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Special to Kalamalama by Oysten Valen, TIMSO
|Greg Chilson, manager of Inflight Training & Regulatory
Compliance at Aloha Airlines, conducted the tour, accompanied
by flight attendants and in-flight instructors Vaune Kino and
The tour began in the luggage claim area where rules for safe
conduct were explained and students received visitor badges and
The next stop was a seventh floor window of the Interisland Terminal
that provided a rare opportunity for a close-up aerial perspective
on the whole airport. As Chilson pointed out, thousands of passengers
get a good aerial view of the airport while they ascend or descend,
but few get a chance to see it from such a close distance.
While admiring the view, Chilson gave students a brief history
of Aloha Airlines and Honolulu Airport. Aloha Airlines, he explained,
began with a focus on interisland transportation, acting as a
connection partner for the larger U.S. carriers that had their
stopovers in Honolulu. In recent years, however, these carriers
have added direct flights from the mainland to the outer islands,
taking away much of the traffic that had been Aloha’s niche.
In response, Aloha Airlines started to offer mainland flights
to their customers to try to take back some of the traffic. Aloha’s
Boeing-made B737 -700 class aircraft is long-ranged and capable
of reaching a number of cities on the U.S. West Coast, including
Oakland, Anaheim, and Las Vegas.
Continuing the tour, Kino and Chang recounted some of their experiences
working aboard an aircraft. “If you want to get hired by
an airline, do not tell them that you love to fly – it
just doesn’t do it,” Kino explained. “Working
as a flight attendant is all about loving people and being a
good interpersonal communicator.”
This description was reinforced by the many smiles that greeted
the TIMSO students in the flight attendants’ lounge
Arriving at one of the gates, the students inspected an aircraft
preparing to board passengers bound for Oakland. They then crossed
the tarmac where Aloha’s aircraft were parked, and, after
takings photos of the group with a commercial jet aircraft as
the backdrop, proceeded to the ramp area where passenger bags
are sorted for arriving and departing flights.
As a result of the 9-11 terrorist incident, every piece of luggage
on its way to the aircraft is now scanned by a hi-tech analyzer.
The million-dollar machines used to be optional, and for a period
of time the U.S. Government even subsidized the purchase of the
machines in the hope that the airlines would take care of upgrades
and maintenance. That didn’t work, and today, all the machines
are owned by the government and operated by Transportation Security
The full tour took two hours, and TIMSO would like to extend
a warm mahalo to Ms. Kino, Mr. Chang, and Mr. Chilson for taking
time out of their busy schedules to meet with our TIMSO group.
The experience was both very enlightening and memorable.
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