Report: #1037569

Complaint Review: Hawaiian Airlines

  • Submitted: Sun, March 24, 2013
  • Updated: Sat, April 27, 2013
  • Reported By: Wendy Wood — Homewood California
  • Hawaiian Airlines
    55-1338 Baker St
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    United States of America

Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Airlines moves all customer service to the Philippines and makes travel a nightmare. A once friendly, wonderful airline goes downhill while trying to massively expand Honolulu, Hawaii

*Consumer Comment: question

*Consumer Suggestion: An Expensive Lesson

*Author of original report: Hawaiian Airlines--terrible customer service

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

Date of Transaction 

March 9, 2013

 Actual letter to Hawaiian Airlines customer service and B of A credit card--no response yet.

We have been customers of Hawaiian Airlines for many years, even before joining the mileage program in 2008 and receiving a Bank of America credit card in 2009.  My family is from the Islands, my grandfather a renowned architect on Oahu at the turn of the 20th century, a University of Hawaii Press book was recently written about his accomplishments and contributions to Hawaii.

We regularly take the early morning Hawaiian Airlines flight from Sacramentoto Oahu several times during the year. We will most likely visit Hawaii again prior to an upcoming December trip, again the same Sacramento non-stop flight, we know it well, all of our relatives live in Kailua, Oahu.  Unless we stop using Hawaiian Airlines as aresult of this terrible experience and opt out for American and the Citibank card, that is the flight we use and that our kids/friends/relatives use.

We do live in Lake Tahoe, teach scuba diving there, however we own several large apartment complexes in Sacramento, we retain an apartment there so we find it more convenient than leaving from Reno via American Airlines, our other frequently used credit card and airline. For the past few years, we have been exclusively flying Hawaiian to Hawaii via Sacramento, using our B of A credit card.

On Saturday, March 9, 2013 our Hawaiian flight was scheduledto leave at 9:50 a.m., we knew it.  We left our car at the apartment in Citrus Heights and called for a cab to pick us up at 7:45 a.m.  The cab arrived and we began our 30 minute ride to the airport, like many times before. 

Unfortunately, the cab blew a tire and we rolled off to the edge of the road at about 8:10 a.m.,  we were still about 15 minutes from the airport. The driver said he could fix the tire rapidly and not to worry.  However at about 8:40 a.m., we began to worry and called another cab. 

 At a little after 9:00 a.m. we panicked and called Hawaiian Airlines customer service and tried to tell the customer service person of our issue and he was very difficult to understand, we had been routed to the Philippines, it was a weekend and the normal Hawaiian customer service reps who were based in Honolulu were not available.  During the week, until recently, the Honolulu customer service was available and we alwaystry to call them rather than dealing with the Philippines but it was a weekend and we were stuck with the customer service group that does not think critically they think only by rote and repetition.

The Philippine male customer service person who initially answered told us that we were going to miss our flight and the next day flight would cost an additional $571 each plus a $150 change fee each--we were stunned.  We asked if there were anyother flights available and he said there was one at 10:30 a.m. that day (sac)that would route through LA or Maui (can't remember which stop) however he thought we were too late for that one too and discouraged us.

I then asked to talk to a supervisor as the language barrier was an issue, while he kept repeating frequently what "valued customers wewere" it did not seem like he thought like an American, in other words, trying to find another flight that would not cost us more than triple our original ticket price.  Philipinos, we lived in Asia for many years, are great government workers because they follow directions but do not critically think or find out of the box solutions--like going on another day with a lesser cost ticket--our travel was flexible.

When the supervisor came on, she did waive the $150 each change fee after repeating, again over and over what "valued customers we were" and she booked the next day flight without checking to see if Monday or another subsequent day would have been a better option financially rather than booking the most expensive coach seat--we had flexibility.  When I asked her about another day, she had already booked Sunday and said that we would suffer ANOTHER CHANGE FEE if we wanted to find a lesser cost ticket--this was turning into a bonafide nightmare.

In other words, she did not think it through to a solution that would not cost an arm and a leg, over three times our original ticket price before booking the flight. Perhaps Hawaiian Airlines trains the Philippinos'customer service agents to try and get the most in fees possible or it is just the way they think--again they are not critical thinkers like the American customer service group.

We are very sad to see that Hawaiian has moved all of their customerservice representation to the Philippines as there is a language and thinking barrier, we feel completely taken advantage of as the Hawaiian representative did not give us alternatives other than the one where Hawaiian Airlines would have benefitted the most from additional fees--very short sited and a  very good way to lose customers in a very competitive market with an airline (Hawaiian) which is trying to greatly expand now and compete with the "big boys" who have customer service reps in America--they already tried the remote fiasco.

I did write to the customer affairs department of HawaiianAirlines and basically received a "screw you" valued customer response.  This is not acceptable as we were not provided reasonable options by the customer service person in the Philippines.

We feel that the language barrier and inability of their remote customer service department of Hawaiian Airlines to do their job was the problem.  I told the representative that our schedule was flexible, we are working on a coral reef project here on Oahu and could have left later in the following week, we are here for over 3 weeks, we were not given that option, only to leave the next day for a much higher fee, $571 each--outrageous for coach seating.

I also noticed that the Hawaiian flight the next day was not full, probably a number of people did not set their clocks forward and missed the flight as it was the day light savings time adjustment day, jump forward.  They most likely were also nailed by the outrageous fees, over $1,100 to change tickets to a flight that had obviousavailable seats the next day---we did not want to miss the flight but our taxi driver could not help what happened--they also have language that they are not responsible for lost items or late arrival issues.  So, we the innocent customer, were completely left as the Hawaiian Airlines target.

As consumers, we have options and ways to broadcast to others how we have been treated.  I normally used my B of A Hawaiian card exclusively, I can go back to using my Citibank American cards and leave from Reno, in other words, just close the B of A account.  We can also not use Hawaiian Airlines any longer, the Hawaiian service with the new expansion activities is not as good as it used to be and that should be broadcast on the internet. 

We have good friends who work as pilots for Hawaiian, none of them like the remote customer service either and they are concerned about the rapid expansion too.  Even their spouses have had knock down fights with the language and lack of critical thinking in the remote customer service, recently.

Again, we request that the $571 (twice) charges be reversed.  If this does not happen, we can blog aboutwhat happened to us and use Rip-Off report to really explain the rotten customer service, no American likes talking with customer service departments in other countries, the thinking process and problem solving is just not there not to mention the rote repetition of standard lines like "you are a valued customer" over and over and over when the real subject of the callis not addressed.  I am not sure if they have any idea of what they are repeating over and over again.

The customer affairs department with Hawaiian, which is probably also based in the Philippines, states that they have to"work in a highly competitive environment with much larger carriers", I can guarantee you that our experience does not make me want to ever take Hawaiian again thus working against their plan to increase their customer base.


Wendy Wood
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#1 Consumer Comment



just curious what time did the other cab get to and when did you get to the airport?
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#2 Consumer Suggestion

An Expensive Lesson

AUTHOR: rthi - ()

Wendy Wood:
I do not understand how the airline or their customer service representatives failed based on the information you have provided. The reps made their best effort in trying to re-book your party. According to your report, the representative even went above and beyond the call of duty by waiving $300 of fees as a courtesy.
"Perhaps Hawaiian Airlines trains the Philippinos'customer service agents to try and get the most in fees possible"
Your own experience proves this to be incorrect, considering the agent waived $300 worth of fees as a courtesy to you. Last minute tickets are always substantially more expensive than tickets purchased in advance however Hawaiian was very clear as to the cost of their last minute ticket prior to your purchase.
The fact that you left for your 30 minute drive to the airport only two hours before your scheduled departure stands out as a contributing factor to your "bonafide nightmare. By not allowing enough time, you accepted the risk of heavy traffic due to an accident, long lines at airport security or in your case, a problem on the drive to the airport could cause you to miss your flight. For the future, it is good practice to plan on arriving at the airport no later than two hours before your flight.
Additionally I feel it's a bit outrageous to expect a complete refund since in this case, Hawaiian Airlines fulfilled all of its' obligations to you by completing your scheduled  flight to Honolulu on Saturday, March 9, 2013. Hawaiian also had staff available to assist you via phone to re-book when you missed your flight. Finally Hawaiian safely flew you and your party to Honolulu without incident on Sunday, March 10, 2013.
No doubt the $1142 you spent is an expensive lesson however it could have been much worse and fortunately no one was hurt or seriously injured due to the tire failure.
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#3 Author of original report

Hawaiian Airlines--terrible customer service

AUTHOR: Wendy W - ()

I am still trying to appeal to my credit card company, B of A, who is a partner with Hawaiian Airlines to refund unathorized charges and do something about the additional $571 per ticket they addes when we missed out flight due to a taxi tire blow out.

The remote customer service in the Philippines is terrible and does nothing to help, they must be incentivized to charge as much as possible. I am faxing all my info to the Hawaiian Airlines customer service office in Honolulu..may be someone can respond.

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