Angel Di Bilio/Getty Images
Andrea Romano
Updated February 04, 2019

A truly dizzying flight between Los Angeles and Maui ended up becoming a flight to nowhere. Three times over.

According to USA Today, Hawaiian Airlines Flight 33, bound for Maui's Kahului Airport, departed Los Angeles International Airport twice on Saturday and had to return three different times due to “separate and unrelated faults with different systems.”

It’s unclear which systems had issues and what those issues were, but it probably suffices to say that this was not the Hawaiian getaway most people dream about.

Images on online flight tracker flightradar24.com show the flight looping back to LAX after less than an hour in the air on one attempt, the Washington Post reported. Another attempt shows the plane spending five and a half hours in the air, circling around over the Pacific Ocean but never quite making it farther than Channel Islands National Park.

The flight finally returned to attempted to leave for a third time, but returned to the gate and was ultimately canceled. All passengers were compensated for the flight, given hotel and meal vouchers and rebooked on new flights. They were also given $100 towards their next flight, according to CNN.

“Safety is our top priority, and we apologize for the inconvenience to all our guests who were aboard Flight 33 from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Maui's Kahului Airport today,” Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement, CNN reported. “We understand our guests' disappointment and deeply regret their travel plans were disrupted.”

According to CNN, the flight was considered an extended-range operation (ETOPS), since it was a long distance flight over water. These flights have stricter safety regulations, and therefore, airlines respond to even seemingly small problems with extreme caution.

Because of these rigorous safety requirements, ETOPS planes must also pass strident tests to ensure they’re able to fly. So, while rare, incidents like this do occur. Usually, however, not resulting in multiple laps over the Pacific.

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