Island Air’s shutdown leaves thousands of passengers in the lurch.
Many of them spent hundreds and even thousands of dollars on flights. They want to know how or even if they can get a refund.
Angel Monterde spent $1,040 on eight round-trip tickets.
“Are we going to have a flight out or are we going to have our money back?” she asked, choking back tears. “Our plan was to go to Kauai to visit my in-laws for Thanksgiving.”
Monterde was overcome with emotion because, she says, she hasn’t visited her family on Kauai in 20 years.
This was a special trip that she and her seven children were looking forward to.
Monterde says she heard about Island Air closing when she got home from work Thursday night.
“I’m trying to reach out to get some kind of answer,” she said. But so far, her attempts have been unsuccessful.
Monterde said she paid for the tickets with her debit card, so she contacted her bank. They told her they couldn’t do anything.
Then, she says, she drove directly to Island Air.
“I went there this morning to the airline terminal,” Monterde said. “One of the ladies I spoke to, her name was Melissa, she had told me, ‘I’m sorry, I’m in the dark just like you.'”
Monterde says she asked if there was any way they could help the passengers. The Island Air employee told Monterde to try to contact Hawaiian Airlines.
“The Hawaiian Airline lady had told me that I would have to buy one brand-new ticket,” Monterde said.
Hawaiian Airlines was offering assistance to displaced Island Air customers with confirmed tickets and reservations on certain flights from Nov. 11 through Nov. 17.
But Monterde’s tickets were booked to depart on Nov. 22.
She said she can’t afford to buy eight new tickets for the trip, and she can’t get through to Island Air’s customer service either.
KHON2 tried multiple times to call the Island Air customer service number, and received a recording that said: “This call cannot be completed.” The call was disconnected.
Monterde said, “If I can’t get one flight out, I really want my money back. I need answers.”
KHON2 also spoke to Brad Hiranaka, president of Kauai Youth Football.
He says the organization raised $40,000 for flights and accommodations for 154 athletes and their families to fly from Kauai to Oahu next week.
The league planned to bring four football teams and one cheer squad over for the Junior Prep Sports games at Waipahu. They also had plans to attend the HHSAA football championship game at Aloha Stadium.
Hiranaka said he hasn’t received any assistance at all from Island Air.
“I’m just waiting for the refund from them, which was $130 per person round-trip,” Hiranaka said.
Hiranaka says he reserved tickets on Hawaiian Airlines. The new tickets cost $30 more per person and the group will need to make additional transportation and hotel accommodations since the flight is a day earlier for more than half of the group.
“There’s a lot of parents and kids out there with a lot of questions that I can’t answer,” Hiranaka said.
So what can you do if you booked on Island Air?
Greg Dunn, president and CEO of the Hawaii Better Business Bureau, says if you paid with a credit card, check your statement and call the company immediately.
“You have a very limited window of opportunity to contact your credit card company and contest the charge as something you did not receive. Normally, depending on credit card, you have about 30 days from the day of the statement, but you need to read the fine print on the statement to ensure that you are responding or contesting the charge within the allowable period. Otherwise that charge will stand and you will lose all of the money and very likely not have any services provided to you,” Dunn said.
Dunn says if you paid with cash or check, there’s likely nothing you can do, besides trying to file a claim with the bankruptcy court.
Even then, it could take a long time to get any money back.