photos at:

Larger version of the top photo:

QE2 in Honolulu
QE2 graced Honolulu Harbor for the last time ever on March 25, 2008.

First Hawaiian Auto Show

The annual 2008 First Hawaiian International Auto Show held at the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu was the usual mix of jaw drooling, expensive, automotive eye candy that mixed the old classics up with the latest offerings from the auto manufacturers and local dealers. In this day and age when the price of gas is creeping up to $4 or more per gallon, our fascination with all things automotive is long ingrained within us. The opportunity to see, smell, touch and sit in the multi-thousand dollar technical wonders without high pressure sales people hounding us is one of the hallmarks of this annual show.

Cars on display ranged from the latest exotics to practical sedans, in all price ranges from $15,000 to more than $200,000 each. My favorite cars of the day included the 2008 Lexus LS600 Hybrid, the practical 2009 Toyota Corolla (I own a 1993 model). the classic Ford Mustangs and vintage Volkswagens.

Of course many photos were taken as exemplified by the samples below.

Vintage Ford Mustang
Vintage 1965 Mustang up close

2008 Infiniti

Interior Shot 2008 Lexus LS 600
The $114,000 Lexus LS 600 interior.

1956 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
The vintage Volkswagens were my classic favorites.

More Photos:

Last Honolulu Call for the Maxim Gorkiy

Maxim Gorkiy @ HNL, originally uploaded by macprohawaii.

This ship has been an annual visitor to Hawaii for several years. About a week ago I was notified by one of her passengers that this year’s stop would be the last. The Maxim Gorkiy is being retired from the firm that operates her.

The aging cruise ship came into Honolulu Harbor early this morning, followed by her corporate sibling the Amadea. Maxim Gorkiy arrived in Honolulu on a cruise segment from Fanning Island and left tonight for Japan.

Phoenix Reisen, a German charter firm has operated the ship for 20 years, retaining her mostly Russian crew. The ship while built in Germany is owned by a Russian firm. More information on the Maxim Gorkiy can be found here:

More photos at my Flickr site.