Hawaiian Airlines cancelled 4 hours before departure, and Costco Travel couldn’t find another flight! Help!

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#1
My issue is with Hawaiian Airlines. My story begins back in December of 2017 as I was preparing plans to celebrate my mother’s 65th birthday, which she celebrated on 2-Sept-2018. I have no children, and like to think I live frugally which is why I wanted to surprise her with a trip/experience of a lifetime. She and my step-father decided to travel to the Hawaiian Island of Maui, as they have never been to Hawaii at all. Coincidentally, my mother has a “birthday twin” that she attended high school with, and is still close friends with her, even though we live in Wichita Kansas and she in San Diego. My personal thought of “Threes a crowd, so four makes a party”, I also offered to pay for my mom’s dear retired work friend, to go with them, also I just wanted another male to go along so my poor step-dad wouldn’t drown in a sea of estrogen!
My mom and I agreed to book through Costco Travel the resort, flight, and rental car on 30-Dec-2017, with the trip paid in full on 22-Feb-2018. Come August of 2018, my mother's friend drove from Little Rock to Wichita. My mom, my step-father, and my mom’s work friends flew from Wichita to San Diego to pick up my mom’s “birthday twin” on 30-Aug-2018. All’s well so far. On 31-Aug-2018 I get a call from Hawaiian Airlines accommodation desk at 5:55am CDT, making it 3:55am PDT that my parents’ along with their two friends flight had been cancelled, only 4 hours and 15 minutes prior to departure! They were scheduled to fly out on Hawaiian Airlines Flight 37 at 8:15am that morning. Fearing this was a scam, I checked San Diego’s Airport website to verify that this was true, and much to my dismay, it was.
I’m glad I don’t have a home blood pressure machine, because the readings probably would have sent me to the emergency department! Now, I am stuck with finding airfare for four sexagenarians, two of which are handicapped, which is why we booked the birthday vacation so far in advance. One must sit on the right side of the plane in an aisle seat so he can stretch his leg out due to a knee replacement. Another must have a seat on the left side of the plane with an aisle seat, just she has issues with her left leg.
I spoke with 4 accommodation desk representatives that morning (that I can remember, as I am in a blind rage now) pleading for resolve and answers other than, “shortage of aircraft, and no other flights were departing from San Diego” on 31-August-2018. I was told that since the booking was done through a travel agency, they would be the ones to help me, therefore I called Costco Travel around 6:30am CDT. Of course Costco Travel does not open until 6:00am Pacific Time. Feeling defeated and, paralyzed by such news, I had to call my mother and inform her of the news.
The voicemail left by the accommodation desk of Hawaiian Airlines informed me that that there was the option of changing the date of the flight within 14 days, “Based on Availability”, meaning that my folks’ vacation would have been delayed, as well as losing out on the resort and activities they had planned for their vacation, if there was even any availability at all to get all four of them out on the same flight.
I was able to find a flight through United, Flight 1749 that was able to get everyone from San Diego to Maui, not before stopping off in San Francisco. So what should have been a 6 hour non-stop flight from San Diego to Maui, turned into a 9 and a half hour flight with a layover, and a price tag addition of $8033.16USD
Costco Travel did reimburse me the initial cost of the flight of $2267.56, leaving me with a balance to choke down of $5765.60. The Costco Travel agent, noted that I paid with a Costco Credit Card for all transactions for this vacation and recommended I call their benefits desk because I have “Trip Cancellation and Interruption Protection” on my card.
The reason I am reaching out to you and your team, is I have been trying to resolve this issue directly with Hawaiian Airlines and my credit card company. I received my denial letter from Citi on 4-Sept-2018. My claim request was to reimburse me the difference of what I paid for getting my parents’ and their friends on a United flight with last minute fare prices, minus what Costco had paid me back for the cancellation of Flight 37 and the return flight 38 which was set to leave Maui on 6-Sept-2018 at 12:50pm. The reason for denial was “The loss you are claiming is not covered under the program, per the Terms and Conditions”. I did receive a “How Did We Do?” e-mail from Citi, for which I reminded them that they have a retainer of brilliant legal minds and COULD reimburse me, then they could go after Hawaiian Airlines to recoup their money. No response from Citi.
In regards to Hawaiian Airlines, I have snail-mailed 2 letters to the company’s CEO, addressed in Honolulu with three e-mails sent to them as well. My response was from Stephanie Smith, the Resolution Coordinator. She sent me back an e-mail with verbiage of “valued guest” and “inconvenienced by our cancelled flight”. Their solution to pacify this action was to give each of the passengers a $200.00USD voucher...(hand palm to face). One, this is more than an “inconvenience for my parents and their friends”. Two,I looked on Hawaiian Airlines website to see what booking a flight with them directly would be. A “refundable fare” through Hawaiian Air is $2620.81 leaving from LAX to Maui, as I now know, never to book a non refundable flight from ANY airline. Being offered less than 10% of what a flight will cost is a slap in my face. I have since, sent another e-mail along with a letter to Stephanie informing her that this offer is unacceptable, and frankly insulting.
So, Mr Elliot, I am stuck with two 65 year old ladies and a 62 and a 63 year old gentlemen that missed out on an entire day of their dream vacation due to a flight cancellation quoting “shortage of aircraft”, as well as my Christmas Club funds that get saved every year for gifts (and then some). Again, I have no children of my own, but that does not mean the money goes unused.
As mentioned above, you asked for my occupation, I listed that I am a registered nurse, and have been a bedside RN for 13 years. I work at the V.A. Hospital in Wichita Kansas. In my early years as a bedside healthcare worker I was told something that has stuck with me throughout the years and it goes like this, “You can have 10,000 ‘atta boys’, but it’s that one (explative removes by moderator)
moment where your have to go above and beyond to appease your patients and/or their families” Please help me convince Hawaiian Airlines, Citi, or even Costco that THIS is their (explative removes by moderator) moment, and it’s their turn to make it right.
I appreciate your time in reading this long post. Any suggestions of where I can go fro here is appreciated. Thanks you..
 
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Neil Maley

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#2
Ah the drawbacks of buying travel through a company that sells toilet paper in bulk.

When you book with a travel agency, the airlines won’t deal with you. Costco owns the reservation and they should have been the ones to rebook the tickets. They should have found new flights.

When a flight is canceled, the airline has to do one of two things- get you in the next flight with enough seats (which can be days away) or provide you with th a refund.

If the next available flights weren’t acceptable from Hawaiian, all they owe you is a refund of your origina flight costs, which Costco apparently gave you. Did Hawaiian Airlines offer you flights the next day? What did they tell you about the soonest they could rebook you? If they could get you in a day later, insurance should have picked up the day you missed.

Once you took it upon yourself to rebook flights instead of going through Costco, you took the responsibility off who it belonged to and you aren’t due a refund of the difference. Why didn’t you let Costco find new flights? That was their responsibility.

Did the insurance you bought through Costco have coverage for flight interruption or cancellation? Do you have a link to the policy we can see? You can appeal a declination if a claim and we might be able to help you fight back if we saw the policy and you tell us exactly what the declination said. We need to see the terms they are referring to.

Here are the DOT passenger rights :
https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#3
Hawaiian has one non-stop flight per day from San Diego to Maui, but also has a flight from San Diego to Honolulu departing 10:15 AM with a connection to Maui. This has a 1hr 30 min layover arriving in Maui around 3:40 PM. Were you offered this alternative by Costco or the airline? This would have solved your problem. The San Diego Maui fight is on an A321, the San Diego Honolulu on an A330 likely with empty seats.
 
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#4
Hawaiian has one non-stop flight per day from San Diego to Maui, but also has a flight from San Diego to Honolulu departing 10:15 AM with a connection to Maui. This has a 1hr 30 min layover arriving in Maui around 3:40 PM. Were you offered this alternative by Costco or the airline? This would have solved your problem. The San Diego Maui fight is on an A321, the San Diego Honolulu on an A330 likely with empty seats.
No. When I spoke to the accommodation desk representative, I was informed that no other flights were departing from San Diego on 31-Aug-2018. Because I had booked through Costco Travel, Hawaiian Airlines informed me that all decisions needed to be done through Costco. So, a question I have is, why if all things were needed to be done through Costco, why were they calling me directly? Should Hawaiian Airlines called Costco directly to inform them of the cancellation and the need of their travel company make other arrangements? I did call Costco Travel during their opening hours, the only other flights that were offered to me were through Alaskan Air, and they did not have enough seats to accommodate the party of four, and the Hawaiian Airlines Flight from San Diego to Honolulu, then to Maui was never even offered to me by either company.
 

Neil Maley

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#5
Did they tell you they had a flight the next day you could have been put on? The airline let you know because at the late time frame, their email to Costco about the flight wouldn't have gotten to you in time. Did you ask Costco about getting you out the next day? Did you ask them about the United flights?

Once you booked the flights on your own, you ended the obligation of Hawaiian to put you on another one of their flights for even the bext day, and you ended Costco's responsibility to find you new flights.
 
Likes: jsmithw
#6
Ah the drawbacks of buying travel through a company that sells toilet paper in bulk.

When you book with a travel agency, the airlines won’t deal with you. Costco owns the reservation and they should have been the ones to rebook the tickets. They should have found new flights.

When a flight is canceled, the airline has to do one of two things- get you in the next flight with enough seats (which can be days away) or provide you with th a refund.

If the next available flights weren’t acceptable from Hawaiian, all they owe you is a refund of your origina flight costs, which Costco apparently gave you. Did Hawaiian Airlines offer you flights the next day? What did they tell you about the soonest they could rebook you? If they could get you in a day later, insurance should have picked up the day you missed.

Once you took it upon yourself to rebook flights instead of going through Costco, you took the responsibility off who it belonged to and you aren’t due a refund of the difference. Why didn’t you let Costco find new flights? That was their responsibility.

Did the insurance you bought through Costco have coverage for flight interruption or cancellation? Do you have a link to the policy we can see? You can appeal a declination if a claim and we might be able to help you fight back if we saw the policy and you tell us exactly what the declination said. We need to see the terms they are referring to.

Here are the DOT passenger rights :
https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights
Yes. Mr. Maley my Costco Citi card does have Trip Cancellation and Interuption Protection. I found the coverage through Google at www.cardbenefits.com and on page 6 it begins the coverage of what is covered with the plan. In the letter I was sent from Costo Citi card, there are states listed to file an appeal, but Kansas is not one listed. As to the situation of me taking it upon myself to rebook the flights, when speaking with 4 different accommodation desk representatives being told they could only cancel the flight or have Costco “take care of it”, I guess I am just a stupid girl from Kansas who worked hard to send her parents and their two friends on a dream vacation. I do a lot for myself and others because I have learned people cannot be trusted to help, even when it is their responsibility.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#7
Costco had ample time to find flights to Maui on 31-Aug since the cancelation notification was very early AM PDT and departure was from San Diego. There are three ways to get to Maui from San Diego. Non-stop as you were booked (limited flights on a smaller plane), or fly to Honolulu and take Hawaiian inter-island, or fly from San Diego to one of many west coast cities like LAX, SFO, etc and then non--stop to Maui.
All the options except the non-stop from San Diego were available that AM. If Costco Travel could not/did not provide you with any of those options you need to start emailing (not calling) Costco Travel and find out what they will do for you. They are your travel agent. As Neil says, when you went ahead and booked other flights without Costco Travel involvement, you have made the situation much more complicated and difficult.
Costco travel hours:
While Traveling
Monday - Friday 5 a.m. - 9 p.m. PDT
Saturday - Sunday 6 a.m. - 9 p.m.
 
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#8
Costco had ample time to find flights to Maui on 31-Aug since the cancelation notification was very early AM PDT and departure was from San Diego. There are three ways to get to Maui from San Diego. Non-stop as you were booked (limited flights on a smaller plane), or fly to Honolulu and take Hawaiian inter-island, or fly from San Diego to one of many west coast cities like LAX, SFO, etc and then non--stop to Maui.
All the options except the non-stop from San Diego were available that AM. If Costco Travel could not/did not provide you with any of those options you need to start emailing (not calling) Costco Travel and find out what they will do for you. They are your travel agent. As Neil says, when you went ahead and booked other flights without Costco Travel involvement, you have made the situation much more complicated and difficult.
Thank you weihlac for reminding me how stupid and gullible I am.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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#11
@arcourtney, I don't believe anyone is trying to make you feel, in your words, stupid or gullible. The people who help on this site are simply realists and do their best to help others untangle situations and navigate the road to resolution.

I completely understand your desire to get your parents and friends to Hawaii so they wouldn't miss out on a day of vacation and planned activities. I know from my perspective, though, I'd be hard pressed to spend almost $6k more just to 'save' that one day and instead, just wait the time needed to get Costco travel on the phone and let them fix the situation. I'm sure despite the disappointment of missing out on a day, your parents and friends would still have enjoyed the gift you arranged for them.

The important takeaway here is that any time you book travel, whatever entity you choose to use (be it directly with the airline/hotel or a third-party provider), THAT is the business you must deal with when a problem arises. Choosing to take the reins and solve it yourself permits the other party to just say "you didn't give us a chance".
 

Neil Maley

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#12
Thank you weihlac for reminding me how stupid and gullible I am.
You are NOT stupid and gullible. When you book through and agency, they have to be the ones you go to and have them fix the problem. You jujst are an inexperienced traveler and do what you thought you needed to do - but unfortunately, it hurt you. There were alternatives - they could have put you on flights the next day if there were none available.

We are merely telling you how things work. A real travel agent would have taken care of this for you - Costco is good at groceries, but not at travel. The reps. told you that Costco should handle it - thats who needed to have taken care of rebooking you.

The link you gave to the insurance, cardbenefits.com doesn't show the policy. It takes me to a blank GoDaddy page.
It doesn't matter that you are in Kansas - if you are turned down on a claim you have the right to appeal. If you can get us to the actual page to read the policy, maybe we can help you come up with a reason to appeal. It can be simple wording in your claim that caused a declination and we might be abel to help re-word it.
 
Likes: Tanya
Mar 14, 2018
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#13
You are NOT stupid and gullible. When you book through and agency, they have to be the ones you go to and have them fix the problem. There were alternatives - they could have put you on flights the next day if there were none available.

We are merely telling you how things work. A real travel agent would have taken care of this for you - Costco is good at groceries, but not at travel. The reps. told you that Costco should handle it - thats who needed to have taken care of rebooking you.

The link you gave to the insurance, cardbenefits.com doesn't show the policy. It takes me to a blank GoDaddy page.
It doesn't matter that you are in Kansas - if you are turned down on a claim you have the right to appeal. If you can get us to the actual page to read the policy, maybe we can help you come up with a reason to appeal. It can be simple wording in your claim that caused a declination and we might be abel to help re-word it.
Here's the link to the costco visa benefits: https://www.cardbenefits.citi.com/~/media/CPP/Files/LegalDocs/SOAPI/CostcoCon.ashx

Looks like it isn't a covered reason to me. They only cover illness and personal matters, weather, mandatory evacuations and terrorism.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#14
Thank you weihlac for reminding me how stupid and gullible I am.
Oh Courtney, this is indeed a disaster. We get posts often with all kinds of awful words in the title ... which turn out to be just inconvenience. What you went through is definitely a disaster. Travellers today (even people who fly often) are not aware of all philosophical changes at the airlines over the last few years. Airlines now are interested only in making money and the old ways of taking care of passengers are gone. The airlines were the culprits when they stopped paying TAs commissions, and now they're on a roll to force the public to deal directly with them.

And how are you to know this? Believe me, my colleagues don't think badly of our OPs, but are eager to lay out any possible solutions by presenting you with the facts. We are here to discover ways to mitigate the pain. They have detailed all the things that went wrong here, so now you know about travel agencies vs airlines vs daughters vs parents on a beautiful birthday trip.

I would ask you to make a concise list, in chronological order, of the facts. No emotion, no supposition, just the facts as they happened. I don't know what we can advise you, but we will surely try. When it comes to airlines, the devil's in the details, so it's important that we see a clear picture of this ordeal.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Sep 16, 2018
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#15
I don't understand the gratuitous shade for Costco. They were not given a chance to rectify the situation. They have more experience and more clout than your average travel agency and they do it for less. This lady could have purchased travel insurance which Costco offers during the booking process. I love doing business with Costco.
 
Likes: Mel65

Neil Maley

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#16
I don't understand the gratuitous shade for Costco. They were not given a chance to rectify the situation. They have more experience and more clout than your average travel agency and they do it for less. This lady could have purchased travel insurance which Costco offers during the booking process. I love doing business with Costco.
She did go the Costco:

“The only other flights that were offered to me were through Alaskan Air, and they did not have enough seats to accommodate the party of four, and the Hawaiian Airlines Flight from San Diego to Honolulu, then to Maui was never even offered to me by either company.”
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#17
I don't understand the gratuitous shade for Costco. They were not given a chance to rectify the situation. They have more experience and more clout than your average travel agency and they do it for less. This lady could have purchased travel insurance which Costco offers during the booking process. I love doing business with Costco.
Everybody loves doing business with Costco, Mike, but I'll bet some of their services are contracted out. Shopping for goods with them is great, but I'm not so sure about the other services. We had a post here a couple of years ago with a Royal Caribbean cruise booked through Costco ... it was an absolute nightmare for our OP. It seemed clear to us that Costco travel had dropped the ball, but it took weeks and months to get it all cleared up. Our OP received many goodies from RCCL and Costco, because they had indeed done a terrible job being her travel agent.
 
Sep 16, 2018
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#18
Everybody loves doing business with Costco, Mike, but I'll bet some of their services are contracted out. Shopping for goods with them is great, but I'm not so sure about the other services. We had a post here a couple of years ago with a Royal Caribbean cruise booked through Costco ... it was an absolute nightmare for our OP. It seemed clear to us that Costco travel had dropped the ball, but it took weeks and months to get it all cleared up. Our OP received many goodies from RCCL and Costco, because they had indeed done a terrible job being her travel agent.
Wow, a couple of years ago. Costco does tens of thousands of transactions and you find one from a couple of years ago?
Btw, the lady did not contact Costco that morning because they were not open yet.
 

Neil Maley

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#19
Mike, glad you have had good experiences with Costco. But we are here for people who have problems they need help with. We have had many people come here with problems with Costco. We are here to help those and when we see problems with a particular travel supplier- we post it as it is.

In this case, Costco wasn’t at fault- the writer didn’t follow the proper chain to get the flights rebooked and we’ve told her that.
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 16, 2018
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#20
Mike, glad you have had good experiences with Costco. But we are here for people who have problems they need help with. We have had many people come here with problems with Costco. We are here to help those and when we see problems with a particular travel supplier- we post it as it is.

In this case, Costco wasn’t at fault- the writer didn’t follow the proper chain to get the flights rebooked and we’ve told her that.
Exactly my point.