The `Ohana Pages

Welcome to the Hawaiian Airlines family! On these pages you’ll find out what’s new with our ‘ohana and learn about our efforts to support a wide variety of community causes.

In With the New

In March, Hawaiian Airlines’ interisland flights took on a new look, thanks to several interior design changes. Featuring an island-inspired motif and new main-cabin seating, the updated B717 interiors are intended to evoke high-performance automotive design, in keeping with the fast and reliable service of Hawaiian’s twenty-to-sixty-minute interisland flights. The new seatbacks offer a “tablet table” machined from solid aluminum, sized and designed for complimentary beverage service and the use of a tablet device. Meanwhile, the interior color palette connects travelers with our island environment through earth tones, a deep aqua seat and accents of fuchsia and sky blue. Contrast stitching in the upholstery brings out natural forms of the Islands, while other design elements include new seat covers and leather arm caps in First Class; new carpeting, galley flooring and curtains; and new forward windows on certain aircraft.

“These new, modern design elements rejuvenate the interiors of our Boeing 717s while allowing us to deliver a consistent onboard experience for our guests,” said Peter Ingram, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. “The new lightweight seats are engineered to ensure a maximum amount of personal space without compromising legroom or comfort.”

The B717 retrofits will be ongoing throughout 2015, with eighteen aircraft receiving the new interiors and 128-seat configurations.

Honoring Excellence

Congratulations to Hawaiian Airlines’ 2014 Employee of the Year, Curtis Balingit! Curtis, who serves as senior manager of Ground Service Equipment (GSE), was chosen to receive the company’s highest individual honor from a field of sixteen employees who received a Kūpono Award last year in recognition of their exceptional service. The announcement was made last January at the annual employee recognition banquet. “Curtis is the type of employee that we should all strive to be,” said Alisa Onishi, the airline’s director of brand management, who conominated him for his initial Kūpono Award. “His resolve to take on any challenge with a positive attitude is inspiring to others.”

For the past fifteen years, in addition to maintaining and repairing the GSE at our five Hawai‘i bases, Curtis and his team have built the frames for the airline’s award-winning parade floats. It’s hard work that the GSE crew often handles after normal business hours.

At the banquet, President and CEO Mark Dunkerley presented Curtis with a check for $5,000 and tickets to Super Bowl XLIX. The next day, Curtis still couldn’t believe he had received the award. “I’m totally blown away,” he said. “I appreciate the recognition, but I don’t think I’m doing anything special; I’m just doing my job.”

Sharing the Knowledge

A crowd of eighty-plus people gathered at Hawaiian Airlines’ Corporate Headquarters on O‘ahu last March to participate in the latest installation of ‘Imi ‘Ike (“to seek knowledge”), a series of “brown bag” sessions in which employees share their wisdom and talents. The subject of the March gathering was the Hawaiian art of lei hulu, or feather lei making, a painstaking art that in earlier times produced lei and other garments of such value that they were only worn by Hawaiian ali‘i. The March event drew employees from the neighbor islands and the west coast just to hear flight attendant Kawika Lum and lei-maker Mele Kahalepuna-Chun discuss their art. Mele is a third generation master feather artisan who operates an O‘ahu shop and school—Aunty Mary Lou’s Nā Lima Mili Hulu No‘eau—that was established by Mary Lou Kekuewa and Paulette Kekuewa Kahalepuna, Mele’s grandmother and mother. Kawika, meanwhile, is himself a highly-regarded practitioner.

“After Kawika and Mele discussed the process involved in making lei hulu and the patience and concentration it requires, I thought to myself that if I can learn the art of hula, then I can learn how to make another lei hulu,” said Phyllicia Wachi, who is an administrative assistant in the airline’s Maintenance & Engineering department. “I made my first lei hulu when I was fifteen years old and have always wanted to make another one, but didn’t know who in the community taught individuals the craft. I will be contacting Mele soon to take a class with her!”

Style and Support

If you’re looking for a Hawai‘i themed gift, want to support the worldwide voyage of Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia or merely want to up your personal style game, look no further than Hawaiian Airlines’ online logo shop. The site currently hosts three collections—“Hawaiian,” which includes clothing, travel accessories and collectibles; “Heritage,” which features designs from several different eras in the airline’s eighty-five year history and “Mālama Honua,” which celebrates the incredible, four-year odyssey of Hawai‘i’s celebrated sailing canoes. A portion of all proceeds from Mālama Honua Collection sales go to the Polynesian Voyaging Society—for more information or to shop online, visit