‘Ōlelo is the Hawaiian word for language or speech. As Hawaii’s hometown carrier, Hawaiian Airlines believes it has a kuleana (responsibility and privilege) to serve as ambassadors of the Islands to those who visit its island paradise.
From the moment guests check in for their flight and are greeted by members of Hawaiian Airlines ‘ohana (family), they experience mea ho’okipa (I am host), Hawaiian’s signature warm hospitality and the islands’ culture of Aloha.
Last month the airline was extremely honoured to receive the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority’s (HTA) 2018 Legacy Award, a prestigious accolade presented to Hawaiian organisations carrying the torch in the revitalisation of ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language).
Hawaiian Airlines received the award at the Global Tourism Summit on October 3, alongside two respected local organisations: ‘Aha Pūnana Leo and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.
The award was in recognition of several ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Flights operated earlier this year.
In April 2018, three of HA flight attendants took guests by surprise when they conducted their in-flight announcements entirely in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i. The flights took off from the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and landed at Hilo International Airport (ITO).
That same month, HA’s in-flight ‘ohana went one step further and shared Hawaiian culture with guests travelling to Hawaii’s “ninth island” in Las Vegas. The crew on flight HA18 between HNL and McCarran International Airport made history with the first native language flight to the US Mainland. They conducted staff briefings and boarding announcements in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i and welcomed guests waiting to board with Hawaiian oli (chant) and mele (song). The skilled crew also conducted all guest services for HA18 in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i and followed with the English translation.
For four years, Hawaiian Airlines has offered employees cultural classes as part of a company-wide effort to perpetuate Hawaii’s rich history. Employees may take two different lesson types: hula lessons and language 101.
Students can test their mana‘o (knowledge) in one of several company performances throughout the year, including one staged upon accepting the 2018 Legacy Award!