United, Hawaiian offer help but no guarantees to Aloha passengers


While Aloha Airlines customers won’t be stranded, those with reservations for future flights or who want a refund will face some challenges.

Aloha said passengers with confirmed reservations for travel after March 31 should contact its code-share partner, United Airlines, or Hawaiian Airlines, which has offered to honor Aloha tickets on a first-come, first-served basis through April 3.

But passengers should probably be ready to be flexible with travel dates and times and possibly destinations, especially if heading to the Mainland. Also prepare for some wait-time on the phone with various airlines’ customer service agents; your reservations may not be able to be processed online.

Hawaiian Airlines said it has a special link on its Web site (hawaiianairlines.com) for Aloha passengers or they can call 1-877-892-8896 for a recorded message.

While promising to honor Aloha ticket-holders this week, Hawaiian said travel is on standby and for only one trip at a time; roundtrips aren’t guaranteed.

“Due to the expected high demand for seats, standby travelers are not asured of receiving a confirmed boarding that meets their desired travel schedule,” Hawaiian said.

What about a refund? On its Web site, Aloha says only to “contact your travel agent or credit card company to request a refund.”

For those paying by check or cash, Aloha says you’ll have to file a claim with the bankruptcy court.

Customers who used miles in Aloha’s frequent flyer program, AlohaPass, to book travel awards on United will still get their free trips. (The AlohaPass MasterCards, issued by First Hawaiian Bank, are still good and will probably end up being collector’s items).

But for those with lots of miles in AlohaPass, you’re probably out of luck trying to redeem them. History shows that the miles expire with the airline and bankruptcy courts don’t look on accumulated miles or points as “debts.”