First off, we had to ask: How many times has Dunkerley been lei'd?
"Oh, thousands of times...and I don't take any of them for granted; the gesture is so symbolic," replied Mark with a laugh.
Of course to reach NYC today, Dunkerley had to fly the competition, but it's all good research for when the Hawaiian route takes off next June. Leaving JFK around 10am, the route is early enough to clear the majority of afternoon and evening delays, and early to get you off on your vacation right away.
Arriving to Honolulu at 3pm, from JFK, you're on the beach the same day. We sell Hawaii, so it's from the very first moment you're onboard. We've failed if we haven't given you a sense you're on your hard-earned vacation, the moment the wheels roll from the gate.
He's right, too. Hawaiian Airlines not only still provides all cabins with free meals ("for travelers, it's often a very large personal finance decision to come to Hawaii, so we don't treat them as cheap or budget passengers"), but those free meals emphasize Hawaiian flavors, are all natural with no preservatives, and in recyclable containers. Oh, and of course you'll totally get lei'd too.
As for the future, Hawaiian Airlines is lustfully eyeing the east coast for more routes, and Dunkerley hints that their recent rapid expansion in Japan"we went from serving one destination, Tokyo, to three quite quickly"is a good guide for what may happen here. All the major airports are in the running, so could we see Boston-Honolulu or BWI-Honolulu in late 2012? Hawaiian's rate of growth is around one or two new destinations each year, but Mark notes that "2012 will be more." Weee!
One last thing. You know us. You know we love our in-flight WiFi and 10 hours mostly flying over the United States? We want it, and Hawaiian's planes have at-seat USB ports (plus regular outlets in first class), so it's not a pipe dream to be "working" online all the way to Honolulu. We asked: will Hawaiian have WiFi in the near future? Mark leans towards the affirmative, but notes that "it's a fast moving area," but it would be feasible, especially since Hawaiian's planes are such that it'd be easy to hook 'em up for logging in.
Awesome. Okay...so anyone want to share a bowl of poi on the Big Island next fall?