Aloha Airlines: Memories of Chocolate Chip Cookies Past

There’s one memory of flying as a child that always stands out for me: returning from a family trip to Hawaii on Aloha Airlines, watching through the window as day faded into night, and the smell of chocolate chip cookies, freshly heated, served one-by-one down the aisle with a glass of cold milk.

Milk & cookies, Aloha Airlines style (Source: https://www.airlinemeals.net/photos/airline-meals/aloha-airlines/hnl-to-yvr-jan-2003/20ea)

These days, Aloha Airlines is no more; it filed for bankruptcy in 2008, and the Great Recession that followed sealed its fate. For the longest time, I’ve wondered about those chocolate chip cookies: did Aloha Airlines make them in-house? If not, where did they get them from? The few online forums that referenced the cookies were filled with contradictory information, and since Aloha closed before social media (and even a significant online brand presence) became the norm, there wasn’t much information to begin with.

Then I stumbled across an article I hadn’t seen before, an old blog about someone’s trip to Hawaii using Aloha Airlines. They mentioned getting lilikoi bars from the Cookie Corner on the flight, and also talked about the chocolate chip cookies, but didn’t specify their source. I figured if Aloha had a relationship with this company on other desserts, and given the company’s name (Cookie Corner), there was a chance this was the lead I was looking for.

I called up the Cookie Corner on a whim, and, after explaining my inquiry, the lady on the phone offered to have someone call me back who might know the answer. I left my name and number and went about my day.

A few hours later, I got a call from Angus McKibbin, the owner of Cookie Corner. He was intrigued that someone had reached out and mentioned Aloha Airlines (since Aloha has been out of business for a while). Angus confirmed that he sold the chocolate chip cookies to Aloha, although they were served white-label instead of under his company’s name. He also shared a great anecdote: he was invited to fly on the first Aloha Airlines flight to Orange County, traveling with his (then) 8-year-old son. After eating the end-of-flight cookie, his son turned to him and said that the cookies were even better than the ones Cookie Corner made. His son was surprised to learn that these were actually supplied by his dad’s business!

Airline perks, especially when it comes to food, continue to diminish as we focus more on getting from Point A to Point B over the journey in the sky we take. Aloha Airlines may be no more, but I’ll always remember that flight, the smell of chocolate chip cookies, and a glass of milk, cold and refreshing, on my tray table.

And the next time I’m in Oahu, I’m definitely going to visit Cookie Corner for a fresh chocolate chip cookie.


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