In August 2012, Hawaiian announced an upgrade to its economy-class inflight U.S. mainland service. Among the upgrades were a new menu, a complimentary glass of wine on lunch/dinner flights and a free tropical cocktail before landing on breakfast flights. This was in contrast to other airlines cutting back on meal service.[99] According to Hawaiian's CEO Mark Dunkerley:
"In today's competitive world you cannot justify providing complimentary meals on a traditional business model. It simply does not pay for itself... which explains why essentially everybody has taken all that free food off the airplane. We're being illogical by actually investing heavily in this area... It's part of who we are, and it's what makes us different from everybody else."[99]

On January 5, 2015, Hawaiian refiled its previously rejected application with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for the Kona-Haneda route with service, if approved, to begin in June. The request was prompted by a DOT decision in December 2014 to review the public interest in Delta Air Lines' Seattle-Tokyo route after Delta reduced the frequency of those flights from daily to seasonal.[49] On March 31, DOT again denied the request, opting instead to allow Delta to continue operating the route, with American Airlines taking over if Delta's planned service continued to fail.[50]

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