Airline rolls out effort to speak Hawaiian on flights

HONOLULU — Passengers flying Hawaiian Airlines may soon get a complimentary language lesson as the company amplifies efforts to preserve traditional Hawaiian by incorporating it into everyday business.

Cabin announcements and crew instructions were given in English and the traditional Hawaiian language on a Las Vegas-bound flight on Friday, marking the first time the language was utilized on a flight headed to the mainland, Hawaii News Now reported .


The mission is for flight attendants to provide a “one-of-a-kind cultural experience by engaging with guests in both olelo Hawaii and English” as preservation of the Hawaiian language continues to be a hot issue on the islands, the company said via email.

The idea was tested earlier this month on four flights to Hilo.

“The initiative is an extension of the airline’s commitment to honor and share our islands’ unique culture with guests visiting Hawaii,” a company spokesperson said.

Both the in-flight announcements and announcements at the gate were done in Hawaiian.


Dr. Larry Kimura, who is known to many as “the grandfather of Hawaiian language revitalization,” was a special guest on the flight, according to Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines said it hopes to expand and formalize the language immersion program in the coming months.

  1. Buds4All April 16, 2018 4:02 am

    While I agree with keeping cultural knowledge alive and well, I think this will open a carton of worms when people ask why they do not also perform their language and are charged with discrimination. We already get government regulations and safety fun facts jammed down our throats from the minute we get to the airports and now in-flight language lessons. This might be going a bit to far. Perhaps this should have only been implemented inter island first to test this out? Oh wait….Vegas is the 9th Island my bad.

  2. LimeyinHi April 16, 2018 8:13 am

    What a waste of money…and why? If the flights were going to Vegas shouldn’t they be doing announcements in a native American tongue as well? The costs of the flights are robbery too. Sometimes I can get to Settle cheaper than I can to Oahu.

  3. diverdave April 16, 2018 8:16 am

    Just another kimick. This should really upset the Japanese tourists who already make funny faces when the announcements come over the PA in the airport in Polynesian-Hawaiian.

  4. onceawarrior April 16, 2018 9:39 am

    English and Hawaiian are co-official languages of Hawaii.
    A historical language essence of Hawaii is Hawaiian Pidgin – a form of Creole language.
    Hawaiian Pidgin represents an evolutionary language that accommodated coexistence among different ethnic groups. It has sustained its beauty.
    Moreover, Hawaiian Pidgin exudes the spirit of Hawaii. For a newcomer, it would be an introduction to Hawaii.

    1. Ken Conklin April 17, 2018 5:42 am

      Eh, you speak da kine den get deah moah wikiwiki?

  5. KrustyKola April 16, 2018 11:49 am

    First priority of the staff on a plane is the safety of the passengers and fellow crew members. This does not seem to advance that much if at all. If Hawaiian Airlines is dedicated to increasing the use of the Hawaiian language they should do all their advertising in Hawaiian, print their inflight magazines in Hawaiian etc. Require all communication between employees and with customers to be in Hawaiian first then use English only when its needed. This is a low cost to the bottom line gimmick.

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