After my last trip (Japan) and my daily posting, it's kind of hard to not continue doing it. So for your reading pleasure, see below:
Hawaii Day One:
There had been the idea of a Hawaii trip for some time now, but was consistently pushed off for farther and more exotic destinations. The thought was, it would always be easy to get to Hawaii as a US destination, then to travel to far off lands. With a few big trips planned for this summer and January, we were really wide open to going away someplace close over Memorial Day weekend. The plan was to find something not too far using Avios and stay for a week. While I did not have great luck finding anything in advance using Avios, we knew we would be comfortable booking last minute and figured we would hold out for something, anything to get us out of NY and someplace nice.
A week before our intended departure date to wherever, I woke up to my wife exclaiming how she found saver J space on UA 15 EWR-HNL. I quickly called Singapore Airlines to book the flight (30k per person) and got us confirmed soon after. SQ is probably the best option to book to Hawaii, and it also does not charge close-in booking fees. So with a flight booked to Hawaii, this trip was happening and I needed to start planning.
After doing a rush job of reading TR’s, I decided Maui would be our island of choice. Since we were travelling over Shavout, we would have three days which we could not do any sightseeing, Maui seemed like a nice place with a mix of activities and a relaxing hotel environment that would be suitable for us travelling with an infant.
So with the island picked out, I needed to figure out hotels and transportation. Neither Hyatt had any points or cash+points options for my desired stay, but I was able to get a good paid rate at the Hyatt Regency and booked four nights there (a points stay opened for a fifth night which i booked as well) and got a cash+points reservation at the Westin for the first two nights. I found a good rate for an SUV through the Costco rental site and booked that for under $200 for our stay. The last leg to get from HNL-OGG was booked using 6k UA per passenger.
Although we would be flying a premium cabin, we would not have access to the United lounge in EWR. I was able to get in and get a quick drink before the flight though. UA 15 offers a lie flat J seat, which is nice for a long flight (10:30 flight time), but nothing great compared to almost any other foreign carrier and the service has much to be desired. The flight went by uneventfully, my kid slept for a couple hours in the beginning and end of the flight, which was nice. We got Regal KSML’s that were not bad, but having turkey sandwiches as a backup was a good safety net.
Landing in HNL was really nice and it definitely felt like the start of vacation. I did run into a bump or two when it came to my next flight, but I will chalk it up to a lesson learned. Before we even made it to check-in, we got stuck waiting for an airport shuttle for way too long. Moral of that story, if you see a shuttle, make sure you get on it, even if you have to chase it down. In regards to the flight, apparently since I booked the first flight with SQ and the second flight with UA on HA, UA could not check my bags all the way through, and I had to pay for the bags on the second leg. Lesson learned.
The hop from HNL to OGG was over before i knew it and I’m sure the views were amazing (we got stuck in the last seats on the plane with no widow). After picking up our bags and shuttling over to Avis, we were in the car in a matter of minutes and on the road to the Westin. It is around a thirty-minute drive from the airport along the coast with great views (at least for a first timer and not having done the Road to Hana yet) and pleasant driving. Check-in at the Gold/Platinum desk was smooth and then made it upstairs to our ocean view room in time to write this up. Tomorrow is sure to be a great day with lots of activities, not sure what yet, but it’s Hawaii and I know something good will happen (maybe i'll even find flights home).