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Thread: A quick trip report for a quick trip - HNL


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    Super Moderator spongebue's Avatar
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    Default A quick trip report for a quick trip - HNL

    I'll save you some time, Migflanker: I bought a liter of water for about $.90 at a Kmart.

    So, I had a conference in Las Vegas for work. Usually that would have me working Monday-Thursday, but this year I had sessions all day Sunday as well, flying in late Saturday. Since I was putting in well over my 40 hours Sunday-Thursday, not to mention giving up my Saturday night to travel for work, my boss graciously let me take that Friday off without using vacation time or unpaid time off. The joys of working a salary position and having a boss who feels he owes you a favor or two.

    Anyway, so I had a very rare 3-day weekend with no busy holiday season. So, what's a guy to do? Travel some more, of course! Something relaxing, since LAS was tiring enough as it is. Mexico was full, nonstop preferred when possible... how about HNL? Lots of flights, and super open this time of year. We jumped on it. Since the nonstop DEN-HNL was a bit full, we took the early flight to SFO so we could get to HNL by about 1:00. The day before, I noticed there was a capacity 62 seats in F, 310 in Y. Whaa? That's not a configuration of... any planes, really. Certainly not the 777 on the schedule. I checked the seat map on our reservations system, and it was too big to display the traditional way. Hmm. The only plane that does that is the... wait... 12+50+310 = 747 configuration! Turns out, they made an upgauge for maintenance! Plenty of seats, and maybe a chance for an upgrade!

    Or not. We made it to SFO just fine, and while we had an empty seat in economy plus next to us, there were way too many people on that upgrade list to get a seat in F or C. Oh well. I spent a good portion of the flight in the back of the plane where there was an open row with a working power outlet. Turns out, I can fit across 3 seats pretty well when I'm not concerned about kicking someone sitting next to me! Certainly better than the 777 where even a raised armrest sticks out too much to stay on your seat laying across. Anyway, that turned out to be a nice catnap.

    After landing, I had to explore the 747 really quick. It's my favorite plane, and I've only been on one twice - neither time being on UA. An old interior to be sure, but I just love its size, its shape... everything. Too big to fly, but it doesn't know any better.

    Anyway, we arrived and I picked up a rental car, then met a dispatcher I know with HA for lunch. Big Kahuna's Pizza is awesome for their killer kahlua pork sandwich (kahlua meaning "smoked" not Kahlua ). Not surprisingly, he's a total aviation geek. Conveniently, he was thrilled to give me his listing credentials in case I wanted to look up loads to take HA home.

    After that, we headed to our hotel in the Waikiki area (Hyatt Place). Spent some time at the beach, and a little time wandering around. Rooftop terrace across the street from the shore? Let's get a cocktail! And it turned out to be Happy hour, cooool. Dinner was at a place called Lulu's. Good atmosphere, food was decent but nothing to write home about. Since it was our bedtime back home, we decided to turn in for the night.

    The next morning was our first morning in HNL in quite some time. Usually I've gone for little day trips. So we were able to do two things I really enjoy about HNL only available in the morning: the swap meet, and McDonalds breakfast. Don't laugh, they have a very local menu: in my case, I had eggs, rice, and a few slices each of spam and portuguese sausage. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it! The swap meet in the Aloha Stadium parking lot is also great for some cheap souvenirs and such, and also a good place to meet up with one of my wife's college friends who moved to the island. My wife got a couple dresses, and we got some li hing mui (dried prune) powder. Again, don't knock it 'til you've tried it, it's awesome on pineapple. Or as the very passionate guy at the booth said, it's da bomb! By the way, I learned from previous experience: don't bother with getting coconut here, even ready to eat. You can do great things with coconut, but eating it as-is isn't really one of them.

    After the swap meet, we had lunch with my wife's friend at Loco Moco drive inn (near Valkenburgh St, if you want the exact location). I had been thinking of this place before without knowing the name, since I had been there when my cousin's family lived in the area (Navy) but wasn't sure if it was really convenient for the friend-in-law. She suggested a place on Valkenburgh (one of the few streets I know in HNL) and what do you know, it turned out to be the same place! Highly recommend for some authentic, cheap, everyday/casual Hawaiian food.

    After that, the wife and I went to Ko'olina. Neat to see, and very picturesque. But parking is a pain to find, so we didn't stay long. Next stop: Haleiwa. Matsumoto's shave ice (not shaved ice!) is super touristy, but well worth the line (which actually moves quite fast). Great value, too. For reference, a shave ice is a lot like a snow cone, but all the things I hate about snow cones are fixed in shave ice. Rather than getting the syrup running off the crunchy ice, the ice is ground really fine and absorbs the syrup, which is very generously given. Tip: if you're going to go, get it with azuki beans, sweetened condensed milk, and if you'd like, ice cream. The first two are so unique, and work really well together. While I was there, I also picked up a bottle of okolehao, a Hawaiian moonshine, to supplement my exotic liquor collection. So far I've got that, Panamanian seco, Cuban rum (don't ask ), Turkish Raki, Norwegian Akvavit, and just to fill that last space, Hendricks gin (hey, it's easy to find, but it's also Scottish!)

    After our shave ice, we went along the coast on most of the island until we hit highway H3. This time, we didn't really stop, but you certainly can. Some nice beaches, including one where sea turtles tend to hand out. Also lots of shrimp trucks and the Polynesian Cultural Center (you'll need to dedicate lots of time to that one, I've been there once as a kid). Once you get to H3, you can take it back to Honolulu on a very scenic drive - with all the tunnels and raised highways, you feel like you're almost driving through a jungle. Oh, and it's got one of the few Hawaiian speed limits with a number beginning with "6" instead of "5" or even "4".

    From there, we were at the awkward time where there wasn't enough time to do anything new, but too much time to go to the airport. We went to Long's Drugs (a rebranded CVS) to get some supplies for my cousin who lived on Oahu for a while, plus some obligatory chocolate covered macadamia nuts for us.

    After packing up the moonshine by wrapping it in a couple beach towels and dropping that in a backpack, we went to the airport, checked that "bag" and killed some time at the club. I had a few passes in my wallet for this kind of occasion, and honestly it wasn't worth it. No showers, which would have been great after a long day, and it was overall like the rest of Oahu: built up several decades ago, and probably great at the time, but hasn't really been updated and now just feels kind of run down. I hate to say it, but... let's just pretend it's for another airline instead of my own. By the way, in accordance with my employer's social media policy, I work for United and am not representing my company in any way.

    Anyway, eventually it was time to go to the gate for the usual song and dance. As we came to expect watching loads the club, there was one seat for both of us. My wife wasn't allowed to sit on my lap. Most of the plane had boarded, but there were still a few MIA. Figuring we had nothing to lose by trying for the nonstop home (there was a flight to SFO 30 minutes later, also a 747) we stuck around. By flight closing time, there was still one guy left. They pulled him off the flight, cleared us both, and off we went! I was so happy, I didn't even bother giving my wife the puppy dog eyes for the one aisle seat, and took the middle seat a couple rows back.

    Normally on these HNL redeyes, I wake up a few times over the ocean, and a few more times over land. This plane had AVOD, so I was able to see exactly where I was waking up each time. Fell asleep after takeoff, woke up halfway across the ocean. Not bad, but the more I sleep at first, the harder it is to go back to sleep. Fell asleep again, and saw lights outside the window. Land! Awesome! Must be flying over SFO, since that's where our flight path was taking us. Checked the map. Nope! We were all the way to SLC! I was so excited, I couldn't get back to sleep. But that's totally fine, we were practically home!

    Got home, picked up our backpack from baggage claim, and reached inside to do the wet test. It passed! Had a few sips tonight, and the stuff is pretty smooth all things considered, but at 100 proof VERY strong. I'll have to see what kind of mixers I can come up with!
    Spongebue - NonRev Correspondent - U.S./Midwest Region



  • #2
    Winner! mrs767er's Avatar
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    Wow--aside from that hooch, you sure pack a punch with that report. I'll have to refrain telling Boss about puppy dog eyes. He'd pull that one on me! But last time, he took biz flat bed and I got E+ seat--AMS long haul--stinker!
    mrs767er - NonRev Correspondent - Specialty Travel

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  • #3
    Administrator Migflanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spongebue View Post
    I'll save you some time, Migflanker: I bought a liter of water for about $.90 at a Kmart.
    Now you know I have to ask, was it carbonated?

    Ahhh the quintessential Hawaiian breakfast, Portuguese sausage, eggs, rice and fresh pineapple and it’s at McDonald’… lovin’ it.


    And love the 747, but you should have seen it with the piano bar…in Coach.
    https://youtu.be/Eb_5jJbTqTM
    Keep'em Flying

    Migflanker - Senior NonRev Correspondent - Los Angeles

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    Super Moderator spongebue's Avatar
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    hehe, mrs767er, I do think it's fair to say that the employee is the one who made the trip happen and should be able to get the better seat. In practice, for some reason when we both list together she's above me on the check-in list. I think it may be alphabetical as a tiebreaker (same last name, her first name starts with A, and mine with or maybe based on time of check-in, which could be done alphabetically when we check us both in through the app. Anyway, since she's above me in the list, they always seem to give her the better seat!

    Mig, not carbonated. This is still America, afterall! Also, sadly no pineapple at the Mcdonalds anymore, as nice as that sounds. I also would have loved to have a chance to fly in the golden age of open flights, awesome meals in coach, and people actually dressing up to fly (by the way, I totally rock wearing a suit :-D ). Then again, maybe it would be a hard transition to make to today's nonrev situation.
    Spongebue - NonRev Correspondent - U.S./Midwest Region


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    I also picked up a bottle of okolehao, a Hawaiian moonshine, to supplement my exotic liquor collection. So far I've got that, Panamanian seco, Cuban rum (don't ask ), Turkish Raki, Norwegian Akvavit, and just to fill that last space, Hendricks gin (hey, it's easy to find, but it's also Scottish!)

    What about Aguardiente from Colombia? It will take you out!
    ddagencylv - NonRev Correspondent - Global Aviation News

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    Winner! mrs767er's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spongebue View Post
    hehe, mrs767er, I do think it's fair to say that the employee is the one who made the trip happen and should be able to get the better seat. In practice, for some reason when we both list together she's above me on the check-in list. I think it may be alphabetical as a tiebreaker (same last name, her first name starts with A, and mine with or maybe based on time of check-in, which could be done alphabetically when we check us both in through the app. Anyway, since she's above me in the list, they always seem to give her the better seat!

    Mig, not carbonated. This is still America, afterall! Also, sadly no pineapple at the Mcdonalds anymore, as nice as that sounds. I also would have loved to have a chance to fly in the golden age of open flights, awesome meals in coach, and people actually dressing up to fly (by the way, I totally rock wearing a suit :-D ). Then again, maybe it would be a hard transition to make to today's nonrev situation.
    Of course, Boss should get the better seat--he IS the Boss! He did say next time, it's mine, but the puppy dog eyes could work. Of course, A is before Bue. And Boss is before Mrs...

    I was thinking about dressing up--those pistol-packin', hot mama statement shoes would do the trick!
    mrs767er - NonRev Correspondent - Specialty Travel

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    Super Moderator spongebue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddagencylv View Post
    I also picked up a bottle of okolehao, a Hawaiian moonshine, to supplement my exotic liquor collection. So far I've got that, Panamanian seco, Cuban rum (don't ask ), Turkish Raki, Norwegian Akvavit, and just to fill that last space, Hendricks gin (hey, it's easy to find, but it's also Scottish!)

    What about Aguardiente from Colombia? It will take you out!
    Aside from the Cuban rum (hard to get unless you have an opportunity) and the Hendricks (I had an open spot on my case to fill!) everything I have was bought as a souvenir. It may not be too impressive to only have 4 items, but this is a relatively new thing I'm doing!
    Spongebue - NonRev Correspondent - U.S./Midwest Region


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    Full Member R.M.Anderson's Avatar
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    In the old days before the Casual Clothing Dress Codes - you could always pick out the non revs - they were the one dressed like penquins in tuxedos and modest dresses - no bare skin or flipflop shoes.
    Back then too the opportunity to ride the First Cabin was not much of a problem - AA hadn't invented the Frequent Flyer miles upgrade circus yet - And the meals the service and the thrill of a red carpet
    arrival with leis - then the mad dash to get out of those non-rev duds to head to the beach for a Mai-Tai and a luau - the fleeting suns rays before the night partying starts. The Pearl City Tavern with its
    monkey bar and bonsai garden were one of my favorites as well as Buzz's Steakhouse - Oh those were the days - the beer was Primo which always got a party started as a primer cheap thrill.
    Then after the partying was over having to get suitably dressed to pass agent inspection of the non rev uniform to board the flight back to the mainland. Darn red-eye flights back to the mainland dressed
    in straight jackets - no rest or comfort - don't even think about removing that tie ! BUT FOLKS IT WAS WORTH IT ! The good ole days are nothing but history and fond rememberances !

    Thanks spongebue for rekindling those memories !
    DOE - 09/03/65 WAL
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    Super Moderator spongebue's Avatar
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    Pretty impressive to rekindle memories that I'm way too young to have ever encountered myself! :-D
    Spongebue - NonRev Correspondent - U.S./Midwest Region


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    Administrator Migflanker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.M.Anderson View Post
    In the old days before the Casual Clothing Dress Codes - you could always pick out the non revs - they were the one dressed like penquins in tuxedos and modest dresses - no bare skin or flipflop shoes.
    Back then too the opportunity to ride the First Cabin was not much of a problem - AA hadn't invented the Frequent Flyer miles upgrade circus yet - And the meals the service and the thrill of a red carpet
    arrival with leis - then the mad dash to get out of those non-rev duds to head to the beach for a Mai-Tai and a luau - the fleeting suns rays before the night partying starts.

    And the AA FA’s Hawaii flight uniforms were those terrible blue muumuus or an ‘aloha’ shirt.
    And you carried a nonrev/ employee card, a paper ticket with red carbons (yeah Brian -carbons) and a ‘timetable pamphlet’
    You’d go to an airline ticketing office/counter at one of the hotels and pick up extra non-rev tickets and get the latest load info.


    Ah yes, I remember it well.
    Keep'em Flying

    Migflanker - Senior NonRev Correspondent - Los Angeles

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