The Inertia for Good Editor

Not the worst idea, actually. Photo: Hawaiian Airlines

The Inertia

Believe it or not, those inflatable airline life vests flight attendants are forced to perform weird presentations with have an expiration date. While the lifespan of your typical vest is (according to the internet) about 10 years, you’d imagine replacing a hundred or more of those cheap plastic bags per aircraft can add up pretty quickly. On top of that, discarding so many at once adds up to a lot of waste.

As one of the more surfer-friendly airlines, Hawaiian has started turning its old life vests into surfing dry bags.

The company has a sustainability mission that touches several aspects of its operations, which includes an effort to phase out single-use plastics from in-flight service by 2029. The vests aren’t single-use but by partnering with a startup called Think Blue, Hawaiian Airlines was able to find a second-life for them in the form of the “Think Blue Surf Bag.” They are promoted as being able to carry wax, electronics like keys and smartphones, or everyday items like IDs and money but obviously they could be used as dry bags for any number of things tourists don’t want to part with when getting in the water. Hawaiian reportedly donated 300 life vests to the project in 2023 and now another 600 recently.

This isn’t a groundbreaking tool for surfers but they make sense for people traveling who might not have their typical key storage gadgets on hand. Coincidentally, the bags address a need for tourists after Honolulu Police reported thefts targeting visitors. Police have advised tourists to stop bringing more than $20 in cash to beaches and to even bring items like smartphones into the water with them in order to minimize theft at popular tourist locations.

Most of us aren’t exactly rushing to tie one of these things to our leash plug on a surf trip but it’d be nice to have one in a pinch. Props to Hawaiian Airlines the ingenuity.


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