A loaf of Love’s Bakery bread is a slice of life in Hawaii, as familiar to residents and tourists as flip-flops and aloha shirts.
So there was no way residents would be deprived of their daily staple even if it meant having to fly the loaves a circuitous 5,000 miles through Los Angeles.
On Tuesday -- thanks to bankrupt Aloha Airlines -- residents on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai were in danger of being without their ration for the first time since Robert Love, a Scotsman waylaid in Honolulu, began baking the bread in 1851.
Aloha had been flying the freshly baked breads from Oahu to the other neighboring islands. But when Aloha abruptly ceased cargo operations Monday, it left 22,000 pounds of bread and other baked goods sitting at Honolulu International Airport.
With an inter-island barge not scheduled to leave for several days, Love’s Bakery seemed stuck until it found it could get the bread on a Delta Air Lines flight. The bread was flown to Los Angeles, where it caught separate flights back to Kauai and the Big Island.
Kauai is 102 air miles from Honolulu and the Big Island is about twice that.
“They should be arriving right about now,” Love’s Bakery President Mike Walters said in a telephone interview Tuesday afternoon, about 16 hours after the bread left Oahu on the roundabout journey.
“They just left us high and dry,” Walters said of Aloha, which stopped passenger service last month and announced Monday that the company would be liquidated.
“It’s an extraordinary distribution method and a costly one, but it takes care of customers,” Walters said, adding that the bakery plans to “eat the costs.” He said he was unsure of how much it would cost.
“Our customers have supported us since 1851 and we’re not going to infringe on that relationship just because someone else messed up.”