Hawaii Rocked by Largest Earthquake in 43 Years as Volcano Eruption Expands

May 6, 2018

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

On Thursday, Hawaii’s most active volcano Kilauea erupted anew after a series of earthquakes. In the days since, the island has been rocked by its strongest tremblor in 43 years: a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that opened new lava-spewing fissures. In total, the area has been rocked by 397 earthquakes larger than 2.5 magnitude in the last seven days.

These earthquakes are occurring in the southeastern corner of Hawaii’s largest and (literally) newest island — as lava flows into the ocean, it cools to enlarge the island. Visitors flock to the nearby Volcanoes National Park to see the large island continue its growth, but the region being affected by these new eruptive fissures is in an area of the island that hasn’t seen volcanic activity in a long time. The 2,000-resident Leilani Estates is ground-zero for the latest eruptions.

The good news is that the eruption is highly centralized to this one area of the big island. While Volcanoes National Park is closed due to the eruption, other major tourism sites — even on the big island — aren’t impacted by this eruption.

Also, the volcano eruption has created a minimal ash cloud, so flights to/from Hawaii haven’t been affected. However, a few airlines have issued travel waivers to allow travelers concerned about the eruption an opportunity to rebook or cancel.

American Airlines

  • Travel date: May 5-13
  • Airports covered: Hilo, Hawaii (ITO); Kona, Hawaii (KOA)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by May 5
  • Rebook travel anytime between May 5-16
  • You can’t change your origin or destination city. Must rebook in same 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 3-13
  • Airports covered: Hilo, Hawaii (ITO); Kona, Hawaii (KOA)
  • Must have purchased your ticket by May 4
  • Changes must be made and reticketed for new flights no later than May 20
  • Fare difference waived for changes to the same cabin and there isn’t a change to the origin and destination.
  • For changes made to new flights after May 20, the change fee will be waived but applicable difference in fare will be collected.


  • Travel dates: May 4-13
  • Airports covered: Hilo, HI (ITO); Kailua-Kona, HI (KOA)
  • The change fee and any difference in fare will be waived for new United flights departing on or before May 16, as long as travel is rescheduled in the originally ticketed cabin (any fare class) and between the same cities as originally ticketed.​​

No waivers (yet) from Alaska or Delta.

Featured image by U.S. Geological Survey via Getty Images

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.