Island Air, the only airline that provided student discounts for college students in Hawaii, filed for bankruptcy and ceased all operations on Nov. 10, according to the Associated Press. The airline canceled all scheduled flights and has yet to provide refunds for tickets already purchased, according to BYU-Hawaii students.
Zully Davila, a sophomore from Peru majoring in art, had already bought her ticket to travel to Maui. She said, “I heard about the airline going bankrupt through one of my friends. I didn’t believe it at first, so we went online to check. It was true and I was really sad because we had just bought our tickets … for my birthday.
“We called our banks to see if we could get some kind of reimbursement. They actually said at the time they weren't going to do reimbursements. And if they [did], it was going to take some time because of all the people that had already purchased. If they knew they were going bankrupt, they shouldn’t have allowed people to keep purchasing tickets.”
Island Air had brought in a new fleet of larger aircrafts as part of an aggressive expansion strategy, according to AP, but the plan had backfired and led to the company’s bankruptcy.
Elizabeth Lindsey, a freshman from Utah majoring in biology, was planning on island hopping for Thanksgiving break. She said, "I heard about the airline going bankrupt through social media. It surprised me because it seemed like a flourishing business."
Lindsey expressed disappointment at the company’s closure. "For it to just [go bankrupt] like that sucks. For all the people who use it regularly, it will no longer be an option. Right before the holidays will really inconvenience not only students, but also anyone who was planning on traveling.
“Now, without the student discount, I think it just makes island hopping more of a big deal. It’ll have to be better planned out and less people will end up doing it. I think people are frustrated because being able to island hop and having it be reasonably priced is something everyone looked forward to on breaks.”
Rachel Roberts, a freshman from Utah studying exercise and sports science, had also planned on using Island Air for the holidays. She said, "I was planning to go to the Big Island over the break, but now it would have cost almost $200 more than it would have with Island Air. I was bummed. I thought Island Air was an affordable and easy way to experience other islands. I probably won't be visiting the other islands as much.”