The Guide to Hawaiian’s Cancellation Policy

Should your flight be canceled, Hawaiian Airlines will either get you on another flight or refund your fare.
Alisha McDarris
By Alisha McDarris 
Updated
Edited by Meg Lee

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You spent months meticulously planning your Hawaii vacation. You even booked Hawaiian Airlines, the second-best domestic airline in our rankings.

Then, just when you think everything’s a go, your Hawaiian flight is canceled. Maybe the weather forced the airline to ground the flight or there was a mechanical issue. Either way, it’s a good idea to understand Hawaiian Airlines' cancellation policy and the airline’s refund policy.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Why are Hawaiian flights canceled?

When you pay for something, you expect to get it. But airlines can’t always deliver, often due to reasons beyond their control. Here are some of the most common reasons flights are canceled.

  • Bad weather.

  • Geological conditions like volcanoes.

  • Aircraft issues. 

  • Staffing shortages.

  • Air traffic control delays.

In the fine print of its policies, Hawaiian Airlines leaves a lot of leeway to cancel flights for many reasons, but it’ll typically take care of you if it does. Here's a closer look at why your Hawaiian Airlines flights may be canceled.

Bad weather

Hawaii is famous for sunny beach days year-round; unlike the Caribbean, it’s not known for hurricanes. That said, storms in the Pacific can still wreak havoc in Hawaii, whether they make landfall as hurricanes or as tropical storms.

Geological conditions

Volcanoes are a big draw in Hawaii, offering travelers surreal hikes across volcanic landscapes and, sometimes, a chance to see red-hot lava. But these stunning Hawaiian landmarks also create a slight — but still real — risk of disrupting air travel.

Volcanic ash poses a direct threat to planes and airline safety. Vog, or volcanic smog, can affect visibility for pilots should the winds blow in the wrong direction at the wrong time.

Hawaii’s airports aren’t near active volcanoes, so it’s highly unlikely that lava could cover a runway. But Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes, is famously unpredictable, so visitors should be prepared for the unexpected.

Other reasons Hawaiian may cancel your flight

In the fine print of its policies, Hawaiian Airlines leaves a lot of leeway to cancel flights for many reasons. Aircraft issues, government demands, labor shortages or any other event not reasonably foreseen by Hawaiian could cause flights to be canceled.

Flyer rights after a Hawaiian Airlines flight cancellation

The federal government announced new rules in April 2024 requiring airlines to compensate passengers when flights are canceled or delayed for three hours or more (domestically) or six hours or more (internationally). A refund is available if passengers don't accept offered alternative transportation or travel credits.

If Hawaiian Airlines cancels your flight, they will either:

  • Put you on another Hawaiian Airlines flight to your destination or next stopover point.

  • Put you on another airline’s flight to your destination or next stopover point.

  • Cancel your ticket and refund your money.

What to do if Hawaiian cancels your flight

In the event that the airline cancels your flight, you have a few options:

  • Accept a rebooking on the next available Hawaiian Airlines flight to your destination.

  • Accept a rebooking Hawaiian may offer on another airline’s flight to your destination.

  • Cancel your ticket and get a refund of any money paid to the airline. 

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you're traveling with a companion who can assist in rebooking, you might try a few different angles simultaneously — one person looks at options in the app while another contacts customer service.

Which option you choose will depend on your travel plans, why your flight was canceled and what rebooking options are available.

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How to rebook a canceled flight on Hawaiian

If your Hawaii flights are canceled and you would still like to travel, all you have to do is accept the flight Hawaiian rebooks for you.

If you prefer a different flight at another time, check for availability on the Hawaiian Airlines app or contact the airline's reservations team so it may assist you. You can use live chat, text, phone or email.

The Hawaiian Airlines customer service phone number is 800-367-5320, which is also the number for the reservations team. If you're a HawaiianMiles member, you might have better luck dialing the loyalty program's service center at 877-426-4537.

If you paid for an Extra Comfort or premium cabin class seat on a flight that gets canceled, Hawaiian will try to rebook you in a comparable seat. But because space may be limited close to takeoff, you might be put in an economy class seat instead and later you’ll be refunded the fare difference.

The airline may even pay for meals and/or a hotel if the cancellation is its fault (i.e., not weather related or due to reasons out of its control) if you can’t travel for over three hours. A hotel will be provided if that delay or cancellation occurs between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

How to get a refund from Hawaiian

If you decide not to travel with Hawaiian after a cancellation, the airline is required to refund any unused portion of your ticket.

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If you’re still at your original departure destination, you’ll get the full cost of your airfare back. If you’re in the middle of your trip, you’ll be refunded for any flights you paid for but haven’t flown yet.

In either scenario, you should expect a refund within seven business days if you paid with a credit card and 20 business days if you paid with a check or cash.

Credit cards can get your money back

Airlines, including Hawaiian, are committed to getting you rebooked on the next available flight and are required to give you a refund if you choose not to travel, but that’s it.

They won’t reimburse you for expenses like prepaid hotel bookings, rental cars, activities and more nonrefundable travel-related expenses at your final destination that result from a cancellation.

However, some credit cards offer travel protections for these sorts of occurrences. Travel rewards cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offer reimbursement for some of these travel-related expenses in the event of an unforeseen delay or cancellation. Just make sure you pay for those bookings with a card that offers this coverage. Terms apply.

Top cards with travel insurance
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

Annual fee

$95.

$550.

$695.

$95.

Travel protections (not a comprehensive list)

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 6 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per trip for delays more than 6 hours.

Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

Terms apply.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

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Consider third-party travel insurance

Purchasing travel insurance for your trip is also an option that can not only bring peace of mind, but also cover nonrefundable prepaid bookings and expenses after a flight cancellation, plus more, from delayed luggage to medical care.

These supplemental policies are paid for out of pocket and can give your upfront trip expenses added protection. If you already have a card with travel insurance, purchasing a third-party policy can increase coverage levels beyond your card's limits or provide coverage in areas your card doesn't protect.

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Depending on the type of trip you’re taking, there are a variety of travel insurance companies and policies available. This includes Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR), medical insurance, trip interruption insurance and more.

Final thoughts on Hawaiian flight cancellations

If Hawaiian Airlines cancels your flight, act fast, but don’t panic. Hawaiian Airlines’ cancellation policy includes a commitment to either get you on another flight or, if it can’t, refund your money.

Check your online itinerary for rebooking instructions, then contact customer service in person, via live chat or by phone as soon as possible.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

  • The maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Delay Insurance

  • Up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Baggage Insurance Plan

  • Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Covered Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier Vehicle (e.g., plane, train, ship, or bus) when the Entire Fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an Eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked Baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry-on Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier. The coverage is also subject to a $3,000 aggregate limit per Covered Trip. For New York State residents, there is a $2,000 per bag/suitcase limit for each Covered Person with a $10,000 aggregate maximum for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.

  • Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.


How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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