For the last 20 years, Ahuimanu Elementary School teachers, including Matthew Duarte, have facilitated a “trip to Europe” activity for third-grade students. The goal: teach children about the world of aviation and the importance of travel experiences.

"Our kids are learning about different countries. Each student researches a specific country and later presents their findings to the rest of the class. That day, we also pretend we are on the airplane going to their country. We have passports that the kids get stamped and set up the chairs so it's like they're boarding an aircraft for an international trip," Duarte explained.

Having an understanding of what an air travel experience is like provides an even richer learning experience, Duarte explained. However, many of his students have never stepped into an aircraft before. That's where Hawaiian Airlines came in.

717 FC


Today, 30 keiki (children) from Duarte's classroom and four chaperones traded the Windward O‘ahu public school campus for a special "trip abroad" in Hawaiian's in-flight training facility at its Honolulu headquarters. Students boarded mock Boeing 717 and Airbus A321neo cabins and were instructed to properly stow their carry-ons, take their seats and fasten their seatbelts. They observed the in-flight safety demonstration for each aircraft and some students recreated the demo to teach their peers. 

Safety Briefing 717

After a simulated take-off, they enjoyed meal and beverage service as though they were flying as real Hawaiian Airlines guests.

"We wanted every student to have the opportunity to be able to recall and reflect on what they learned here at Hawaiian Airlines when it's time for them to present," Duarte explained. "Learning about travel and aviation will open their minds and help them think about maybe one day going abroad, learning about other cultures and sharing those experiences with their family and friends."

Beverage Service 717


Once students "arrived at their destination," they deplaned and were invited to test out the features of the carrier's newest Boeing 787-9 Leihōkū Suite — including its lie-flat functionality and luxurious amenities.

787 Suite


Afterward, the class climbed aboard a fully inflated life raft used by flight attendants during training, and instructors shared where the rafts are stored and when they are used.

Life Raft Demo


"Our trainers were super excited about this opportunity," shared Hawaiian Airlines In-Flight Instructor Ryan Casco. "Many of them are parents and have watched their children grow up in this industry and felt it was special to share these experiences with keiki in our community. We hope this visit inspires them to travel or join this industry one day."



For b-roll from today's Ahuimanu Elementary School visit, click here.