Friday, April 04, 2008


Who knew what when on Aloha demise?

by Larry Geller

I also pondered Richard Borecca's story, Shutdown has allies and rivals winging it, the one that Ian Lind wrote about this morning. The sub-head is: Officials considered issues such as hotel space, airport security and adding flights.

A couple of things went through my mind.

First, did anyone consider that Hawaii residents and visitors alike were still buying tickets even as the airline was about to shut down? Suddenly the word "passenger" is replaced with "unsecured creditor." Sounds like some sort of identity theft.

Hey, everyone, lots of residents and tourists are out a lot of money!! And lots of people knew they would lose money it seems!!

The article talked about contingency plans, like making sure there would be places to park airplanes, and that security guards would be in the right places. One can't argue with that, it's much better to have had plans than to let things fall apart (and get blamed for not having plans, of course).

Obviously, the public knew nothing. We don't know what the press might have known, and we can't find that our state government did anything to protect passengers who held tickets already or who, unknowingly, were in the process of paying out for tickets that would be useless the next day.

I'm not saying that the state has any responsibility to protect anyone against a business going bankrupt.

I'm just, for the moment, pondering the unfairness of the little person getting stuck with the short end of the stick all the time, whether it is losing a home while the banks are bailed out, or being allowed to pay for worthless airplane reservations, or losing your pension and medical insurance as a now-former employee. Are we just pawns in a corporate shell game? Are we just sheep to be fleeced? Grrr.

And speaking of fleecing, of course we will now have to pay much more for airfare. I'm not talking about a "fair" fare. There was no move to establish such a fare when Hawaiian, Aloha and go! were engaged in their fare wars. No one said, "Hey, these fares need to be regulated!" In fact, we all (myself included) enjoyed the ability to fly to a Neighbor Island at reasonable cost. No, I mean that now fares can be jacked up until the gauge hits "gouge" just because they can do it.

And as they get away with it, watch the salary and bonuses that Hawaiian Airlines execs will walk away with.

We need a new addition to the bill of rights. Why not set it in law that customers move to the front of the line in bankruptcy court? Why not? When the feds bailed out Bear Stearns, how come the CEO will get paid but those who lost their homes get nothing? When Aloha declared bankruptcy, why were not the ticketholders paid off first, and employees pensions etc. taken care of?

Why not, exactly?


"Why not set it in law that customers move to the front of the line in bankruptcy court?" -- How about EMPLOYEES and customers first.

It's called fraud. Can you imagine being the last guy who bought a ticket... he hangs up the phone and turns on the TV and boom- his ticket is worthless.

And given that people a Aloha and the State knew and said nothing is FRAUD pure and simple.

Interesting thought, Andy. If management decided to discontinue flights, did they turn off the reservation computers at the same time?

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