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Aloha Air Calls It Quits After 60 Years

Following 60 years in business, Aloha Air will end passenger service today after seeing repeated losses once Mesa’s go! entered the market with fares that were cheap and completely unsustainable. Aloha saw competitors come and go over the years (Princeville Airways? Mid-Pacific Airlines?), but the combination of high fuel and $19 fares meant the end was inevitable. Sadly, it also means the end of one of the great throwback liveries, seen here.

On a personal note, Aloha’s demise is sad as well, as my first trip far from home was taken, in part on Aloha. At 14 I went to Kauai with my father, and we took the short hop from Honolulu to Lihue on Aloha. I had always been a nerd of the airline variety, and the idea of flying an airline that sounded as exotic as Aloha seemed inconceivable to me. When you’re 14, Hawaii seemed like the ends of the earth — when my father had gone there in prior years, his phone calls took on an other-worldly quality, with a 5 second delay between his speaking, and my hearing his voice. And when he’d call and say “good morning” even though it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon at our home in New Jersey, it seemed all the more a destination that was beyond my comprehension.

But my getting older, coupled with technology advances, makes Hawaii seem far, far closer. Everywhere is far, far closer than it is when you’re 14, and I think one of the reasons of my love of travel is chasing that feeling I had when that Continental 747 landed at LAX on the way to Honolulu, marking my first time in California and really, my first time outside of the northeast (and Florida, which is like the northeast, only warmer). After several hundred thousand miles and trips to obscure places for the sake of making a trip to an obscure place, it’s obvious that I’ll never re-capture the feeling of seeing Encounter at LAX for the first time.

Aloha represented part of that for me. A trip to a place that seemed in another world on an airline that only existed in that blip in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. That 17 minute trip set off a lifetime of travel that is one of my great passions. Aloha represented all of that for me. And I know that no 14 year old is getting jazzed up about his first trip on go!.   I’m sure this is how many people felt about Pan Am, as it represented their first times seeing the world.  And how much more painful it was for those folks as they saw the once-great livery plying the Trenton-Portsmouth route on the latest incarnation.  Let’s hope Aloha can retire with some dignity intact.

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  1. So sad, and makes me so angry! I mean an airline that has been around for 60 years, with great service and such, being pushed out but some ugly company that has no Hawaiian roots. AND, who wants to fly an RJ with barely any carry-on room compared to a 737 when you are a pleasure traveller, as most of their pax were. Good bye Aloha.

  2. Same here. Aloha is part of the good old “jet set” days when we dreamed about flying. And I did fly them before GO arrived. And they had very good airfares so it’s not like a dinosaur just got kicked off the island. We paid 89$ each way which we thought was really cheap and convenient. We loved them. A 737 sure is better than an RJ. The state will need to make sure that other planes provide service to the islands because you can’t carry much more than a couple of bags in a RJ. With all the volcanologist and other people needing to carry lots of gear, they need to make sure that there is enough service on bigger planes. Otherwise, this is going to be a big problem. On the flight we were on, many people had big crates and gear that surely wouldn’t fit on a RJ…
    Pierre

  3. I loved flying on Aloha inside the Hawaiian market. I loved their crews, their service, their planes. I’ll miss the “Island Punch” and the friendly way it was presented. I’ll miss the youngsters (Flight Attendant Explorers) high schoolers learning a trade that was done with honor.

    I will miss Aloha, it was truly something very Hawaii. It makes me really sad that the next time I travel to the islands my inner-island hop may be on the notorious airline group of satan himself, the Mesa Group.

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