Sunday, October 23, 2016

Aloha begins at the tarmac with Hawaiian Airlines

As publishers of guidebooks, we have taken nearly 100 flights to and around the Islands, and all but 5 or 6 were as passengers of Hawaiian Airlines. We've learned to go with the Hawaii specialists. Their hospitality gets the vacation started once you fasten the seatbelt.  BTW: We have no deals or partnerships or any reason to tout this carrier.

Some  flights from major West Coast Airports fly direct to the outer islands, like Maui. But most flights go through Honolulu (Oahu) and you have to transfer across the airport to catch an inter island flight.

At the main terminal in Honolulu a free shuttle bus (the Wiki Wiki) makes the five-minute journey to the smaller terminal. Or, if you have time to spare, load the carryons and walk (your bags will be checked through to the outer island).

In the post war romantic period of the Islands, ocean liners brought most visitors. Hawaiian Air today is the closest you're going to get to vintage tourism.

More often than not, you will get a good eyeful of Waikiki coming into Oahu (from the south in this shot). Flights that approach from the north go over the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

A delayed flight on Hawaiian is very rare—they are the on-time industry leaders. And they will never fail to get you to your final destination, even if they have to break out small planes, like the one above that mainly services Lanai and Molokai. Most of their inter island flights are on full-sized jets, and the trans-Pacific planes are all jumbos.

To keep the aloha spirt alive once in Hawaii, check out the Trailblazer guides to all-things-outdoors, plus all the cultural sites and tourist attractions. The visitor safety sections in the Trailblazers are a good enough reason to bring one along—possibly a life saver.