Hawaiian Airlines leaves family of eleven stranded

Tracy Stewart, December 29, 2008
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q. My family of 11 were booked on Hawaiian Airlines from Seattle to Honolulu for a two week vacation. The plane we were to fly out on was supposed to be arriving from Oakland, and we were scheduled to depart at 8:05 am. The plane arrived from Oakland at 8 pm, 12 hours late! Finally, we were told the flight would now leave at 10 am the next morning, and no hotels were offered. The next day, we were told our flight was cancelled, and the earliest we could fly out would be a whole seven days later. Needless to say, our long planned vacation was ruined and we incurred significant expenses. What recourse do we have?

    A. Yikes, what a nightmare! At eleven tickets, plus lodging, it seems to us that Hawaiian should - at the very least - offer you vouchers. And according to their contract of carriage, item 5 seems to back that up:

    Amenities/Services for Delayed Passengers
    The carrier will assume the expenses outlined below for all passengers incurred as a result of cancellation, delay or interruption of any flight on which a passenger holds confirmed reservations. Passengers will be informed of the available amenities when a delay is expected to exceed 4 hours.
    1. Hotel Rooms - HA will provide one-night's lodging at accommodation selected by HA when a passenger's delay is expected to exceed 4 hours and extend into the period 10:00 pm through 6:00 am, and no scheduled alternate transportation is available to the passenger's destination or stopover point. HA will not provide lodging for passengers who reside in the city where the interruption occurs.

    2. Meals - Passengers will be furnished one meal voucher if the delay will extend beyond the    four  (4) hours. No alcoholic beverages will be furnished to any passengers.

    3. Local Ground Transportation will be provided to the downtown area or from/to local hotel whichever is applicable.

    4. Communications - One long distance telephone call will be allowed between any two points in the United States.

    5. In lieu of the above, and subject to passenger's approval, HA will compensate the passenger with credit valid for the purchase of transportation. The credit will be valid for travel only on HA within 365 days of the date of issue and will apply only to online transportation via HA, may not be endorsed to or accepted by any other carrier and is not refundable to, saleable by, transferable by or assignable by the passenger.