That same month, the in-flight ‘ohana shared Hawaiian culture with guests traveling between HNL and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, making history once again with the first native language flight between Hawai‘i and the U.S. Mainland.
Airlines Hosts International Hawaiian Language Flight
In conjunction with the second anniversary of service between Haneda Airport (HND) and Kona International Airport (KOA), Hawaiian Airlines hosted the first international Hawaiian language flight on Friday, Dec. 21, 2018.
All guests on flight HA852 from HND to KOA became a part of Hawaiian Airlines’ history and experienced ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i from six flight attendants fluent in the Hawaiian language.
The special anniversary flight came as part of the airlines’ dedication to incorporating the once almost-extinct language into the workplace.
Prior to take-off, guests received an oli (Hawaiian chant) at the gate, an essential part of celebrating a milestone in Hawaiian culture, while Japan Country Director Takaya Shishido offered special remarks on the anniversary flight.
“What an honor it is to celebrate the second year of service between HND and KOA by bringing ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i aboard our aircraft,” said Shishido. “As Hawaii’s hometown carrier, it is our responsibility to share the stories and culture of the Islands. Today, we live up to that duty and welcome you, our guests, to learn ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i from fluent-speaking members within our own Hawaiian Airlines family.”
The crew conducted all boarding and in-flight announcements in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i, followed by Japanese and English translations. Each guest was greeted with kukui nut lei before departing HND and fresh flower lei upon deplaning at KOA. They also received a travel-size language book, a “how-to” guide for ordering drinks in Hawaiian, and a commemorative certificate of participation.
“These ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i flights are another opportunity for our Hawaiian language to thrive,” shared Punahele Kealanahele Querubin, a flight attendant on HA852. “When I visit Japan and let people know that I am from Hawai‘i, they get so excited because they’re very interested in things Hawaiian. I really appreciate their respect for our culture.”
Flight HA852 was the seventh and final ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i flight of 2018 that Hawaiian has successfully organized. In April 2018, three flight attendants took guests flying between Hilo and Honolulu by surprise when they conducted their in-flight announcements entirely in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i during the Merrie Monarch Festival.