No Passenger Weight Limit for Mokulele
By Catherine Cluett Pactol
Mokulele Airlines, the only air carrier left serving Molokai, has removed their weight limit for passengers, when previously, those weighing more than 400 pounds were restricted from flying on their aircraft.
“In response to the need to fly passengers-of-size, Mokulele has worked with engineers to provide a special double-seat, capable of carrying a passenger weighing over 400 pounds,” stated in the airline in a press release last week. “The seat is twice the size of normal seats and will be installed prior to each flight on an as-needed basis.”
Passengers weighing more than 400 pounds must travel on flights prior to 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m., the airline said. They are also subject to a higher, flat rate fare of $130 per segment, “since two regular passenger seats must be removed to accommodate it.”
There is now no weight limit for Mokulele passengers but they must be able to walk onto the plane using a ramp — a new boarding option for the airline.
“We were custom-building ramps to the airplane for heavier people and those who have difficulty climbing steps,” said Richard Schuman, Executive Vice President of Mokulele. “Representative Lynn DeCoite and Senator J. Kalani English worked with ‘Ohana Airlines to allow Mokulele to use the ramps left behind by the out-going carrier.”
These announcements follow ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’s suspension of flights to Molokai and Lanai in January, leaving passengers of size and those requiring wheelchair access with limited options.
“[This] announcement should solve virtually all of the travel needs for the people of Molokai and Lanai following ‘Ohana’s departure,” said Mokulele Chief of Staff Keith Sisson.
Mokulele also said passengers will notice a price drop that went into effect two weeks ago.
“Mokulele Airlines’ policy has always been to offer fares lower than those of competing airlines. Traditionally, Mokulele’s highest maximum fare was at least $40 less than Hawaiian’s,” stated the press release. “Now that Hawaiian has exited many markets, Mokulele has reduced that maximum fare, so that the highest fare will never exceed $125, even on peak-days when flights are mostly sold out. (Most fares on Molokai and Lanai are priced between $56 and $89.) Passengers who book early have the highest probability of securing the lowest possible fare, since fares increase as the planes fill up.”
Rep. DeCoite expressed gratitude for Mokulele’s accommodation of Molokai’s needs.
“Air transportation is essential to our island communities and something I feel we have taken for granted. These past few weeks have been a reality check for all of us,” said DeCoite. “I truly appreciate Mokulele working hard to solve these issues so that people in our rural communities can continue to have reliable air service!”
The phone number for Mokulele’s Customer Service Center is (808) 495-4188. Booking fees by phone are waived for heavy-weight passengers over 400 pounds and for group bookings of four people or more.