The Guide to Hawaiian Airlines Flight Delay Compensation

You're not guaranteed flight compensation, but Hawaiian Airlines may rebook, refund, or provide you a hotel room.
Josh Garber
By Josh Garber 
Edited by Meg Lee
hawaiian airlines flight delay compensation

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.


Unexpected flight changes can be particularly bothersome when they get in between you and your dream Hawaii vacation. And for Hawaiian Airlines flyers, payment for flight delays isn't guaranteed.

Here, we’ll dive into Hawaiian Airlines’ delayed flight compensation policies so you’ll know what to do if your flight across the Pacific gets held up.

How flight delay compensation works

There is no requirement that U.S. airlines provide compensation to passengers for a delayed flight. This is different for travelers flying in Europe, where delayed passengers can receive compensation of up to 600 euros.

Because there is no official requirement in the U.S., it’s up to individual airlines to set their own flight delay compensation policies.

Hawaiian Airlines flight delay compensation for domestic flights

Hawaiian has committed to providing the following to passengers whose flights have been “controllably” delayed:

  • Rebooking passengers on Hawaiian Airlines at no additional cost for significant delays.

  • Providing a meal or meal cash/voucher when a flight delay results in passengers waiting three hours or more.

  • Providing complimentary hotel accommodations for any passengers affected by an overnight delay.

  • Providing complimentary ground transportation to and from the hotel for any passengers affected by an overnight delay.

Importantly, the above commitments apply only to “controllable delays” on Hawaiian Airlines, and a “controllable delay” isn’t defined.

Generally speaking, if the delay is caused by something outside of Hawaiian Airlines’ control — like bad weather or issues with airport traffic control — it likely will not be considered a “controllable delay,” meaning you might not receive any of the above compensation for your flight delay.

🤓Nerdy Tip

The U.S. Department of Transportation has worked with Hawaiian and other airlines to create the Airline Customer Service Dashboard to provide clarity for what delayed passengers on U.S. airlines can expect.

Hawaiian Airlines flight delay compensation for international flights

While the bulk of Hawaiian Airlines’ flights are domestic, Hawaiian does fly to a handful of international destinations, including New Zealand, Japan, French Polynesia and Australia.

Nāpali Coast on Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo courtesy of Josh Garber)

According to Hawaiian Airlines’ Contract of Carriage (the legal terms and conditions governing your Hawaiian Airlines flight), Hawaiian offers the following to passengers who have had their international flights delayed:

  • Rebooking passengers on the next scheduled flight with availability in the same class of service (or if there’s no availability in the same class of service, a passenger can agree to take an earlier flight in a different class of service).

  • Rebooking passengers on another carrier.

  • Providing complimentary hotel accommodations, including ground transportation to the hotel, for flight delays over four hours that occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. 

  • Providing complimentary meal services if the delay is over four hours and the passengers would have otherwise received meal service on the flight that was delayed. 

  • Providing a refund to passengers. 

Like domestic flights, the above flight compensation may not be provided if the reason for the flight delay was beyond the airline's control.

How to help ensure you’ll receive flight delay compensation

In reality, there are limited circumstances in which the airline is committed to compensating passengers. So a smarter way to improve your chances of getting paid for the delay is by paying for your Hawaiian flight with a credit card that has trip delay insurance or purchasing a travel insurance plan with this coverage.

Our favorite credit cards with trip delay insurance include:

(Note: All information about the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card is no longer available through NerdWallet.)

For frequent flyers, we recommend having at least one credit card with trip delay insurance and paying for your plane ticket using that card.

If you do not have a credit card with travel insurance, consider shopping around independent providers to purchase trip delay coverage a la carte. There are several providers on the market, but here are the ones NerdWallet found to be the best.

Hawaiian Airlines flight delay compensation, recapped

Although Hawaiian Airlines is not required to provide flight delay compensation to its passengers, the airline may rebook you on the next flight, provide you with a complimentary hotel room or even refund you for your ticket, depending on where you’re traveling to and the reason for the flight delay.

To help cover any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur for a delayed flight, we recommend paying for your flight with a Chase or American Express credit card that includes trip delay protection.

(Top photo courtesy of Josh Garber)

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:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.