Say Aloha To Aloha Airlines

(AP Photo/Lucy Pemoni, File)
In case you missed it, Hawaii-based Aloha Airlines went out of business earlier this week, leaving lots of passengers holding the proverbial bag (or worthless tickets, in this case), frequent flyer accounts turned to dust, and 1,900 employees out of work. Passengers are scrambling to book seats on Hawaiian Airlines and the newcomer, go!, for inter-island flights, and United for mainland flights that had been booked on Aloha. Aloha had been carrying 11,000 to 13,000 passengers daily between the islands, and that leaves a lot of people stuck holding their beach bags full of sunscreen lotion and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts, wondering how they'll ever get to Maui or the Big Island.

As a writer and former resident of Hawaii, I'm sorry to see it go. Founded in 1946, Aloha provided a kind of lesser-of-two-evils alternative to inter-island transportation in the days when it was only Aloha and Hawaiian serving the inter-island passenger market. You would use one of the carriers, Hawaiian or Aloha, until their lackluster customer service or poor on-time performance drove you crazy, and then switch to the other one, vowing that you'd never go back. And then a year later, you'd get fed up with the new one and go back.

As a writer, the Aloha Airlines in-flight magazine was an outlet for a lot of good work from Hawaii-based writers, and a place that many of us could depend on making a few bucks when other wells ran dry. I'm sorry to see it go, and now our clips from the Aloha Airlines magazine will be collectors' items.

The entry in 2006 of Arizona-based go! into the inter-island market, combined with rising gas prices, finally grounded Aloha. As the last planes come into the hangars, and the bankruptcy lawyers pick over the carcass, please join me in song as we serenade the grounded airline: "Aloha oe, aloha oe, until we meet again."