Long time reader, but first time poster.
Secondly, I didn't want to re-post the entire thing - but - wow! What an opening post. Very, very, very insightful. Here's to hoping to hearing more about such a fascinating (and somewhat misunderstood by tourists, like me - admittedly, from time to time...).
I, however, choose not to fly HA when they started getting infected with the plague called Legacy Carrier Syndrome.
When Hawaiian first received their DigiPlayers (remember those??) they were for rent for $10 dollars as I recall for a Mainland to Hawaii flight in Economy. Given the newness of the technology at the time, I thought it was reasonable. When time passed and parity with the other carriers meant that they were providing PTVs built into the aircraft, Hawaiian was still charging a whopping fee for a five hour flight.
After this, I started prioritizing Delta for my mainland trips with the occasional Hawaiian trips.
Thank you for not only providing your logic, buyt the evidence and progressing of not only time (but the evolutions within it). As someone trying to understand, conceptually why you made that decision - it was delicately yet intelligently well enough said that I got it, in a non-confrontational, and calm place. Too often, contemporarily, it would have been offered as 'they suck', and little else. Though these forums can bruise, I'm happy to see someone explain this well. Speaking to the responses that I have received so far, on this topic - the Hawaiian members/crew make are humbling to speak to. So much experience, so much diversity (in the operational challenges that exist), so many development, so much to see, learn and hear from. After this is done - I would relish a 'Hawaiian changes' thread - you know, connecting people and personal histories to show how one of the most dynamic markets in the World, not only changes, but adapts and progresses.
Reading the story of this man and his blanket story, I can relate, and I am even surprised to it, as my parents are getting up in age, it could have been them in that situation. . Then for them to not diffuse the situation shows incompetence in the lack of a macro view on the reputational damage that this could due to this event. It was a blanket. It was an elderly passenger.
We all are, and surprisingly few of us are actually orphans. I mean, as a nation - we are getting older. It's never good to be on the cutting edge of economics, when it compromises services in a way that outweighs that economic benefit. I mean, I get it - margains are tight. Everyone who has the capability - flies to Hawaii, and HA has to compete against that - and scratch out a premium, enough so to make it their bread and butter. That said, there are other options. As you have demonstrated, despite being 'inconvenient' - you went out of you way, to avoid HA (via the DL trip to OGG), and even then got 'bitten'. It's a black eye of publicity - sadly, against an 'old man'. Those 'old people' are likely the most profitable segment of the population, within which to market the "Hawaiian Experience". The others, are probably so well vested at other carriers, that they can avoid HA with other carriers. How sad, that a story like this, only furthers a wedge. Even now, the airline should be 'ahead' of this debacle - because it only strengthens the positions of competitors. HA has quite ambitious plans for the future, and honestly - if they can 'soften' a smidge - could be the legacy carrier, at the top - when it competes. The reality here is that by capitalizing upon the 'stereotypes' of Hawaiian culture (being warm, caring, hospitable, 'no-hassle'), they could actually use the benefits they have worked so hard on (by being fiscally conservative in the key areas, and surrendering these obvious money grabs) to propel a fascinating future. I mean, being 'Hawaiian' might be something more equitable if people viewed that against the competition; AA, UA, DL (and the HD 777s coming) - and would be profitable enough to 'price in' all the fixings. As is, though - a much more prudent solution, is to keep some of the old blankets (or, hell, some cheap, thin, blankets) on hand, for every flight. Not everyone one will need one, the competitors offer it anyway, and this way you save the next black eye. Secretly roll it out, and roll on.
It’s not like Hawaiian bills itself as a LCC. It is a full-service carrier. Every other carrier has Blankets (if you ask if it isn’t on your seat already). It boggles the mind why they would cut such an insignificant service. I hope it was worth it for Hawaiian. Diversion and all. It is a disgrace to the Pualani on the tail. They are degenerating to the level of the legacies in the 2000s, when the legacies are improving their service, and empowering their flight attendants to prioritize leeway instead of headway. I doubt you will have a legacy divert a plan, make 200 passengers miss their scheduled whatever.
Ok, so this brings up an interesting point for me. As was broadly reported, he contacted the customer service line, in-flight.
Here's another failure, demonstrated;
1). If I were that agent, I would have related, calmed him a bit (help with diffusing the situation). I would have actually held him on the line (prolounged that interaction, so as to have him cool down a little more - and pass the time a little). While doing so, sign him up for Pualani - and explain that he now has a:
thus, instant bonus of the membership and hopefully (God Bless the A330!) keep him occupied/distracted for a few hours.
Then, work with a supervisor to credit him some points (bonus, can only be used on HA, and can expire, and has black out dates...). That's precluding that the agent can't use those point to purchase amenities onboard. If anything, you do want to keep him as a client, and at least give HA another opportunity to better his experience. You assure him that this is a policy, but that we will work on fixing it. More importantly, we want to work to better his experience, right now. I know that this sounds extreme, but I've turned worse situations around - and done more. A stellar agent, or a decent supervisor, could have offered more. For the very least, now you have a line of contact - and an ability to 'make it right'. The last thing you want is him never flying you again (and poising the well of others who will). Well, precluding a landing, and a media opportunity to 'accurately' report.
People are disparaging this man for wearing a hoodie, and jeans. I wonder if Mark Zuckerberg would be impressed. Hell, this man could have been worth millions, maybe not - this is America. While the agent had him on the phone, ask what the issue was. Does he not have cash? They only take CCs? Does he not have one? https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/hawaiianmiles/credit-card
, hint hint - wink, wink. Credit to a credit card. Hell, he ended up having to purchase another ticket, to fly that same day.
"Same-day, one way?
Go ahead sir, spend away...
Your first $1000 nets 35K."
(and yes, that rhymed).
Sure, the CC is pie-in-the-sky - but yet, another option. It would have been less costly, than a diversion.
Hell, I would have booked him on HA the same day, in Main Cabin Extra (and, as the station manager, or customer service manager - hand him the blanket personally, at the gate, to shut any further complaints). Have a discussion with the crew, privately, and let that crew determine if they want him to fly - and if so, what guidelines need to be set up. Again, calm him down, diffuse, inform the new crew and use the 'legacy' to smooth the rough edges. The last thing you want, is him talking to the press. Or worse, if he "can you hear me now..." for a competitor?