I donít know if this is interesting for anyone. So much has been written about Kauai and Iím sure mine will be the same as everyoneís. Plus my grammar is not the best, being that English is my second language. But the reason I am writing and publishing it, is because I want to remember for myself where I went, how I paid, and the whole experience. So donít be surprised if you find so many boring details, especially in the first half, itís made for me to remember and I thank Dan for letting me keep my personal diary on his server
Speaking of giving thanks, I must thank Dan and the entire DDF family for helping me plan this. Without your TRís, your posts, your Q&A, I wouldnít be able to it.
This all started months ago. I remember that morning In January that Dan posted the Eithad Glitch which had some dirt cheap tickets to Hong Kong/Johannesburg flying through Dubai. Hong Kong was a place I always wanted to visit. My father is there several times a year for business, and I was fascinated by the pictures he would bring home. So when I saw this I said Ēwe are goingĒ. I booked the tickets via Priceline, and was confirmed two economy tickets on an trip which would take almost 24hr.
And here the trouble began. A few weeks after booking that HK deal, I was eating the Shabbos meal at my in-laws. I mentioned the trip and everything came crashing down (Editers note: should I write "all hell broke lose"? Wife could read this). My FIL was discouraging me to fly so long in economy. My MIL was scared that Iím flying with our middle-eastern cousins. Basically everyone at the table was against the idea. I was trying to explain that everyone flies through AUE, and weíll be OK in economy (unless my IL pay us for an upgrade of course). But at that point DW got scared and asked me to cancel.
I told her that we canít cancel since itís with Priceline, but she asked me to try. Thankfully a few months after booking the tickets I got a notification that our return flight was pushed off with 15 minutes. I decided to jump on this and call Priceline. It took me about an hour to convince Priceline that the time change wonít work for me. Once they broke it took another 15 minutes with the airline and I had my money back.
So where are we going? DW always dreamed of going to HI so we started to plan the trip. I called up Joe4007 and discussed it with him. He explained me all my options how to go and return, and I decided to go with the direct flight from EWR-HNL and try the lie-flat seats. Of course I did not want to spend 90k a way, so a saver award would have to be available or I would have to do a plan b.
When I started to plan I didnít know how Iím going to pay for the hotel, flights, car, etc. So I decided that since I know my father has a few hundred thousand UA miles, I would ask him to sell me some miles at a good rate. Once I asked him I got a nice surprise. He gave me a gift of 95k UA miles
With that in mind, first class was a go! After a week of searching and the wife pressuring that we donít have the tickets, plan B went into action. Double checked and posted on the forums in one of the only threads that Dan gets notifications forhttp://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=1894.msg1204034#msg1204034
, and started the waiting game.
Thank God two days before the trip three spots opened up with Saver Awards, I saw it at 6AM (on a day that I took off from work, thank god again for waking up my kids to wake me). It did not clear by itself, so I had to call it in. The first person I spoke too was clueless, so HUCA with the United Call back number worked great. The second woman I spoke too upgraded me with no problem and confirmed my KSML.
Our connection from HNL to LIH we had two options, either buy tickets through UA for 6k miles, or buy it through the DansDeals.com account. Than Joe4007 reminded me that I still have 15k UA miles from my father to use, which finalized our decision to book through UA. The only problem was that our flight would arrive to HNL at 2PM, and the only option to book through UA was before that time. But after a few weeks checking every day, I noticed how the earlier flights are getting filled up, so I knew when to look out for new flight openings. So after about a month I got tickets out of HNL for 5:20. There is an earlier flight, but since it would not be on one PNR I decided not to take it.
Once I had my tickets to go, I had to see how long I can stay there according to Halachah. I went to my LOR and after discussing it with him on a few occasions, and he studying through it, he told me I can stay for Shabbos and I only need to hold Saturday for Shabbos. Since I knew from other Rabonnim in our community that they do think that you have to keep two days, I asked him again and I expressed my concern that I want to be sure that I can use his Psak. Then he told me ďlook, I personally think you should keep only one day, but since you know what the others in our community hold, I think you should be MachmirĒ. So with that in mind, I started planning a Sunday to Thursday trip.
Since I have to leave before Thursday afternoon, and to return to NYC before that I would have to leave Wednesday afternoon, we decided to go over for Shabbos to LA (plus, this extends my vacation ). To do this I converted some UR points to UA miles (this time my own, no more gifts).
Now to the itinerary in Kauai: to get around I booked a convertible from with National with the Jewish Community code (that someone thought that Dan asked to take down), for $495. Sadly Costco wasnít cheaper since Iím underage.
Where to stay: I knew from the beginning that I want to stay at the GHK. To pay for that was simple, open two Chase Hyatt cards and use the 4 sign-up nights.
For the itinerary we read up on TRís, spoke to Joe4007 (do I mention you too often?
), and of course read through the Kauai Revealed book.
Sunday October 18th 2015
I slept almost nothing on Motze Shabbos; I woke up 4:30AM which was a half hour before my alarm clock was set on. While I tried to fall back asleep I heard my phone receiving a text. Being that my father is now in Hong Kong (told youÖ) I was sure itís him, however when I checked it, I saw the unpleasant message ďyouíre flight has been delayed from 9:15AM till 1PMĒ. BRRRRR
Back to sleep was out of the question as I began wondering when to go to the airport. On the advice from my fellow DDF members, and by advise I saw all over the internet, we decided to go an hour before the regular timing.
I have planned to park my car at the airport and ask my brother that works 5 minutes away (same place as me) to pick it up on Monday morning. But then I remembered that I still have some Uber credits. So what I did was park in our business warehouse (yes ďinĒ, bad bad neighborhood so unless you park inside you wonít find your car the next day), and take an Uber to the airport. This was actually a pleasant experience as I managed to daven in the business so I donít have to do it at the airport, and then we had a black Suburbon pick us up.
In the airport I went straight to the premier check-in counter in order to sort out my connecting flight which would leave only 6 minutes after my EWR-HNL flight would arrive with the new timing. Thankfully since I booked it through UNITED and not on Hawaiian, they switched me over to a later flight.
United offered each of the passengers a $7 voucher to buy some food or drinks at the airport, used mine on some Starbucks and snacks.
The waiting for the new flight time wasnít as bad as I thought itís going to be. I met a Jewish fellow that was on the same flight as me, though he went to Maui from HNL.
I got concerned when I suddenly saw some Air China flight numbers near ours on the airport screens, I thought that maybe we are getting a different type of aircraft without the lie-flat seats for BusinessFirst. However that turned out to be a false alarm, they confirmed to me that we are getting the regular 747-400 as all other EWR-HNL flights. As a matter of fact our aircraft came directly from HNL.
So after 5 hours of wandering terminal C, coffee drinking, schmoozing, and being denied access to the United Club, we finally made it onto the flight that will bring us to HNL.
The seats are very comfortable, lots of options to position yourself, and lies down FLAT! Although I would say that could add a few more inches for 6í as myself (not even talking about SomethingFishy!), it still is amazing.
About an hour into the flight they brought us our KSML which was an omelet from Regal. It was actually pretty good. I liked the side potatoes, and I put some cream cheese on the omelet so it had a taste. The bagel couldíve been fresher.
After our breakfast/lunch meal, I took two glasses of Bourbon, and went to sleep. Iím not sure how long I slept, probably two hours.
4 hours before landing came dinner, which was beef stew with some beans and rice. Stew was just OK, but the rice was dry and uneatable to the point where I was sure that they provided some sort of sauce to go on it. That with two glasses of beer was dinner.