Sure, Sir Richard Branson and his decidedly stylish airline Virgin America just touched down in Honolulu for the first time last week, but one airline has been showing off its effortless tropical chic for 86 years now. 

Aloha, Hawaiian Airlines.  

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines launched its inaugural flight on Nov. 11, 1929 from Honolulu to Hilo. At the time, that flight had to stop in Maui and took three hours and fifteen minutes roundtrip. It cost a whopping $15 (more than $200 in today’s money). Today, even though oil is three times more expensive, the 50-minute flight only sets you back $79.

On that first fight, passengers were given Wrigley’s gum to relieve ear pressure. Today, Hawaiian Airlines boasts that its the only domestic airline still serving those elusive complimentary meals — making it no wonder that Hawaiian Airlines was voted in the top three of Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers Choice Awards Best Airlines in the U.S.

As Hawaiian Airlines celebrates its 86th year of flying to paradise, let’s take a look back at some of the legendary airline’s firsts.

All photos and caption information courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines Corporate Communications.

  • 1929

    Hawaiian Airlines

    On Nov. 11, 1929, Inter-Island Airways (which would later become Hawaiian Airlines) had their first scheduled flight from Honolulu to Hilo, stopping at Maui.

  • 1930

    Hawaiian Airlines

    By 1930, the airline had carried a total of 10,367 passengers.

  • 1934

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1934, Inter-Island Airways was awarded Hawaii’s first neighbor island airmail service contract.

  • 1935

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1935, Inter-Island Airways added 16-passenger Sikorsky S€‘43s. 

  • 1941

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1941, three new 24-passenger DC-€‘3s were flown in formation from Oakland, California, to Honolulu in 13 hours and 54 minutes — €”it was the longest over-water flight made by a DC-€‘3.

  • 1941

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1941, Inter-Island Airways changed its name to Hawaiian Airlines.

  • Dec. 7, 1941

    Hawaiian Airlines

    On Dec. 7, 1941, a Hawaiian Airlines DC-€‘3 no. 9 carrying 24 passengers was hit by Japanese fire at Pearl Harbor. An engine caught fire, but a stray bullet hit the fire extinguisher, putting out the flames. No one was hurt and the event made “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.”

  • 1943

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1943, Hawaiian Airlines hired its first flight attendants.

  • 1950

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1950, the National Safety Council presented Hawaiian Airlines with a 20-year award, the first airline in history to win this award.

  • 1952

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1952, Hawaiian Airlines introduced its first pressurized, air-conditioned cabin service with 44-passenger Convair 340s.

  • 1955

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1955, the airline converted five of its DC-3s to have large “viewmaster windows.”

  • 1960

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1960, Hawaiian Airlines began its commercial jet service from Los Angeles to Hawaii.

  • 1973

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1973, Hawaiian Airlines presented “Pualani” (flower of the sky) in its new logo.

  • 1979

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 1979, an all-female crew became the first to operate a certified scheduled U.S. air carrier.

  • 2001

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 2001, Hawaiian Airlines introduced an updated “Pualani” with a new logo.

  • 2002

    Hawaiian Airlines

    In 2002, Hawaiian Airlines replaced all its DC-10s with Boeing 767s, making the airline one of the youngest fleets in the industry.

  • 2015

    Hawaiian Airlines

    Today’s Hawaiian Airline’s flight attendants, looking fly as ever with a touch of aloha.

 Correction: This story has been updated to show that Hawaiian Airlines replaced its DC-10s with a fleet of Boeing 767s in 2002.

 

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19th January 1950: Trainee air hostess, Claire Swan, during a training session in a BOAC mock aircraft.

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