By Kiet Do

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.

Comments (3)
  1. Today’s flight was delayed from take off for 2 hours. Upon takeoff we were then told we were being turned around due to mechanical malfunction. We flew in circles for 3.5 hours to burn fuel to land. Upon landing we were to to go to the check in counter and that we would be given directions. There was an entire plane in line for 3 ticket agents. No one spoke to the group. We waited over 3 hours in line while trying to solve our problem on the phone with reservations. After being told sorry they couldn’t re book us we said that we were going to look for other flights leaving in the morning and were told on the phone that we would be reimbursed. We booked one way tickets for our party of 4 plus lap child on Alaska and proceeded to wait in line to make sure that our return flight was still reserved and find out how we could receive a reimbursement for our new flight expense and missed hotel night that we had paid for. I was told at that time that although they were moving reservations to other airlines I would not be reimbursed for doing the very same thing. I was requesting a travel voucher for Hawaiian airlines for the $977 that I had spent to purchase my one way tickets plus an additional $400 for our room at turtle bay that was not refundable. I was told that they did not have that authority. I travel extensively and have received Travel vouchers for delays far less disruptive than this flight mess and total inconvenience today. As a premier member I am very disappointed in the way guests were treated today including myself. The responsibility for the delay falls completely on Hawaiian airlines and accepting that responsibility could not have been handled more poorly. We are going to Oahu for a wedding on Thursday and had no flexibility in our schedule. I am not asking for any kind of cash compensation but was and am fully satisfied with travel vouchers as I travel to Maui on average 4 times a year with family members. The amount of time and energy that we wasted today due to improper handling of the situation calls for some type of additional compensation. Since I live in the area we did not require transportation, or hotel rooms but did spend an exhausting day with children under the age of 3 unnecessarily due to poor execution on the part of the airlines.

  2. If I had been on that flight, I would have appreciated the pilots’ concern with getting the plane back on the ground as quickly and safely as possible.