By Alfred Acenas
EBC Hawaii Bureau
HONOLULU (Eagle News) – As thousands of college students prepare to travel to Hawaiian islands for the fall semester, Hawaiian Airlines is hoping to ease their transition to campus life during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under a new travel assistance program, Hawaiian is offering students registered for fall classes at Chaminade University, Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) and the University of Hawaii (UH) a five percent fare discount on its transpacific flights, two complimentary checked bags, and a flexible booking policy on all flights. The airline will also match HawaiianMiles points that universities opt to purchase through the end of the year to provide additional travel support for students and their families.
“We are delighted to welcome onboard local, out-of-state, and international students attending Hawaii universities so they can arrive refreshed and ready to resume their studies or begin their higher education,” said Theo Panagiotoulias, senior vice president for global sales and alliances at Hawaiian Airlines. “We always look forward to bringing students to Hawaii at the start of a new semester, and it will be a specially rewarding experience for us this year.”
Collectively, Chaminade, HPU and UH anticipate some 8,000 students may benefit from the program, with more than 6,100 of them expected to arrive from the U.S. mainland and international destinations.
Students will enjoy discounted tickets and baggage allowances when booking travel at a special portal available via their universities through December 31. Understanding travel plans may change, students will also be able to reschedule flights without change fees.
“Our students are excited to return to campus for fall and, given that HPU students come from every state and numerous countries, this generous offer from Hawaiian Airlines will provide relief to many of our families,” said HPU President John Gotanda. “Moving steadily toward a more normal way of living here in Hawaii includes bringing back the university students who add so much to our community. We greatly appreciate Hawaiian Airlines’ commitment both to our broader community and to the HPU ‘ohana [family].”
“We are grateful for the manawaleʻa (generosity) Hawaiian Airlines has extended university students (and their families) to travel to Hawaii and continue their education,” said Chaminade University President Lynn Babington. “For many of our out-of-state, returning students, Hawaii is home and we are anxious to welcome them back to campus and reunite as ‘ohana. This program will provide much-needed savings, peace of mind and special consideration to our families as we learn to thrive in a new normal together.”
“The University of Hawaii is looking forward to welcoming back our out-of-state students in the fall,” said UH President David Lassner. “We are very grateful for the generosity of Hawaiian Airlines and their willingness to assist students and their families as they face unprecedented challenges in this new normal.”
Hawaiian Airlines, which currently offers daily nonstop flights between Honolulu and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Portland, will resume additional U.S. mainland routes later in July and in August. The airline continues to operate neighbor island flights between Honolulu (Oahu), Līhu‘e (Kauai), Kahului (Maui), Kona (Big Island), and Hilo (Big Island), as well as the smaller islands of Moloka‘i, and Lāna‘i. The airline also plans to restart international flights when countries begin reopening for travel.
Guests arriving at Hawaiian’s airport lobbies will notice layered health and safety protocols throughout their journey, including social distancing measures when checking in, boarding and in-flight, plexiglass shields at counters and podiums, and frequent cleaning of self-service kiosks and aircraft, including electrostatic disinfection of cabins.
Hawaiian Airlines is also encouraging travelers to check-in via its mobile app and is requiring all guests to wear a mask or face covering, except for young children and those unable to do so due to a medical condition.
(Eagle News Service)