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Flight To Hawaii Circled For Hours Before Returning Back To California

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) -- It was a frustrating day for passengers who boarded a flight Tuesday morning in San Jose and hoped to watch the sun set in Hawaii.

The Hawaiian Airlines flight took off Mineta San Jose Airport, but only went a couple hundred miles. And nowhere near the final destination of Honolulu.

Passenger Amari Thomas said, "This is not the Aloha vibe I was expecting."

Hawaiian Flight 43 was supposed to be landing in warm and sunny Honolulu. But after nearly four hours in the air, it landed right back where it took off from, chilly, landlocked San Jose.

The airline released this statement:

"HA43, scheduled to depart SJC at 9:10 a.m. local time this morning, was delayed until 11:21 a.m. due to a part replacement. En route to Honolulu, the captain received notification of a mechanical issue and elected to return to San Jose. The aircraft landed safely at 2:52 p.m. local time and maintenance is currently inspecting the aircraft. There are 241 passengers and 11 crew."

Passengers tell us there was trouble from the get go.

Crews repaired a generator, and the Boeing 767 eventually took off two hours late.

But about half an hour into the flight, the pilot announced that generator had failed again.

Passenger Renea Wood said, "So then we had to turn around and come back to San Jose and fly around for four hours to burn off fuel."

The satellite tracking image shows exactly that, the plane circled over and over again, over the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Monterey, making at least ten loops.

Passenger William Santos said, "You could see the land, you could see them turning around. Over and over again."

The passengers were told to leave the secure area to rebook their flights, with just a handful of ticketing agents.

Some were offered 1st class seats, others meals, still others got a hotel room.

The next flight to Hawaii leaves tomorrow.

Santos said she wasn't annoyed.

"No, it's travel. Frustrated, tired wished we were there, but it happens," she said.

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