Why flying in Hawaii is no ticket to paradise right now

Christine Hitt

On a Hawaiian Airlines flight from Kahului, Maui, to Honolulu in March, I was stuck on the tarmac for 45 minutes before the air traffic controller let us depart. Last month, I had a connecting flight out of Kahului, and I had to wait an extra 50 minutes at the gate before we were told to board. While I sat there, I watched flight after flight being delayed like an unending chain reaction. 

Getting into the air isn’t the end of it though. When we arrived in Honolulu, we had to wait an extra 15 minutes for a gate to open. Then when I arrived at my car rental agency, it took an hour and a half to get through the line, caused by flights unexpectedly arriving at the same time.

The delays are a result of a much-needed airport modernization project. It’s a statewide program that is making improvements to all of Hawaii’s airports.

According to the FAA, Kahului Airport on Maui is “experiencing taxi delays of 16 to 45 minutes and/or arrivals are experiencing airborne holding delays of 16 to 45 minutes.” Delays at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye Airport on Oahu is ranging about 15 minutes. 

Searches on FlightAware for May 10 showed 90 delays at Inouye, 36 delays at Kahului and 15 at Lihue Airport on Kauai.

Travelers should plan accordingly, especially those with connecting flights.

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