The new face of Hawaiian Airlines is the old face of Hawaiian Airlines - hurrah!
The latest Hawaiian Airlines livery. Photo Hawaiian Airlines
Few female characters adorn the outside of planes, but the iconic Pualiani of Hawaiian Airlines is a wonderful exception. And whether your Hawaii Five-o era is Steve Garrett being played by Jack Lord or Alex O'Loughlin, Pualani (as she is known) has graced the tailfins of Hawaiian Airlines aircraft from 1973 to the present day.
The airline was founded in 1929 as Inter Island Airways and sported the predestrian paintjob styling of the day - with a couple of stripes along the fuselage and 'Hawaiian Airlines' painted above the windows.
Hawaiian Convair 640. Photo Hawaiian Airlines
The airline became Hawaiian Airlines in 1944 and since 1973 its livery has incuded the 'Flower of the Skies' logo, showing a strong-featured Hawaiian woman with a hibiscus flower behind her ear. The hibiscus is synonomous with the South Pacific and unsurprisingly is the state flower of Hawaii. They are stitched together to form a necklace, or lei, and when worn behind the left ear of a woman indicates that the person is married and behind the right ear the wearer is single - according to local lore. More generally, it's a sign of hospitality, and pre-booking lei on arrival in Hawaii is still popular with tourists.
Hawaiian A330 tailplane. Photo Hawaiian Airlines
The Pualaini logo itself has evolved over the years, and the latest incarnation, unveiled in 2017, continues to place the super strong and eye-catching image front nd centre. The biggest refinements of the latest refresh are the strengthening of the woman's features and the replacement of the background hibiscus with a deep puple sunset.
While her appearance has changed throughout the years, Pualani has always been our beacon of Hawaiian hospitality. Contrary to popular belief, she was not modelled after any of the Miss Hawaii‘i winners. Her strong presence and features were conceptualized as a real-life representation of our company’s mission and aloha for the Islands.
Hawaiian A321. Photo Hawaiian Airlines
Incidentally, the Pualini livery flies the longest domestic route in the US - the 8,200km slog from Honolulu to Boston takes 11 hours and 40 minutes and is operated nonstop by a Hawaiian Airlines A330.
How Hawaiian Airlines can work for you?
Getting to and around the Hawaiian Islands: Hawaiian flies to 13 US cities, to Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and American Samoa, from its hub airport in Honolulu. Its 'domestic' network spans six of the Hawaiian Islands - including Oahu, Maui and Hawaii.
The frequent flyer club: is called Hawaiian Miles - a fairly small scale club, but with JAL, Korean and Virgin Atlantic as earning and burning
A few facts: Hawaiian is the flag carrier and largest airline in Hawaii - it has a fleet of 61 aircraft; mainly Airbus A321s and A330s - and carried 11.8 million passengers in 2018.
It started as Inter Island Airways in 1929, then changing its name to Hawaiian Airlines in 1941. A milestone came in 1985 with the delivery of a couple of Lockheed L-1011 Tristars, enabling the carrier to commence its first daily out-of-state flights, to Los Angeles - thence to serve the growing package tour market from mainland USA. After a brace of high-profile bankruptcies, Hawaiian has grown into the carrier it is today, including the setting up of a turboprop inter-island subsidiary called Ohana by Hawaiian. Mainline Hawaiian operates a fleet of 61 aircraft across 29 destinations.
Hawaiian A330 over Diamond Head. Photo Hawaiian Airlines
One more thing: Hawaiian Airlines has a young fleet and an excellent safety record. However, if you've a vague recollection of an incident over Hawaii involving part of an aircraft's roof sheering off in-flight, then in fact that was arch rival Aloha Airlines. Aloha ceased operation in 2008, though it is likely that this infamous incident back in 1988 played its part in that.
Aloha Airlines flight 243 was on a routine flight between Hilo and Honolulu when it suffered an explosive decompression, causing one fatality - a stewardess called Clarabelle Lansing - and injuring 65 others. The nub of the issue arose due to the very short flights the aircraft was used for, basically hops between the islands up to eight times per day - adding up to the plane performing more than twice the number of flights that it was designed for.
The aircraft reached its cruising' altitude of 24,000 feet when a section of the roof - from just behind the cockpit to just in front of the wing blew away - leaving almost six metres of the cabin in fresh air. Thirteen minutes later the captain performed an emergency landing at Kahulu Airport. The small island only had two ambulances at the time, and so many of the injured passengers were taken to the hospital in tour buses.
Causes were the coastal (and therefore corrosive) environment in which the plane was operating, the extreme high frequency of take offs and landings, and inadequate fuselage inspections.