Airlines Extend Waivers Amid Hawaiian Volcanic Eruption

May 14, 2018

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A new fissure opened in Hawaii’s Puna District on Monday as the state’s Kilauea Volcano sent lava spewing 500 feet into the air, prompting airlines to extend travel fee waivers on the eastern side of the Big Island.

Although volcanic activity has been occurring on the Big Island for decades, the new openings of the 18th Fissure, as well as the “most voluminous” Fissure 17 warns that an eruption is possible.

USGS released a warning saying additional outbreaks of lava are possible near existing fissures. The Hawaii Civil Defense Agency has directed vacation rentals in Lower Puna to cease operations to relieve the demand for water and to reduce the area population so emergency operations can focus on residents who live in the area.

Following the 10-day volcanic activity, President Trump declared a “major disaster declaration for Hawaii” which clears the way for way for federal assistance to supplement state aid. Approximately 2,000 people have been evacuated from their homes since the Kilauea volcano erupted on May 3 with at least 35 structures, including several homes destroyed. 

The Hawaii Police Department also enforced the Federal Aviation Administration’s temporary flight restriction for Lower Puna. Airlines flying into Hawaii have since issued travel waivers. As of 3:00pm ET Monday, here are the available travel waivers:


  • Travel dates: May 7 – 20
  • Airports covered: Kona, HI (KOA)
  • Ticket must be reissued on or before: May 27
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than: May 27
  • When rescheduled travel occurs beyond May 27, the change fee will be waived. However, a difference in fare may apply. Final travel must be completed by end of ticket validity, one year from date of original issue.
  • If travel is not able to be rescheduled within these guidelines, customers may cancel their reservation and apply any unused value of the ticket toward the purchase of a new ticket for a period of one year from the original ticket issuance. Applicable change fee and fare difference will apply for new travel dates.

American Airlines 

  • Travel dates: May 5 – 20
  • Airports covered: Hilo, Hawaii (ITO) and Kona, Hawaii (KOA)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by May 5, 2018
  • Rebooked travel can occur May 5 -27
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook In the same or cabin or pay the difference.
  • Avoid the phone queue. Changes available on both AA’s website and in the AA app.

Hawaiian Airlines

  • Travel date: May 3 – 20
  • Airport covered: Hilo Airport (ITO) ad Kona Airport (KOA). 
  • Must have purchased ticket on/before May 4
  • Rebooked travel must begin no later than May 27
  • In addition, for changes made to new flights on or before May 27, 2018, any resulting difference in fare(s) will be waived provided that change is made to the same compartment (i.e. Coach to Coach or First Class to First Class) and there is no change in origin and destination. For changes made to new flights after May 27, 2018, the change fee will be waived but applicable difference in fare will be collected.
  • Changes to origin and/or destination or connecting/stopover point will be permitted without change fee and are subject to applicable fare difference.


  • Travel date: May 4 – 20
  • Airports covered: Hilo, HI (ITO) and Kailua-Kona, HI (KOA)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before May 27, 2018, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

 Featured image by Mario Tama/Getty Images.

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