US airlines respond to Hawaii wildfires with more capacity, offering changes

Several US-based airlines have responded to the wildfires in Hawaii
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Airlines based in the United States have responded to wildfires raging through one of the islands of Hawaii by adding more capacity to aid with evacuating travelers.  

In a Twitter statement Hawaiian Airlines said that it has continued to fly from and to Kahului Airport (OGG), Maui, Hawaii, “in support of essential travel and are coordinating with the state, county and non-profits to transport first responders, equipment and supplies to Maui”. 

“We have also added extra flights to focus on bringing guests out of Maui and anticipate adding flights tomorrow wherever we can, primarily between Maui & Honolulu,” the island-native airline continued.  

On its website the carrier said travelers should avoid going to OGG “as the airport is already crowded” even with Hawaiian Airlines operating its full flight schedule on August 10, 2023. However, the airline noted that it is “concentrating our resources on transporting essential personnel and first responders”. 

Hawaiian Airlines will offer a travel waiver for passengers who have booked a flight to/from OGG between August 9 and August 20, 2023. 

Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines said that it added extra flights between the islands and mainland US “to keep people and supplies moving”. 

The low-cost carrier has allowed passengers, who have had tickets for journeys between August 9 and August 11, 2023, to rebook or travel on standby without any additional charges. Furthermore, travelers whose final destination is OGG may rebook to travel to any of the four other Southwest Airlines destinations in Hawaii. 

American Airlines has allowed passengers booked to fly between August 9 and August 12, 2023, to change their itineraries without additional charges. The airline will waive a passenger fee if they do not change their origin/destination, rebook tickets in the same cabin (or pay the difference) or cancel their trip and request a change. 

Changes must be booked by August 12, 2023. 

Alaska Airlines has announced that it is continuing to monitor “the devastating impacts from the Maui wildfires, and we are continuing to operate all of our scheduled departures from Maui”. Summarizing its travel policy for passengers, who were scheduled to fly to/from four Hawaiian destinations in the airline’s network, Alaska Airlines noted that it has a “flexible travel policy is in place to allow guests to leave the island as soon as needed or postpone planned travel to the island”. 

Delta Air Lines is offering travelers with flights booked between August 9 and August 13, 2023, the ability to change bookings or cancel for travel credit. United Airlines is also offering the same, but only for travel dates between August 9 and August 10, 2023. 

On August 8, 2023, the County of Hawaii announced that officials are monitoring two brushfires in North and South Kohala, on Maui, Hawaii. 

In its latest update on August 9, 4:30 pm local time (UTC -10), the Hawaii Fire Department said that while there were “no road closures and no active evacuations at this time”, conditions remain dangerous due to “strong winds, low relative humidity, and warm temperatures makes for extreme fire danger”. 

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