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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Stranded travelers get break on air fees

 •  2nd dam failure feared

By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer

The state's major airlines said they plan to accommodate passengers stranded by yesterday's flooding on Kaua'i.

Aloha Airlines said it will waive any rescheduling fees for customers who missed their flights yesterday and today, while Hawaiian Airlines said it will waive its change fees for flights missed through tomorrow.

United Airlines said it will place passengers affected by the heavy rain on standby on the following flight at no extra charge.

"We try to accommodate our customers when they are affected by circumstances that are out of their control," said Stu Glauberman, Aloha's spokesman.

Heavy rain yesterday breached a dam at Kaloko Reservoir and caused water to cover a 100-yard swath of Kuhio Highway near Wailapa Road. Vehicles are unable to pass in either direction.

Hawaiian Airlines spokesman Keoni Wagner said the airline received several dozen inquiries from passengers who had been scheduled to fly in the last two days, but he said it's difficult to tell how many people were stranded by the flooding.

Hawaiian, which operates 15 daily flights to Kaua'i, normally charges customers $25 to make last-minute changes on interisland flights. But the airline usually waives such rescheduling charges in cases of natural disaster, Wagner said.

Aloha's Glauberman also said he could not estimate the number of customers affected by the rain. He said the airline, which operates 14 daily flights to Kaua'i, typically charges a $10 fee for making last-minute changes but will waive those charges in emergencies.

Robin Urbanski, United Airlines' spokeswoman, said that none of United's passengers were affected by yesterday's rain. United operates two daily flights to Los Angeles and two daily flights to San Francisco from Kaua'i.

In addition to United and the local airlines, US Airways operates four weekly flights to Kaua'i from Phoenix while American Airlines has one daily flight to Lihu'e Airport from Los Angeles.

US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder said the airline doesn't fly to Kaua'i on Tuesdays, so the issue of cancellations hadn't yet come up.

American Airlines officials could not be reached for comment.

Reach Rick Daysog at rdaysog@honoluluadvertiser.com.