HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Hawaiian Airlines released a new in-flight video with an important message to incoming visitors: “Travel Pono.”

The video features scenic views and popular locations across all Hawaiian islands.

Hawaiian Airlines employees are featured in the video providing safety tips for travelers when hiking or enjoying island coastlines.

The video explains how tourists can show respect to the local culture and marine life during their visit.

“Our commitment to protecting Hawaii’s environment, culture and community remains steadfast. We have heard our community and employees’ voices and are happy to share our new in-flight Travel Pono video,” the company said in a post online.

”We are proud to serve as Hawaii’s hometown carrier and hope that this video will welcome our guests with valuable information that will enrich their experience on our Islands while helping to protect its natural resources and way of life.”

The airlines also posted a link to additional information on how visitors can travel pono.

The video comes amid growing dissatisfaction among Hawaii residents about the impacts of tourism on quality of life in the islands.

There was also concern earlier this year about visitor behaviors after several tourists were seen on social media harassing marine animals ― in incidents that angered residents.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

American and Southwest are among airlines warning that the delta variant is disrupting the travel recovery with “softness in bookings and elevated trip cancellations.”

The slowdown that started in early August is complicating hopes that business travel would start to pick up in September and October when leisure travel typically slows down, according to investor updates released by the four major airlines Thursday. But instead, employers have delayed return to office plans and corporate air travel is on hold, too.

The COVID-19 pandemic once again holds sway over business as normal for airlines even as other parts of the economy have accelerated. The 7-day average for new COVID-19 cases has surged above 100,000 for the first time since February with the start of the school year across the country. Case counts could be in for another spike as colleges resume classes and the public heads back indoors with cooler fall weather ahead.

American Airlines first officer Ken Abernathy (right) joined pilots representing the Allied Pilots Association in rallying for a new contract in January 2020.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the company has not expected the recovery to follow a linear path,” Chicago-based United told investors.

The 1,439,804 passengers that went through TSA checkpoints in U.S. airports on Wednesday was the second smallest number since the middle of May, according to data from the agency.

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines said in its investor update that “business demand stalled in August 2021 following several months of sequential improvements. The softness in leisure bookings has continued, thus far, for September and October 2021.”

It warned that sales were near the lower end of previously released expectations for August.

Southwest and Fort Worth-based American Airlines have already cut back fall schedules, hoping to put an end to operational problems that led to thousands of delays and cancellations this summer. September through November are typically slower travel months anyway, but airlines will continue to suffer financially every day that passenger traffic refuses to improve.

American Airlines said it expects to net its best quarter in terms of sales since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Revenues are expected to be down 24% to 28% for the third quarter compared to 2019, the company said.

The airline is now turning hopes to the holiday season, for which demand still appears strong.

“The company’s booked load factor for peak travel periods, including the fourth-quarter holiday periods, remains very strong,” American said in its investor update Thursday.

Earlier this week, a survey found that 69% of leisure travelers plan to take fewer trips, 55% plan to postpone existing plans and 42% are likely to cancel plans without rescheduling. The survey was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.

United Airlines employees work at ticket counters in Terminal 1 at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago last October. United Airlines said Wednesday that more than half its employees who weren't vaccinated last month have gotten their shots since the company announced that vaccines would be required.

DALLAS — Several leading U.S. airlines warned Thursday that the rise in COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant is hurting their bookings and further delaying the travel industry’s recovery.

The summer got off to a strong start, with many planes full of vacationers eager to break out after being stuck at home for more than a year. After months of improving travel numbers, however, August was disappointing.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said Thursday that people are still traveling, but key segments – business and international flyers – are still largely missing. He said the rise in COVID-19 cases won’t derail the travel recovery but will delay it by 90 to 120 days.

►Book your holiday flights now to get the best fares:Here are 4 things you need to know.

►Airfare prices are expected to drop 10% this fall as travel demand declines

Delta said it still expects to post an adjusted pretax profit for the third quarter, but revenue will be toward the lower end of its previous forecast.

United Airlines said its revenue is weaker than previously expected, and it forecast a pretax loss in the third quarter that could extend into the fourth quarter if the virus outbreak continues. It is trimming flights to match the lower demand.

American Airlines said a slowdown that started in August has continued into September, and the airline further lowered its outlook for third-quarter revenue.

Southwest Airlines reported that leisure travel has weakened, with more cancellations and softer bookings for September and October. Southwest said, however, booking patterns for the winter holidays look normal.

Airlines are watching COVID-19 numbers closely and finding hope in the latest figures showing the surge that started in July might have peaked. The seven-day average of cases is roughly flat compared with two weeks ago.

Airline executives say they believe bookings will pick up as soon as case counts go down.

“Things moved downward rather quickly, but they can, I think, move upwards just as quickly,” Andrew Nocella, United’s chief marketing officer, said during an investor conference held by financial-services firm Cowen.

Airline stocks fell shortly after trading began Thursday but then turned higher. By early afternoon, American was up 6% and others rose between 3% and 5%.

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Americans have been willing to travel over the summer and during shorter holiday periods. Air travel over the Labor Day weekend approached 2019 levels — on two days, the Transportation Security Administration screened more than 2 million travelers.

By Wednesday, however, the number of people going through airport checkpoints dropped back to 1.4 million, down 28% from the comparable Wednesday in 2019.

United’s Nocella warned that travel is likely to slump in October, early November, and the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In a bid to reassure passengers worried about the virus,

Airlines – both in the U.S. and Europe – are making adjustments and cancellations in the wake of European Union recommendations regarding new, more stringent travel requirements on Americans.

The EU announced last week it was recommending that the United States be removed from its 27-country “safe list” for accepting foreign travelers.

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The announcement was just a recommendation; all EU countries must decide for themselves on restricting travelers.

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Which is just what the Netherlands did last week when it announced it will only allow vaccinated Americans to visit with a recent negative COVID-19 test — along with a mandatory 10-day quarantine that can be shortened to five days subject to a strict testing regimen.

Within a day, KLM, the national carrier of the Netherlands, issued a statement saying in part, “The decision by the Dutch government is a big step backwards.”

KLM said it will cancel service from Amsterdam to Orlando, Miami and Las Vegas – three routes that, The Points Guy noted, were already going to be discontinued anyway from a seasonal standpoint from Oct. 31, 2021, through March 26, 2022.

U.S. carriers American, Delta and United all fly multiple daily flights to Amsterdam and have not yet announced any schedule changes or cancellations.

It’s likely that they will, however. With school back in session and fall and winter looming, travel to Europe is likely to dip anyway.

Other European airlines are also taking a cautious approach.

“There’s a risk that the really good late summer traffic we’ve seen could be a bit illusionary,” Nick Cunningham, an analyst at Agency Partners in London, told Bloomberg News Service. “With kids going back to school, and the likelihood that could bring a flare-up in cases, winter is looking much more uncertain for the airlines.”

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Some U.S. airline operations were constrained this summer as carriers worked to catch up with training for pilots who were on leave during worst days of the Covid-19 crisis.

But experts expect the return of a more structural pilot shortage in the coming years as flight operations eventually ramp up to 2019 levels but without the pilots who took advantage of early retirement offers put forward by airlines in 2020. 

“It’s going restrict our ability to do business worldwide,” said Kit Darby, whose aviation consulting business, KitDarby.com, focuses on pilot career services. “It is going to restrict our regional airlines, and they have half the flights and over a quarter of the passengers. If the smaller airlines run out of pilots they can’t feed the bigger airlines passengers.”

Fueled by a surge of pilots reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65 and augmented by industry growth and a reduction in the number of military-trained pilots who could quickly be hired, the U.S. airline industry was struggling with a pilot shortage prior to the pandemic.

The University of North Dakota, which has one of this country’s leading four-year flight training degree programs, estimated that the U.S. had a shortage of 3,500 commercial pilots in 2020, pre-pandemic.

The shortage had been especially acute for regional airlines in the years leading up to the Covid-19 outbreak, forcing some to reduce their schedules while also contributing to some bankruptcies and closures.

Schedule reductions directly impact major carriers, since the largest U.S. regional airlines fly under the American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express brands. 

The University of North Dakota expected mandatory retirements to peak between 2023 and 2026 at around 3,000 annually.

Kit Darby

Kit Darby

The pilot shortage ended overnight with the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis. Instead, approximately 5,000 pilots accepted early retirement offers from mainline U.S. carriers desperate to reduce payroll, according to analysis undertaken by Darby. Now, as airlines anticipate reaching 2019 demand levels in 2022 or 2023 and then growing from there, they’ll have to replace those pilots sooner than expected, often from the existing regional pilot ranks.

Hiring needs will be substantially higher than what airlines have dealt with to date. U.S. airline seat capacity is down 11% this August compared with 2019, according to the air travel data provider OAG. Worldwide, the in-service airline fleet also remains 11% below the pre-pandemic level, according to a recent Aviation Week analysis. In addition, 11% of the planes that are in service are either parked or on reserve.

In other words, there will be a future need for more planes — and more pilots. 

What the airlines are doing about it

Delta has said it plans to hire 1,000 pilots by next summer. United recently became the first mainline U.S. carrier to purchase its own flight training school. The carrier expects to graduate 5,000 pilots from its Aviate Academy by the end of the decade. 

In an analysis early this year, the consulting firm Oliver Wyman estimated that U.S. pilot demand will

PETALING JAYA: Local airlines are getting ready to increase the frequency of their services to Langkawi in anticipation of the reopening of the tourism sector there on Sept 16.

Malaysia Aviation Group chief executive officer Captain Izham Ismail said Malaysia Airlines welcomed the government’s announcement on the activation of the Langkawi travel bubble.

He added that this would be a starting point to reviving domestic tourism for the fully-vaccinated.

“Currently, Malaysia Airlines operates four times daily to Langkawi, and will adjust capacity to meet demand,” he said yesterday.

In conjunction with the reopening and Malaysia Day, which also falls on Sept 16, he said Malaysia Airlines is offering tickets for as low as RM89 for all-in fare, while its tour operating arm, MHholidays, is also offering bundled flight and hotel packages with up to 50% discounts.

“The airline remains steadfast in its commitment to adopting the highest safety and hygiene standards in air travel. Most recently, the Malaysia Aviation Group achieved 100% vaccinated status, which further provides passengers with peace of mind.

“Malaysia Airlines has enhanced its safety and health protocols across multiple touchpoints at airports and on board, as recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation Council of Aviation Recovery Task Force (ICAO CART), to ensure customers and employees’ safety are protected every step of the way,” he said.

Izham added that measures in place include the mandatory use of face masks, frequent aircraft disinfection, and early replacement of aircraft Hepa (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filters to ensure effective filtration of 99.97% of microorganisms on board.

Passengers would also receive complimentary hygiene kits, he said.

Firefly Airlines marketing and communications head Koo Kee Wai said the airline would also be gradually ramping up flights to Langkawi.

“We are ready with full compliance to the SOP (standard operating procedure), with the recent launch of our Covid-19 testing, travel insurance with Covid-19 coverage, and with all our pilots and cabin crew fully vaccinated,” he said.

AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat said Malaysians are eager to resume travelling and Langkawi, famed for its world-class facilities, pristine beaches, family-friendly atmosphere and local cuisine, is by far one of the top domestic destinations.

“The government’s decision to commence this travel bubble bodes well for the recovery of Langkawi’s tourism industry, and we look forward to working closely with the government, Langkawi Development Authority as well as Tourism Malaysia, to support the revival of the tourism sector.

“We are working on a few campaigns to revitalise tourism in Langkawi with some very attractive deals to be announced soon,” he added.

Riad said AirAsia is committed to stringent health and hygiene protocols throughout the journey.

“Flying is the safest mode of transportation, not only due to the comprehensive safety measures we undertake, but the built-in features of the aircraft itself such as its cabin air filtration system.

“The vertical downward air circulation inside the cabin further prohibits the risk of infection during flying. Studies conducted by international aviation agencies have proven that the risk of

U.S. News & World Report releases its list of the top best airline and hotel reward programs for the 2021-22 travel year, explaining why they picked them and how COVID-19 factored in.

Which hotel and airline industries have the best travel rewards programs in the U.S.?

Each year U.S. News & World Report grades both, and here are their top choices for the 2021-22 travel year, why they picked them and how COVID-19 factored in.

Wyndham Rewards takes the No. 1 spot for ‘Best Hotel Rewards Program’ this year, after placing second for several past years.

Wyndham’s large network of hotels in popular vacation destinations factored in, and the company’s high-award availability. “Additionally, any member of the program can book a free night with as few as 7,500 points,” U.S. News stated in a news release Tuesday.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan maintained its No. 1 position on the “Best Airline Rewards Programs” for the seventh year in a row, U.S. News said. “Its numerous member benefits and its large network of flight routes to popular destinations” were a major reason. One of the benefits U.S. News cited was the airline’s ability for members to earn miles for free flights faster

In selecting this year’s highest-ranking hotel and airline travel rewards programs, U.S. News rewarded companies for the most rewarding perks for everyday travelers. Among the most important factors were which companies made it easier for members to earn and redeem points or miles and achieve or retain elite status; how easily customers received room and cabin upgrades, program-affiliated credit cards; and how companies responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This year, U.S. News also considered each travel rewards program’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and factored in how flexible and accommodating each airline and hotel program was for members,” U.S. News stated.

Here’s a list of its top choices.

Hotel Rewards Programs
  1. Wyndham Rewards
  2. World of Hyatt
  3. Marriott Bonvoy
  4. Choice Privileges
  5. IHG Rewards
Airline Rewards Programs
  1. Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan
  2. Delta SkyMiles
  3. American Airlines AAdvantage
  4. JetBlue TrueBlue
  5. Southwest Rapid Rewards

Wyndham was chosen among 15 loyalty programs with major hotel brands that have at least 50 properties, including 10 or more in the U.S.

“All programs that appear on our Best Hotel Rewards Programs list offer members the ability to earn rewards and privileges each time they stay at a participating property,” U.S. News said.

Alaska Airlines competed among nine programs. All of the airlines are based in the U.S. and have frequent flyer programs.

See the both lists on U.S. News and Reports website.

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Travelers inquire about their flights at a Southwest counter at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines launched this week new hiring referral bonuses for staff as the carrier struggles to hire new workers to keep up with a rebound in travel demand.

“Southwest is experiencing a sharp decline in qualified applicants due to low labor force participation and competition for available talent,” Southwest vice president and chief people officer Julie Weber wrote in a Tuesday note to staff, which was reviewed by CNBC.

Southwest staff can receive 20,000 “SWAG Points” — 10,000 on their referral’s first day of work and 10,000 after that person completes six months with the airline. Those points on Southwest’s internal platform have a taxable value of 1.5 cents each, a company document says, giving the points a value of about $300. Southwest’s points can be redeemed for frequent flyer miles, gift cards or concert tickets.

The points cannot be redeemed for cash, Southwest said. Five employees’ referrals will also be selected each week for 5,000 points for the referring staff member, Weber wrote.

Southwest and other carriers spent much of the pandemic urging workers to take early retirement packages or unpaid or partially paid time off. Now, they are scrambling to hire or retrain staff to cater to the rebound in travel demand that materialized faster than many airline executives expected.

Staffing shortages in the airline industry this summer have led to hourslong hold times for customer service lines and exacerbated flight disruptions from issues such as bad weather. Flight crews at American Airlines and Southwest have complained about a lack of available hotels or food options while they are on duty.

In June, Southwest raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Southwest didn’t say how many employees it hopes to hire. The airline said earlier this year it needs more flight attendants and pilots, though job postings also include ramp and customer service agents among others. The incentive program runs through Nov. 20.

Rising concern about the fast-spreading delta variant of COVID-19 is creating turbulence for the stocks of big travel companies, but airline executives say they don’t see any slowdown in ticket sales, maybe because a high percentage of their best customers are fully vaccinated.

“We haven’t seen any impact at all on bookings, which continue to just get stronger and stronger every week,” United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby said Wednesday.

Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian said the same thing last week, although he added that variants were continuing to hobble international travel by delaying the opening of borders.

More than 2 million people a day, mostly summer vacationers, are packing U.S. airports. That is a turnaround from the lockdown summer of 2020.

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The travel recovery took hold earlier this year as vaccinations rose and infection cases fell. Now variants are fueling a tripling in new reported cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. over the past two weeks — although just a fraction of the January peak — and driving outbreaks in other countries.

Earlier in the pandemic, airlines saw that bad headlines about the coronavirus would prompt large numbers of people to cancel trips. For much of 2020, cancellations outpaced ticket sales. Americans seem less skittish about the variants now that many of them are vaccinated, airline executives say.

United said its cancellation rate has not changed in the last few weeks, although it remains higher than before the pandemic. It could be due to the millions of Americans — particularly those who travel — who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

About 57% of Americans who are old enough for the shots are fully vaccinated, according to government figures. United said that 84% of the members of its frequent-flyer program are vaccinated.

Even if travelers are unmoved by the headlines, investors have been spooked. They worry that the rise of variants could lead governments to reimpose travel restrictions that might short-circuit the travel recovery.

Airline officials are lobbying the Biden administration to lift restrictions that prevent most Europeans from entering the United States, but the limits imposed in March 2020 remain in place. They note that many European countries have eased border restrictions, leading to a surge in bookings by American vacationers this summer.

‘Absolutely critical to both countries’:US, UK airlines urge lifting of travel restrictions

“We are working closely with the government, and it’s a two-way conversation where they are getting input from us, input for them,” Kirby said on a call with analysts and reporters. “All of us want to make sure we do this safely.”

Kirby said the industry has shown willingness to accept vaccination requirements, as many other countries require of visitors from the U.S. and other places.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday — without providing many details — that

Air travel in the United States hit another pandemic-era record over the weekend as vacationers jammed airports, but shares of airlines, cruise lines, hotels and almost anything else related to travel tumbled Monday on growing concerns about highly contagious coronavirus variants.

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 2.2 million people at airport checkpoints on Sunday, the highest number since early March 2020, when the pandemic was beginning to crush travel in the U.S. That topped a record set just two days earlier and was the fourth peak recorded in July.

However, Sunday’s mark was still 18% lower than on the comparable Sunday in 2019, according to the TSA.

But investors weren’t celebrating the latest evidence of a recovery in travel since vaccines against COVID-19 became widely available in the U.S. Stocks fell broadly — the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 2.1% — on concern about rising infections in many countries, and airline and cruise line stocks were hit especially hard.

United Airlines shares tumbled 5.5%, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines each fell about 4%, and Southwest dipped nearly 3%. Cruise line stocks fell to levels last seen before vaccines were widely available to Americans. Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings each lost between 4% and 6%. Hotels and Airbnb also slipped.

Shares of Boeing, which is just starting to see a recovery in aircraft orders, fell 5%. Tensions rose Monday between the U.S. and China — a huge market for planes and one that has not lifted its grounding of Boeing 737 Max jets — when the U.S. and allies formally blamed China for a major hacking attack.

Airlines say domestic leisure travel is back to pre-pandemic levels, but international travel and business trips both remain sharply lower than in 2019. That is especially bad for American, United and Delta, which get a sizeable chunk of revenue from international and business travel.

Airlines are frustrated that restrictions on international travel haven’t been relaxed more quickly. The rise in coronavirus infections — the U.S. daily rate of new reported cases has more than doubled over the past two weeks, and the World Health Organization says the delta variant is causing cases and deaths from COVID-19 to rise worldwide after a period of decline — could delay moves to make travel easier.

After massive losses last year, airlines are doing better, with more Americans booking flights. Delta reported a second-quarter profit last week, thanks to federal pandemic relief. United, American and Southwest report results this week.