Priority and Communication Needed for Medical Patients

This letter is in response to an incident that happen to us on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at Mokulele Airlines. 

Robert was scheduled for a vascular procedure at 10:50 a.m. at Kaiser on Oahu that morning. Kaiser Hospital reserved the earliest flight available and provided taxi vouchers to pick us up at the Mokulele airport on Oahu to report immediately to Kaiser Moanalua. 

When we got to the airport road, it was closed for road resurfacing! The detour sign was a mile away. We rushed, using his walker, from the handicap parking to the airport counter. 

We were told we were “too late”. Even when I explained about the road closure and my husband’s disability, I was told there was nothing they could do. After ten minutes waiting, we got no response. When I heard the plane propellers start, I knew there would be no chance of travel that day. You can understand our frustration. 

I contacted Kaiser Travel to book a new flight, hopefully before the end of that week. No available flights until Oct. 31, four weeks later. I was instructed to check for fever, swelling or infection until that time. 

Certain needs have to be addressed. These include priority for disabled passengers, providing added flights for passengers with medical appointments on Oahu, coordinating Oahu appointments with available flights for patients from Molokai, and allowing other travel companies to invest in air travel to and from Molokai to encourage healthy competition.

The Dept. of Transportation should avoid road closures during day flights at the airport. If closure is necessary, work at night, or allow one lane access to and from the airport. Likewise, inform Mokulele before road closures to contact passengers early enough by phone, text or email to allow extra time for travel to the airport. 

Our letter probably represents hundreds of people who have traveled off island with similar or worse experiences. Having only one airline responsible to service all the travel on Molokai is not working! 

Respectfully submitted, 

Jan and Robert Thomas 


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