Inspired by the legendary local Manapua men, who sell the signature steamed buns, fried noodles and other local treats from their van, Hawaiian Airlines very own 'Mahalo Van' has been surprising employees across our company carrying similar snacks and goodies delivering messages of appreciation.

Our Purpose and Values committee launched The Summer Appreciation Pop-Ups in early July to mahalo each work group – from cargo to guest service agents, mechanics, crewmembers and corporate teams, among others – who have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.  Our maintenance team, with the help of longtime partner Pow!Wow! Hawaii, spent over 180 hours transforming an unused company shuttle into a colorful display of gratitude, now known as the ‘Mahalo Van.’   


Our maintenance team converted an unused company vehicle into the Mahalo Van.
Mahalo Van volunteers serve sweat treats and shakas.

"Our employees not only worked during the pandemic, so many of them worked harder than ever before given the constant changes and increased challenges," said Alisa Onishi, senior director of brand, culture and community relations. "It's a simple gesture but we really wanted to recognize our team's hard work. A 'thank you' and 'enjoy this' goes a long way. Especially when it's among fellow colleagues."

The Mahalo Van makes a stop at the crew center at HNL.

The Mahalo Van is staffed by employee volunteers, including senior leaders, and stocked with favorite local treats like lemon peel gummies, furikake popcorn and shave ice cups. The cultural resource center located in our corporate headquarters became the designated poster-making area where employees got creative with their mahalo messages.

Mana Kanahele, a ramp lead on our airport operations team, is also a passionate artist.

"I've been doing art for as long as I can remember, and I was inspired to make a sign for my fellow ramp employees, and for everyone, because I, too, am appreciative of them," Kanahele said. "[At Hawaiian] We want everyone to feel like ohana, feel welcome, and you can't get that anywhere else."

What's the next stop for the Mahalo Van?

"For our employees not based in Honolulu, we're sending gift boxes to all of our stations with similar sweet treats,” Onishi said “We definitely want to do more fun events with the van. It was a labor of love and represents the pride our employees have for each other.”

Check out Hawaii News Now's coverage of the Mahalo Van and interviews with Onishi and Kanahele below.