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New Hawaiian Air baggage policy effective June 1

fili@samoanews.com

Hawaiian Airlines does not expect its customers to be greatly affected by a new baggage procedure that goes into effect on Jun. 1 because, according to the airline, most of its passengers travel on single ticket itineraries.

The Honolulu-based carrier first announced the new baggage policy in January this year, with an effective date of May 1, but the airline delayed the implementation of the policy to June 1 “to minimize the effect on our guests,” Hawaiian said in a recent statement.

However, Samoa News has received e-mail inquiries from Samoans off-island after Honolulu based television stations reported on the new policy last week, with some saying that they had not heard of it before.

Samoans were particularly concerned on the impact this policy will have on travelers to and from American Samoa who are connecting on non-Hawaiian flights. The procedure change is in accordance with new U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) rules.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries on the impact this policy will have on passengers to and from American Samoa connecting in Honolulu, the airline’s spokesperson, Keoni Wagner said Hawaiian has adjusted its baggage procedures “to make sure we are not fined under new DOT rules that affect a very small number of travelers that book connections on separate tickets.”

“Baggage transfers for the overwhelming majority of our customers will see no change at all, because most people travel on single ticket itineraries,” said Wagner via e-mail from Honolulu last Friday.

Effective Jun. 1, Hawaiian will not through-check bags to other airlines’ flights unless Hawaiian and other airline segments are on the same ticket. Likewise, Hawaiian will prohibit other airlines from through-checking bags to Hawaiian Airlines flights unless they are booked on the same ticket, according to the airline’s baggage statement.

Hawaiian says it has ticketing agreements with many other domestic and international carriers that allow customers to purchase one ticket for all segments flown.

In other words, if the connecting flight is not on Hawaiian and the flight between Honolulu and the mainland (or an overseas destination) is booked separately from the Hawaiian Air ticket, passengers will have to retrieve their bags from baggage claim, go thru agriculture screening in Honolulu and recheck their bags, pay any baggage fees and then pass through security again, according to KHNL-TV in Honolulu.

However, if a passenger has booked connecting flights — all on Hawaiian Air — on separate tickets, Hawaiian says the baggage will be in its custody throughout the travel itinerary and subject only to Hawaiian’s baggage rules and fees.

“We will therefore happily through-check your bags to your final destination, assuming they comply with our rules for minimum connecting times,” the airline said and encouraged passengers who feel they are being negatively affected by this policy change to contact the airline.

In American Samoa the airline’s number is 699-1875 and in the U.S. call 888-246-8526.

Additional information on this policy is posted on www.hawaiianair.com



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