Hawaiian Airlines Celebrating 90th Anniversary With Vintage-Inspired Flight

Bruce Dirden/Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines

It’s hard to believe the tropical carrier has been around for nearly a century.

Few things stand the test of time, especially in the hospitality industry. But Monday, November 11, marked a huge moment for Hawaiian Airlines as it officially turned 90 years old. And they decided to celebrate in the best of ways: hosting an anniversary flight that recreated its very first flight on November 11, 1929.

Paying homage to the carrier’s first days as a commercial airline, Flight HA1111 will fly on the same day, route, and time as Hawaiian's first flight from Honolulu to Hilo, with a brief stop in Kahului just as passengers did nine decades prior. Incredibly, that flight took three hours and fifteen minutes while today it takes about an hour. What's more is they had the flight attendants dress in vintage uniforms from the '60s, '70s, and '80s, some of the chicest in the industry. Think beret-style hats, scarves as headbands, and flower jumpsuits.


From left: Hawaiian Airlines first flight in 1929; first hostesses in 1943. Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines

Also, to commemorate the flight, passengers will receive a birthday card, 90,000 airline points, as well as a copy of the November 11, 1929 issue of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. It was on this paper where Hawaiian (then Inter-Island Airways) graced the cover with a quote from founder Stanley Kennedy saying, "The air is now yours. The Inter-Island Airways looks upon this occasion with a great deal of pride as the pioneer in commercial aviation in Hawai'i."

In the afternoon on November 11, Hawaiian will have a Plane Pull competition with 33 teams (including Hyatt Hotels, Delta, Bank of Hawaii, and many more) benefiting Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and their overall mission of beach cleanups, education, and awareness.


Hawaiian Airlines uniforms from 1974 (left) and 1979 (right). Courtesy Hawaiian Airlines

With such a lengthy history, the airline has experienced some other remarkable moments in the industry. On December 7, 1941, DC‑3 #9, with 24 passengers, had its cockpit hit by Japanese fire at Pearl Harbor. An engine caught fire, but a stray bullet hit the fire extinguisher, putting out the flames. No one was hurt, and this event made Ripley's "Believe It Or Not." And in 1979, the first all-female crew to operate a certified scheduled U.S. air carrier made history.

Today, Hawaiian Airlines is still trying to stand out in the aviation community. They now have America's longest nonstop flight between Boston and Hawaii. In March, they launched an in-flight video series, "Yoga and Mindfulness for Kids," as a solution for restless children. This year they introduced new cocktails in partnership with On The Rocks, such as the Molokai Mule. Not to mention, their Extra Comfort economy seats are some of the best premium economy options in the industry with a generous 36 inches of pitch.