Alaska Airlines sends rescue flights & wildfire relief to help people on Maui  

Aug 12, 2023; SeaTac, WA, USA; Alaska Airlines transports 11,000 pounds of relief supplies for Lahaina, Maui wildfire victims. Alaska Air Cargo team members loaded supplies onto a flight to Kahului OGG from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson, Alaska Airlines

Updated Sept. 29, 2023

Alaska Airlines is actively monitoring the devastating impacts of the Maui wildfires while continuing to maintain daily departures from the island.

Following Hawai‘i Governor Josh Green’s recent guidance, both residents and visitors are encouraged to visit Maui to support its businesses, restaurants, stores, attractions, and lodging facilities.

Starting Oct. 8, travel restrictions to West Maui communities north of Lahaina will be lifted. However, Lahaina itself will remain fully closed to the public until further notice out of respect to the town’s residents. County, state, and federal emergency responders continue with efforts to identify victims and the missing and conduct clean-up efforts of debris and hazardous materials resulting from the wildfires.

In the disaster’s early hours, we launched rescue flights from our Seattle Cargo facility on Wednesday, Aug. 9. These flights carried essential relief items such as water, non-perishable food, pillows, blankets, towels, wipes, baby formula, and diapers. We maintained our scheduled flights to transport guests off the island. Although we don’t typically operate interisland flights in Hawai‘i, we initiated rescue flights between Maui and Honolulu to evacuate guests from Maui and deliver vital supplies.

Since Aug. 9, Alaska Air Cargo has transported over 200,000 pounds of relief supplies for Lahaina, Maui wildfire victims.

Folasi was one of the lead ramp air freight agents who helped pack the rescue flight with relief supplies. In the two years he’s worked for Alaska, he says this is what our company is all about. 

“It felt good to be part of the team who are making sure that the supplies loaded safely so it can make it to Maui. I have family there, so seeing the plane take off made me feel good that Alaska Airlines acted quickly to help those in need and to know that the airline I work for responded so fast especially having family in Maui made me feel good,” he said.  

Our hearts are with those on Maui, and our employees and their families, during this devastating time,” said Daniel Chun, Alaska’s Director of Sales, Community & Public Relations in Hawaii. “We hope we can help bring much-needed care and relief to those who’ve experienced catastrophic loss throughout the community.” 

Folasi is one of many remarkable employees stepping up to support the Maui community and our guests visiting the island. Pilots and flight attendants are volunteering to fly rescue flights, airport employees are showing up to lend a hand wherever needed, we’ve offered food and supplies to stranded guests at the airport, employees from Seattle have flown in to support the team on the ground on Maui, and our contact center employees have been helping guests who need assistance. 

It’s in times of crisis that our team’s values of own safety, do the right thing and be kindhearted shine through. We’re proud of the way all our employees are rallying together to help and care for the Maui community and our guests.  

How you can help support Maui 

  • Support nonprofit partners, such as Airlink, who are well-versed in the proper packaging, regulations and restrictions needed to move supplies via cargo, and for safety reasons—it is important that we only accept items we know we can fly. Alaska has also donated 1.5 million miles to Airlink to transport first responders to Maui.   
  • Contribute to Kāko‘o Maui through the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, which works to enhance the cultural, economic, political and community development of Native Hawaiians. All proceeds will go directly to Maui organizations in support of relief efforts. The Alaska Airlines Foundation, together with Alaska employees and our company’s employee Matching Gift program, have pledged more than $150,000 to this campaign. 

We are proud of the caring community throughout our network and want to continue encouraging broad support for Maui relief. 

The best way people can help is by donating miles or supporting one of our nonprofit partners to ensure relief is making it to where it’s needed most. Non-profit partners, such as Airlink, are well-versed in the proper packaging, regulations and restrictions needed to move supplies via cargo, and we only want to accept supplies we know we can fly. 

It’s moving to see the how many people want to support, but our ask is that donations go to the non-profit organizations coordinating relief efforts instead of individual in-kind donations. 

Thank you for your support

Kanu Hawai‘i and Maui Rapid Response are leading an effort to provide travel support for Maui residents who have been impacted by the wildfires. Together with our employees and guests, Alaska has donated nearly 27 million miles towards this program.

“My heart is saddened by the wildfires on Maui, as we have lost over a century of historical and cultural landmarks in Lāhainā, local businesses and residences, but most of all, we have lost people from our lāhui, our community.  The people of Maui are strong and resilient and will rebuild, and although we may not be able to replace what was lost, we must do our part to provide relief in any form possible so that our Kānaka, our people, can once again stand tall. 
Eō e Maui Nui a Kama! #mauistrong” 

-Keoni, Alaska SFO Flight Attendant and member of our Pacific Islander Alliance employee group 

Traveling to/from Maui 

We are offering a flexible travel policy if you would like to change or cancel your flight to Maui.  

In accordance with emergency orders from the state of Hawai‘i, we’re discouraging guests vacation travel to West Maui (Lāhainā, Kā‘anapali, Kapalua).The flexible travel policy allows guests with planned travel to Maui to change their flight to another Hawaiian island.

Other areas of Maui (including Kahului, Wailuku, Kīhei, Wailea, Mākena and Hāna) remain open — as well as the other Hawaiian Islands, like Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island — and are ready to welcome visitors who are traveling to the Islands with care and respect.

To help the Maui community, for this emergency, we are allowing guests to cancel their reservations and receive a refund to their original form of payment upon request. As always, you can choose to keep the refund in your Account wallet or receive a credit certificate for future travel, but we are doing everything we can to encourage our guests to rethink their trips to the island right now. 

If you are a member of the media interested in photos or b-roll of our relief efforts, you can find it here.

This post will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.