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How to file a complaint against Hawaiian Airlines

Camila Lopez - Airlines - August 26, 2022

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Are you looking to file a complaint against Hawaiian Airlines over damaged/lost luggage, a flight refund, or an overbooked flight? This article will give you a step-by-step guide on how to escalate your complaint with Hawaiian Airlines, including suing Hawaiian Airlines in small claims court.

This article covers:

  • Common types of issues against airlines.

  • Best ways to get Hawaiian Airlines’ Customer Service to respond to your claim.

  • How to file a BBB complaint against Hawaiian Airlines.

  • How to file a Department of Transportation complaint against Hawaiian Airlines

  • Sending a demand letter to Hawaiian Airlines. 

  • How much does it cost to sue Hawaiian Airlines in small claims?

  • How much can you sue Hawaiian Airlines for in small claims?

  • How to file a small claims lawsuit against Hawaiian Airlines.

  • Key Fact, lawyers are not allowed at the initial small claims hearing! This helps to even the playing field so that you have a better chance of obtaining justice.

Common types of small claims lawsuits against airlines

We often receive the question, can I sue Hawaiian Airlines in small claims? The answer is yes as long as the dispute is for $10,000 or less (more on this below).

Here are some examples of small claims lawsuits against Hawaiian Airlines:

  • Hawaiian Airlines oversold the flight.

  • Hawaiian Airlines lost your luggage.

  • Hawaiian Airlines delayed your luggage.

  • Hawaiian Airlines damaged your luggage.

  • Hawaiian Airlines flight was delayed on the tarmac.

  • Obtaining a flight refund on an Hawaiian Airlines flight.

  • Hawaiian Airlines’ ticketing practices.

  • Concerns with family seating

  • Problem with the Hawaiian Airlines’ frequent flyer program

You can learn more about complaints against airlines here.

Best ways to reach Hawaiian Airlines’ Customer Service

Contact Hawaiian Airlines’ Customer Service Numbers/Website

Hawaiian Airlines has many customer service numbers, it can help to talk to the right person

  • Hawaiian Airlines Customer Service Phone Number: 1-800-367-5320 

  • Text Customer Relations at: 38285 (between 5am - 11pm HST)

  • Talk to their Baggage Bot: Here

  • Baggage Tracking: 1-(866)-389-6654

  • Delayed or Damaged Baggage claim: Here

  • Find other Numbers/Messaging options here 

Contact Hawaiian Airlines via Social Media

Hawaiian Airlines and other Airlines Frequently respond to Twitter and other Social Media quickly: 

Bring in other organizations to help!

File a complaint against Hawaiian Airlines with the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau (BBB), an not for profit group dedicated to helping people find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust, can help you with your complaint against Hawaiian Airlines. Here is how you file a BBB complaint. 

On the BBB website, you can also review other complaints that customers have filed against Hawaiian Airlines (See their profile here.) This will help you learn whether Hawaiian Airlines responds to BBB complaints. 

File a Complaint against Hawaiian Airlines with the United States Department of Transportation (DOT)

Here are the steps:

  1. Click here to go to the DOT Complaint Form.

  2. You will need the following information handy: 

  3. Your Personal information (name, address, contact information), 

  4. Airline Name

  5. Flight Date

  6. Flight Itinerary

  7. a description of the problem, incident, complaint (3,000 characters allowed)

  8. Make sure to click "yes" for the question "would you like a copy of this submission sent to your email?"

We wrote a whole article on how to file a complaint against an Airline! 

I’ve tried all that. How do I sue Frontier Airlines in small claims court?

First, Send a Demand Letter to Hawaiian Airlines

A demand letter is a letter that outlines a set of requests. For example, you could request a refund and explain why you are requesting a refund.  

If you eventually decide to sue in California small claims court, you are required to first request your money or property back before you can file the lawsuit. While you can request your money or property back by talking to Hawaiian Airlines, you should do so in writing in the form of a demand letter.

What to include in the demand letter to Hawaiian Airlines?

These are some key things to include in your demand letter to Hawaiian Airlines:

  • How much money you are owed.

  • Why you are owed money.

  • Your contact information.

  • Where to send payment.

  • Give them a few days to respond (usually about 7 to 14 days).

  • State that if they don't respond, you intend to sue.

Where to mail the demand letter to?

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES, INC.
3375 KOAPAKA STREET, SUITE G350
HONOLULU HI 96819

You can also mail a copy of the letter to Hawaiian Airlines' agent in California:

CT CORPORATION SYSTEM
330 N. Brand Blvd.
Suite 700
Glendale, CA 91203

Make sure to always verify this information by reviewing the California Secretary of State's website as this information may change. Learn how here.

If Hawaiian Airlines ignores your demand letter, what is the next step? You may be able to sue Hawaiian Airlines in a small claims court

Make sure to review any contracts you have received from Hawaiian Airlines (here is the contract of carriage for Hawaiian Airlines, make sure it applies to you). While there may be a forced arbitration clause, there is often an exception for small claims lawsuits.

How much does it cost to file a complaint against Hawaiian Airlines in small claims?

So how much are you going to spend filing a complaint against Hawaiian Airlines in small claims court?

Court Filing Fees

The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit in California depends on how much you demand from Hawaiian Airlines. You will pay between $30 to $75 to file the lawsuit. 

Note: If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees.  

Serving Costs

Once the lawsuit is filed, you have to notify Hawaiian Airlines that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $0-$75.

More on who to serve on behalf of Hawaiian Airlines is below. If you win, you can request Hawaiian Airlines to pay for your court fees and serving costs.

How much can you sue Hawaiian Airlines for in small claims?

In California, you can sue Hawaiian Airlines for a maximum of $10,000 if you are an individual. If you are a business suing Hawaiian Airlines, you can sue for a maximum of $5,000. Note, if you are a sole proprietor, you count as an individual.

By suing in small claims, you agree to waive any amount over the maximum amount you can sue for, even if you are owed more. For example, if Hawaiian Airlines owes you $12,000, and you decide to sue in small claims, you are waiving suing for an additional $2,000, which means that you will win a maximum of $10,000.

While you may be missing out on the total amount you are owed, there are practical benefits to suing in small claims instead of suing in "regular court."

Here are some of the benefits:

  1. Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.

  2. The process is faster in small claims than in other courts, as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit.

  3. Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims, which helps keep the costs of going to court low.  

How to file a small claims lawsuit against Hawaiian Airlines

Step 1: Complete "Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court" (Form SC-100)

Find the correct legal entity for Hawaiian Airlines that you purchased your ticket from.

It may be the following entity:

HAWAIIAN AIRLINES, INC.
3375 KOAPAKA STREET, SUITE G350
HONOLULU HI 96819

‍Note: Hawaiian Airlines operates as Jazz Air Lines legally in the United States. 

Hawaiian Airlines' agent for service of process in California:

CT CORPORATION SYSTEM
330 N. Brand Blvd.
Suite 700
Glendale, CA 91203

Make sure to always verify this information by reviewing the California Secretary of State's website as this information may change. Learn how here.

Step 2: File "Plaintiff's Claim and Order to Go to Small Claims Court"

Each California Small Claims Court has a different procedure for filing. You have to check with your local small claims court whether they allow filing in-person, by mail, online, or fax.Or we can file your case for you!

Step 3: Serve the lawsuit on Hawaiian Airlines’ agent

Remember, you will be serving Hawaiian Airlines’  "agent for service of process" as listed on the California Secretary of State's website. Learn more here.

Agent for Service of Process:

CT CORPORATION SYSTEM
330 N. Brand Blvd.
Suite 700
Glendale, CA 91203

Make sure to always verify this information by reviewing the California Secretary of State's website as this information may change. Learn how here.

What is a small claims court hearing like?

Small claims hearings in California small claims are informal, and most hearings last around 15 minutes. While many disputes settle before the hearing, here is what to expect if your lawsuit does not settle.

Who will represent Hawaiian Airlines at the hearing?

  • The easiest way to answer this question is that a lawyer will not represent Hawaiian Airlines since lawyers cannot represent parties at the initial small claims hearing. Instead, they will have a non-attorney representative.

The hearing:

  • Right before the hearing, the judge will ask you and Hawaiian Airlines’ representative to show each other the evidence that you will later show the judge.

  • The judge will ask you why you filed a complaint.

  • The judge will ask Hawaiian Airlines’ representative to tell them their side of the story.

  • The hearing will only last around 15 minutes.

  • The judge will ask you to show them the evidence you brought. Sometimes the judge will keep the evidence. Other times, you will get the evidence right back.

Very rarely will a judge tell you whether you won or lost at the hearing. Instead, the judge will tell you that their decision will be mailed to you (usually takes a few weeks to two months or so).

Chief Legal Architect & Co-Founder @ People Clerk. Camila is an attorney, consumer advocate, and certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.

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