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Spring break plans gone awry? HAL will waive fees and differences

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Hawaiian Airlines will waive change fees and fare differences “for our guests” in Pago Pago, whose Spring break plans were impacted by Tropical Storm Gita last month, said airline spokesperson Ann Botticelli.

More than a week ago, Samoa News received calls from local residents, unable to travel to Hawai’i because Spring break for public schools has been canceled for this year, as the local Department of Education aims to make up classroom session days that were lost when schools were closed due to the storm.

Two callers claim that money was paid in advance for tickets for travel to Hawai’i and the US mainland during Spring break, which is now cancelled. “We cannot travel and we asked Hawaiian Airlines for waivers [but] no success,” said one caller, while others claim they’ve been waiting for a reply from the airline.

Responding to Samoa News inquiries from Honolulu yesterday morning, Botticelli said, “We are providing waivers for those whose Spring break plans were impacted by the lingering effects of TS Gita.”

She explained, “We will waive change fees and fare differences for customers who booked travel between March 12 and March 30, 2018. This waiver is valid for rebooked travel departing up to June 30, 2018.

“If you're booked for travel after March 30, we will waive the change fee but charge the difference in fare. Customers should change their travel arrangements on/ before March 30 to receive the waiver,” she continued.

Public schools were closed Feb. 7 and 8 due to heavy rains and strong winds as a result of a monsoonal trough. The closure extended to Feb. 9 — after the announcement that Gita was heading to the territory. This was then followed by a week of closure as cleanup was being carried out and repairs made, due to damage by the storm.

Because of the many days the schools were closed, the last day of ASDOE classroom instruction for this school year will be June 15th instead of June 8th, Education director Dr. Ruth Matagi-Tofiga said late last month.

Samoa News should point out that Hawaiian Air has also given waivers to passengers whose travel plans were disrupted by Tropical Storm Gita on Feb. 9th.