We hear it often from our guests: there is no better feeling than starting a Hawaiʻi holiday or returning home to the islands on Hawaiian Airlines. When they step aboard our aircraft, they're greeted with the distinct sights, smells, flavors, and music that define Hawaiʻi.

Starting tomorrow, our guests will enjoy refreshed in-flight music with a new series of boarding videos that showcase melodic duos, including music legends and the up-and-coming talents who have flourished under their mentorship.

The 10-part playlist, produced exclusively for Hawaiian Airlines, will debut with seven videos, which will be rolled out throughout April: 

The three final videos will be available by fall 2023.   

Cassidee Owens, brand management specialist at Hawaiian, said the idea to refresh our boarding videos surfaced while talking story (having a conversation) with our flight attendants.  

“They pointed out that it’d been several years since we put our music videos. With our 95th year of service beginning in November and the delivery of our Boeing 787-9 coming at the end of the year, we were already brainstorming modern and authentic ways to perpetuate our legacy as Hawaiʻi’s hometown carrier. So their feedback came to us really at the right time,” she said.  

Music’s role in the boarding experience goes beyond entertainment. Owens explained, “Our in-flight music aims to evoke a certain emotion and elegance. We don't want songs that are too crazy or upbeat because we don't want our guests to feel rushed or stressed in the aircraft. We want to make sure they feel comfortable and welcomed.”  

Hawaiian Airlines relied on its relationships with Hawaiʻi’s arts and culture community to select the talent for its new music videos. “It was a collaborative process between our team, Community and Cultural Relations, and the production company because we each had connections with prominent local musicians. From there, we built our wish list of duos and started putting feelers out.”  

Owens added that it was essential for the musicians to have a strong storyboarding role. “We wanted this project to collaborate heavily with the artists, so we took their suggestions seriously. For example, we looked to them to identify the best location for their video shoot. Brother Nolan and Blayne Asing wanted to perform in the rolling hills of Waimea (on the Island of Hawaiʻi) because that town is the backdrop of their song, ‘The Pueo, Tara and Me.’”  

blayne and brother noland
Brother Nolan and Blayne Asing performing in Waimea, also called Kamuela, on the Island of Hawaiʻi.


“When we share our music, we are not only bringing Hawai'i to the world, but we are also welcoming everyone to Hawai'i, our home, in the way that we know best,” said featured musician Pōmaikaʻi Keawe.   

“Performing Ālika, my tūtū (grandmother) Genoa Keawe's signature song, alongside my daughter in Kualoa was an incredible way to honor her legacy and my kupuna, who are from the nearby town of Lā'ie. This opportunity with Hawaiian Airlines reminded me of the kuleana (responsibility) I have, through my music, to spread aloha across generations and throughout the world,” she reflected.

The brand team worked behind the scenes of each video to support the talent and help bring each storyboard to life under the Hawaiian Airlines look and feel. Owens’ favorite moment was watching the Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus singing on the steps of Iolani Palace. Owens attended grades K-12 at the school, which is a private charitable educational trust endowed by the will of Ke Aliʻi (Princess) Bernice Pauahi Bishop.   

“That moment was chicken skin for me,” she said. “Those keiki (children) are singing about being Hawaiian and their culture while being on the steps of one of the most iconic historical landmarks in Hawaiʻi. Mrs. Bright, the chorus teacher in the video, was also at Kamehameha Schools when I was there, so the video has a special place in my heart – and I’m sure other alumni will feel the same way when they see it.”  

Kamehameha and RHB
Behind the scenes of filming the Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus and Royal Hawaiian Band at Iolani Palace.


Owens also expressed her pride in knowing that many guests’ first impressions of Hawaiʻi will come from these talented performers.  

“It is incredible that these musicians are among the first faces our guests are welcomed by on their journey to Hawaiʻi. These videos make another aspect of Hawaiʻi’s rich culture accessible to those who don’t live here and provide them with a meaningful opportunity to experience our love of calling Hawaiʻi our home,” she added.