• Report: #857567

Complaint Review: Hawaiian Airlines

  • Submitted: Wed, March 21, 2012
  • Updated: Mon, April 02, 2012

  • Reported By: LESLIE — BAY AREA California United States of America
Hawaiian Airlines
P.O. Box 30008 HONOLULU, Hawaii United States of America


*Consumer Comment: Consumer Affairs Department

*Consumer Comment: Good luck and keep on pursuing

*Consumer Comment: That sucks

*Consumer Suggestion: Half a seat for the full price ?

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On Monday Feb 27, 2012 my family of four was traveling home from Honolulu, Hawaii to San Francisco, CA. We arrived very early and asked the ticketing agent to please seat us together as a family. The total fare for the four one way tickets home was a total of $2,328.80, $563.00 + $19.20 each ticket. We received our seat assignments and they were not together as we had asked but we weren't going to fuss, we just wanted to get home.

When we boarded and were ready to take off, the flight was delayed almost 2 hours because of a flat tire. My six year old son was seated next to a very obese man and forced to share more than half of his small coach seat for a total of 7 long hours. 

Even the flight attendants apologized and said they would feel as upset as I was if that were their family being squished. They offered to give my two kids free cartoons, I had already paid the $4. [continued below]....
.....99 cartoons for my three year old. The flight attendants said they would have moved my son to another seat but the flight was completely full so there wasn't anything they could do. They suggested I fill out an incident report and then file a complaint.

The entire flight, this obese man was asleep and kept leaning over on to my 6 year old's body. The arm rests were not even able to come down. There was no personal space at all. It was very obvious that this man needed two seats or that no one should have been seated next to him. No adult would have been able to fit next to this man. I feel that they sat my child next to him on purpose knowing that a grown adult wouldn't fit.

The flight attendant Denise, filled out the incident report and the following day I called the customer service line to put in a complaint. I did not receive a call back right away so I posted this picture on their Facebook fan page. Click here to see picture. In my complaint I told them I felt I deserved to be refunded for them failing to provide my son with a full seat and we expected to receive what we paid for. We didn't pay for half a seat and no one should be forced to share their tiny seat with anyone. There should be policies in place to prevent this kind of situation.

They offered a 4 travel credits of $50 that expire in one year. We have no plans on going to Hawaii again any time soon. So basically this company feels that it has given me a fair compensation for what my son had to endure.


Aloha Leslie,
you for taking the time to write us an email about your situation.
Were very sorry that youre unhappy and were looking into your report.
Since you
already filed an incident report, Ill forward your email along to our
Consumer Affairs Office so they have additional supporting documents to
go along with your case. We appreciate your patience as our CAO
department processes your claim.

Asiana Ponciano

Social Media Marketing Coordinator |Hawaiian

Follow: www.Twitter.com/HawaiianAir | Fan: www.Facebook.com/HawaiianAirlines

March 5, 2012

Email: leslie.ivonne@yahoo.com

Contact Ref. # 1202370320

Dear Leslie:

We received your call to our advocate line on February 28.  Today, we received your postings on our social media page.  Our office is designated to investigate and respond to passenger issues within our Customer Service Plan commitment of 30 days.  Cases are usually investigated in the order that it was received.  Thank you for your patience in awaiting our reply.

On behalf of Hawaiian Airlines, we are sorry to hear your son was unable to enjoy his flight because he was seated next to a large passenger.  If, at the time of check-in, Hawaiian Airlines believes that a large passenger may be more comfortable sitting in two seats, the customer service agent may make a suggestion to the passenger to purchase a second seat.  We cannot, however, require that this passenger purchase the second seat if he chooses not to. 

The other alternative is to offer the passenger another seat on another flight so that the passenger, as well as other passengers, may be more comfortable.  The only instance where we can deny the passenger boarding is if we feel that he is not fit to travel or may endanger the safety of our passengers.  Hawaiian Airlines has maintained the option for a large
passenger to purchase a second seat since 1985 and has not made any changes to this policy.  We appreciate your feedback and have shared it with our management team.

To encourage you to travel with us again, we have issued each of you a $50 e-certificate towards a future Hawaiian Airlines flight.  The instructions and terms are listed below for your reference.

Thank you for sharing your suggestions and observations with us.  We appreciate your comments and look forward to the opportunity of serving you on future Hawaiian Airlines flights.


Trenda Sylva
Sr. Resolution Coordinator
Hawaiian Airlines
Consumer Affairs Office

March 14, 2012

Contact Ref. #1202370320

Dear Leslie:

We received your recent Facebook posts, and we regret you were dissatisfied with the travel credits we offered you.

Again, we apologize for your son's discomfort, and we hope you will allow us another opportunity to serve you.

Hawaiian Airlines considers its response to be fair and appropriate, and respectfully, Hawaiian Airlines considers this matter closed.


Rose Harman
Hawaiian Airlines
Consumer Affairs Office

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/21/2012 09:29 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Hawaiian-Airlines/HONOLULU-Hawaii-96820/Hawaiian-Airlines-BREACH-OF-CONTRACT-POOR-CUSTOMER-SERVICE-FORCED-TO-SHARE-MORE-THAN-HA-857567. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report.

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#1 Consumer Comment

Consumer Affairs Department

AUTHOR: Steve - (USA)

I  don't  understand  why  HI  is  paying  employees  like  Mrs.  Robyn  Lopez  and  Rose  Harman  to  send  out  letters  which  always  end  in  "We  have  done everything  possible  -  the  case is  closed."   HI  could  as  well  pay  some  work-at-home-moms   to   stuff  standard   letters  into  envelopes.

One  of  the  principles  of   HI's   "Consumer  Advocate"    is   not  to  address  the  issue  -  in  my  case  that  they   advertised  something  on  their  website   for  which  the  system  was  not  set  up,  or  in  other  words:  FALSE   ADVERTISING....  And  never  ever  admit  any  wrongdoing  from their  side.

The  other  principle  is   to  limit  their  so  called  "compensation"   to  something  that  creates  additional  revenue  for  the  company,   like  vouchers  which  would  require  the  victim  to  book  another  flight  with  them.   In  my  case  their  so  called  "solution"   was:   "Now  we  have  made  some  changes  to  our  system  and  if  you  book  another  flight  with  us  you  will  be  able  to  use  the  miles  that  you  purchased...."

What  they  consider  "fair"    is  always  fair  for  the  company  and  their  balance  sheet.   
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#2 Consumer Comment

Good luck and keep on pursuing

AUTHOR: Sallymae - (USA)

Although Hawaiian Airlines is the best US airline to fly to or from Hawaii and the Mainland USA (in my opinion), their consumer service department really is the pits.

It was very unfortunate that your son was squished - but great that he was young.  Imagine if you or a full size adult had to be in that position!  Smart to take a picture and also to post online.  Keep on keeping on.

I had a few incidences with Hawaiian Airlines in the past, and in the "old" days, the resolution of the problems were done with class and aloha.  If the flight was delayed, we got free headsets.  If a mistake was made on their part, it was made up for very adequately. 

However, in the past few years, Hawaiian Airlines has outsourced their reservations and almost all customer contact to the Philippines.  Nothing against the Filipinos, for they are very polite and well trained, but the disconnect between the passenger and the corporation has grown immensely because of this outsourcing as well as corporate policies.

To make matters worse, the head of the Consumer Affairs department is Rose Baraquio Harman, who is a beautiful (and knows it) local Filipino that knows how to twist corporate heads with her mean little fingers.  She is the one with the final say on a case, and it always ends with "Hawaiian Airlines considers its response to be fair and appropriate, and respectfully, Hawaiian Airlines considers this matter closed." 

Notice how you are not given a phone number to call her or contact a representative of the corporation?  Instead, you are told to call their 800 number and get one of those nice Filipino agents with fake names who apologize and blow you off politely. 

If anything, your son should get a free one way ticket to or from Hawaii, fully transferable.  Because they insulted you with $50 flight credits that would not even cover extra luggage fees and bulk head upgrades, and because you are going public (bravo!) on the cold-hearted, unfair and inappropriate response to your valid complaint, your family of 4 should have a personal apology by the head of the airlines (I heard he is a nice man, Mark Dunkerly) and 4 round trip vouchers, fully transferable.

Keep on fighting.  It will take a lot to win, but victory will be sweet and hopefully the cut and dry consumer affairs department gets some cuts of personnel, replacing them with people who actually care.

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#3 Consumer Comment

That sucks

AUTHOR: Steve - (USA)

They are full of it when they said that they "can't" make someone pay for 2 seats if they are that obese. 

Good call in taking the picture BTW, it really shows the dude taking up part of your kid's seat. 

The airline should definitely refund the price of the one ticket.
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#4 Consumer Suggestion

Half a seat for the full price ?

AUTHOR: Steve - (USA)

this  is  the  typical  answer  their  "Customer  Advocate"  sends  out"  and  with  this  airline  you  will  never  receive  a  fair  compensation,  no  matter  what  happened.  They  should  have  given  a  full  refund  for your  son't  ticket  + coupons for  future  flights  but  they  believe that they can resolve any matter with  a "mahalo -  sorry for  the inconvenience."

what  they  consider  a  "Fair  solution"  actually  is  an  insult  and  they  act  like  they  are  the  only  airline  going  to  Hawaii.  The  good  news  is:  they  aren't  and  the  only  option  is  to  avoid them  as  the plague.  They transferred  50% of  the inches of  your son's  seat  to  the  obese passenger  who  preferred  not to buy a second seat. Actually  there  are  airlines  which make  it  mandatory  for  obese  passengers  to  buy a  business class ticket or  to buy  two seats.  I heard  about cases in which  an obese  passenger  who had  purchased only one seat  was denied  boarding.  In  my opinion they did not  have  the right  to  lift  up the  armrest  to give him  access  to your son's seat.  If  someone does  not  fit  in between  two  armrests  and  purchased  exactly  that  amount  of  inches  between  two   armrests  he  simply  can't  fly.

Try  to  file  a  dispute  with your  credit  card  company:  tell  them  that  you  paid  for  a  full  seat  and  not for  half  a  seat,  you  should have  a  good  chance  to  get  at  least  50%  of  your money  back,  especially since you have the picture as evidence.

And  I  would  never  ever  fly  with  them again -  please  spread  the  word  and  tell  other  potential passengers  what  kind of airline  this  is.
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