Author Topic: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta  (Read 83340 times)

Offline Something Fishy

  • Global Moderator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 7924
  • Total likes: 3800
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 44
    • View Profile
    • Kosher Horizons
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« on: November 16, 2014, 10:37:17 PM »
Trip Report
 
Planning and booking

Flights:

In November of 2012 I went to Kauai and the Big Island for the first time, and was promptly bitten by the Hawaii bug. I have been to many beautiful and interesting places, but none have smitten me like Hawaii. No other place made me want to return so bad that it hurt.
 
So when I got a DDMS text one cold and dreary December morning that Delta was having a major pricing glitch, I know exactly where I'm going. After half a nail-biting hour of browsers hanging and Priceline misbehaving, I had my prize in hand: three ticketed reservations, flying JFK-LAX-LIH on 8/10, and returning OGG-HNL-SEA-JFK on the 18th. Total cost? $582.90. Within a few minutes of booking the deal was dead; prices were back up to normal.
 
Of course I know that this being a glitch, it's very likely that the tickets won't be honored. However, after just a few minutes, another text arrived: Delta announced that they're honoring any and all tickets! Thinking this can't get any better, I settled back down to work. But what do you know - another text: the glitch had worked for first class as well! I hadn't even thought of searching for F and J, and now I was kicking myself for it. On a whim, I figured I'd check my tickets again - if Delta was so broken, who knows, maybe they put me in first class too. Sure enough, there it was - all but one leg in either First or Business Elite! The only leg that was not - LAX-LIH - had booked into B class, which would entitle me to free Economy Comfort.
 
The original plan was to spend half the time on Kauai and the other half on Maui, but we later decided to skip Kauai this time and just focus on Maui. Delta was more than happy to let us change our flights so long as we paid the difference in the fare. No, thank you :P...
 
Since this was more than six months out, I knew that its almost inevitable that there wont be a schedule change, so I decided to wait for that and change the tickets then. Sure enough, in early March, I got an email that the LAX-LIH flight had been pushed off by two hours. A quick phone call later and I was confirmed on a new itinerary: JFK-LAX-HNL-LIH. This was perfect since I would now be flying to LA lie-flat on the B767 instead of recliners on the B757, but more importantly, I could now drop the HNL-LIH leg and jump on a HNL-OGG plane instead.

A week before leaving I suddenly get an email notifying me of a completely new itinerary: JFK-ATL in F on an MD-88 (>:( >:( >:(), and ATL-HNL on the A330 in Economy Comfort. The really annoying part was that my original flights were still scheduled as normal - but for some reason they had bumped me off those flights! I called Delta right away and expressed my disappointment on flying 2 hours in "first" and then 9+ hours in economy, vs. 5.5 hours in a lie-flat bed. The rep was extremely helpful (and annoyed at the change as well, since she could not see any reason for it), and asked me how she could make things right.

Make things right? Hmmmm... difficult question... "Well, ma'am, I think if you could put me in J on the ATL-HNL leg that would make the itinerary change easier to handle..." She put me on hold and came back a minute later: "Well Mr. Fishy, I'm happy to let you know that you're confirmed into the last three remaining Business Elite seats for your flight to Honolulu". Woo Hoo  ;D ;D ;D! Not only was I in F/J all the way through, but this was on the internationally configured, brand-new, A330! Not a bad way to get to Hawaii...

On our return flights we also had a couple of minor schedule changes, which ended up in switching the original OGG-HNL-SEA-JFK to OGG-LAX-JFK. The advantages were a later flight out, so more time in Hawaii, plus lie-flat on the 767 on the LAX-JFK leg.

All in all I found Delta absolutely amazing the deal with. From the very beginning when they announced that they're honoring the glitch tickets, through the multitude of schedule changes (there were 11 of them in total, each of which worked to my advantage), to the flights themselves. Pity their FFP is so lousy.

Final tally per passenger:

Out of pocket: $196.33.
F/J throughout.
Mileage earned:
- 630 UR (booked using CSP)
- 14,716 AS (@1.5x actual mileage)
- 14,716 DL (yes, they credited both my AS and DL accounts ;D)

Assuming 1.5cpm, total cost p/p: $-254.60.

Not a bad deal... Not bad at all.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2014, 12:36:59 AM by Something Fishy »
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline Something Fishy

  • Global Moderator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 7924
  • Total likes: 3800
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 44
    • View Profile
    • Kosher Horizons
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2014, 10:37:49 PM »
To be continued...
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline rots5

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *********
  • Join Date: Jul 2011
  • Posts: 8144
  • Total likes: 16
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 17
    • View Profile
    • Custom Cakes for Every Occassion
  • Location: Monsey
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2014, 10:38:12 PM »
Awesome!  Thanks.
If you have any questions please search and then ask. PM me for detailed help.

Offline ilherman

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *********
  • Join Date: Jun 2013
  • Posts: 8846
  • Total likes: 162
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 35
    • View Profile
  • Location: Brooklyn
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2014, 10:43:26 PM »
As always, great report.

Now can't wait for PICTURES!
You can say what you think when you think what you say.

Offline Dan

  • Administrator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime 50K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: May 2008
  • Posts: 62712
  • Total likes: 10224
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 16442
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: CLE
  • Programs: UA Global Services, AA Lifetime Plat, DL Dirt, SPG Plat, Hyatt Diamond, Fairmont Lifetime Plat, Hilton Diamond, Priority Club Plat, Avis Chairman, National EE, Hertz PC
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2014, 10:46:35 PM »
Amazing.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Joe4007

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Feb 2013
  • Posts: 4008
  • Total likes: 106
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 11
    • View Profile
  • Location: NY
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2014, 11:40:49 PM »
To be continued...
You better!...

Thanks for taking the time, I'm looking forward.

Offline cholent

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Aug 2014
  • Posts: 2424
  • Total likes: 336
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2014, 11:42:53 PM »
Looking forward to the continuation, and the pics!
Don't ask stupid questions and you won't get stupid answers

Offline VacationLover

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Sep 2014
  • Posts: 1526
  • Total likes: 178
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 5
    • View Profile
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2014, 11:48:58 PM »
Thanks. Can't wait for your professional photos.

Offline whYME

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: May 2008
  • Posts: 3216
  • Total likes: 1229
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 3
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2014, 11:51:54 PM »
Now can't wait for PICTURES!
Looking forward to the continuation, and the pics!
Thanks. Can't wait for your professional photos.

I don't want to ruin the surprise, but with the slightest bit of creativity you can see at least some of them... :)

Offline TimT

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 20K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Dec 2013
  • Posts: 21037
  • Total likes: 4391
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 12
    • View Profile
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2014, 12:07:49 AM »
Pretty amazing that everything worked to your advantage.

Offline Something Fishy

  • Global Moderator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 7924
  • Total likes: 3800
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 44
    • View Profile
    • Kosher Horizons
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2014, 12:29:01 AM »
I don't want to ruin the surprise, but with the slightest bit of creativity you can see at least some of them... :)

Here, let me help you guys out :D:

http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=4.msg929433#msg929433
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline Something Fishy

  • Global Moderator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 7924
  • Total likes: 3800
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 44
    • View Profile
    • Kosher Horizons
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2014, 12:36:48 AM »
Food (in which Pomegranate dares me to eat six meals a day):

For this trip we decided to use Pom meals for the first time. We had read plenty of great things about them in other people's trip reports, and figured it'll make a nice change from preparing meals beforehand and/or cooking on vacation. We were also moving 10 days after coming back, so any cost of the meals was absolutely worth it in time not spend shopping and cooking.

Since their menu changes often, they sent us the latest menu by email. You simply reply with your choice of main and two sides, and they ship or deliver it. Right away however we started running into problems. We were leaving on vacation the Sunday after Tisha B'av, as was half the Jewish community it seems. This level of demand meant that all orders had to be in earlier that usual. I didn't know this little detail, and placed my order a day after the deadline. To Pom's credit, this earlier deadline was clearly mentioned in their email; for some reason I didn't notice it. I got a call from Pom that day letting me know that even though I missed the deadline, they will still deliver on time, albeit later in the afternoon on Friday.

Sure enough, the order showed up as promised, except that it wasn't exactly right. They has mistakenly swapped one of our dishes with one from someone else's order, but more importantly, everything was wrapped for warming in the oven, instead of two being microwave-wrapped. This presented a more serious problem, as we were going to spend the last night in a cottage in Hana with only a microwave. I called Pom, but kept on getting bounced around (this being their craziest Friday of the year and all). It was the eleventh hour and I was getting desperate.

After a while I finally got through to the manager (Shimmy, if I remember correctly), who promised that he'll call me back within 15 minutes from somewhere quieter. Yeah, right. At this point I had given up on getting any help.

However, a few minutes later my phone rings and he's on the other end. First he tried confirming that everything actually was oven-wrapped (I had never seen the microwave wrapping so I wasn't 100% sure). He gave me his personal cell phone (talk about customer service!) and we switched to texting so that I could send him pictures of the packaging. After some back-and-forth he confirmed that yes, everything is in fact oven-wrapped, and also that it is far too late to do anything about it now.

At that point I had what must have been the most backwards customer service argument ever: I said it's okay, I guess we'll manage and figure something out (remember - I had ordered after the deadline and should be grateful that I'm getting anything at all). Shimmy on the other hand was insisting that he refuses to not satisfy a customer 100% percent, and I should give him my address in Hawaii and he'll overnight the missing food. I said that's absurd, he's not spending that money on shipping for two meals. He said I should cut it out and send him my address :D. By that time is was close to Shabbos so we dropped it for the time being.

Throughout the day Sunday, whenever we landed and got cellular service back, there would be a message from Shimmy asking how everything was going and reminding me to end him our address. Eventually he broke us down and we gave in :D.

A day later, a box from Pom far larger than it should have been arrived at our rental. Instead of just resending the one missing dish and two microwavable ones, Shimmy had resent our entire order! We were in awe. Pom had gained a lifetime customer, that much was certain.

Needless to say, we had feasts every day after that :D...

Taste-wise, we were disappointed though. For example, the General Tso's chicken was just chicken nuggets - not a trace of sauce. Some of the other dishes were just... plain. Some dishes were quite delicious (chicken capons, Swedish meatballs), but I failed to see why everyone here seemed to go crazy for their food.

However... Once the second batch arrived I understood. Every single dish, whether a fancy rib steak or simple tzimmes, was absolutely delectable. The General Tso's was saucy, spicy, and delicious. A complete turnaround from batch 1.

The explanation I think is obvious - they were simply overwhelmed with the post-Tisha B'av crush. Once they were back to normal operations the food went back to normal too.

In the end, I highly recommend them and will definitely be using them again. And I highly commend Shimmy for setting a new standard in customer service - talk about going the extra mile.


Weather Woes (in which we almost cancel our trip):

The flights are all confirmed (for the 11th time), the food is ordered, and we're ready to go. Except that for the only the third time since 1950, a hurricane is headed straight for the Islands. And for the first time in recent history, there are actually two of them. Both Hurricane Iselle and Julio are expected to make landfall on Maui with 75-80mph winds and up to 12 inches of rain. Iselle is expected the day before we arrive, and Julio the day after.



Airlines (including Dleta) had started canceling flights to the Islands; Hawaiian canceled all inter-island ones. The Big Island and Maui were expected to be hit the worst; schools and businesses closed, long gas lines formed, and Costco was cleand out of bottled water. Even if the hurricanes didn't hit while I was there, there was sure to be blocked roads, closed beaches, and a whole host of other problems. In fact, a rainstorm earlier in the year had closed the Road to Hana for over a week.

We were seriously considering canceling or postponing our trip. However, since we were moving right when we came back this wasn't really a very realistic option. I started obsessively following the local weather news; there were a number of websites and Facebook pages which had up to the minute on-the-ground information.

Sure enough, right on schedule, Iselle roared onto the Big Island, causing a tremendous amount of damage. However, wonder of wonders, other that some moderate rainfall, Maui was not hit at all. The worst of the damage was a fallen tree blocking a road; the hurricane had fizzled over the BI.

However, the danger was not over - Julio was barreling towards Maui and growing stronger. By Friday afternoon we were still not 100% sure if we're going or not.

The second I got home from Maariv on Motzei Shabbos I jumped onto the computer and checked my flights. Not canceled - that's a good sign. I then went to check Julio's path. Unbelievable! In maybe a 1-in-100 freak occurrence, it had veered north right before the islands and was now tracking a hundred miles away from Hawaii and getting further!




The trip was on.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 10:13:14 PM by Something Fishy »
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline morgs

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Dec 2013
  • Posts: 393
  • Total likes: 0
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: Israel
  • Programs: *a Gold, Avis Presidents circle, Hertz Presidents club
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2014, 03:14:27 AM »
Nice!! thanks for taking out the time to write it up... cant wait for the rest....

Offline Yaalili

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 10K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jul 2009
  • Posts: 12381
  • Total likes: 311
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 154
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: Crown Heights, NY
  • Programs: Caesars Diamond, F9 100K, Hilton Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, IHG Spire, Marriott Silver, Radisson Gold, Wyndham Diamond, DansDeals Lifetime 10K Presidential Platinum Elite.
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2014, 04:11:20 AM »
Amazing TR so far, also waiting for pics here of everything!

Offline E-MAN

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Dec 2012
  • Posts: 1514
  • Total likes: 3
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2014, 05:22:57 PM »
Amazing TR so far, also waiting for pics here of everything!
+1 Can't wait for the pics!

Offline AJK

  • Dansdeals Lifetime 20K Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Posts: 25541
  • Total likes: 509
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 15
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Programs: United Concierge Key; Delta Global Services; American Chairman; US Airways 1K; Hilton Sapphire; Hyatt Tritium; Marriott Californium; Starwood Kryptonium; Hertz Plutonium; National Adamantium, Avis Executive Proactanium
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2014, 11:11:52 PM »
Loving it.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Crazy tools

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Jan 2010
  • Posts: 2242
  • Total likes: 25
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Programs: United Club, Avis Presidents, Hertz Presidents Circle, National Executive Elite, SPG Gold
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2014, 01:35:05 AM »
Awesome

Offline Something Fishy

  • Global Moderator
  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • **********
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Posts: 7924
  • Total likes: 3800
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 44
    • View Profile
    • Kosher Horizons
  • Location: Not Brooklyn
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2014, 01:02:31 AM »
Day 1, Sunday:

As always, click on any picture to see it in full resolution, along with more info (exposure, map, etc.)

We got to JFK bright and early, and headed to the lounge. I met up with a couple more DDF'ers who were flying to LAX, also on glitch tickets :D. In fact another DDF'er had planned to fly on my daughter's ticket (as we didn't bring her in the end), but in the last minute decided that he can't really pass for a 2-year old girl...

After davening shachris and eating a quick breakfast we went to board our flight. First class on the MD-88 was... well, better than coach. At least my knees weren't banging into the seat in front of me.

Takeoff from JFK - the A train, Cross Bay Boulevard, and Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge:



The Kosher "meal" was (surprise!) fairly terrible:



The person sitting next to me had ordered the far more gourmet-sounding salmon and cheese dish. We had quite the laugh when the flight attendant brought him a bagel with cream cheese and lox ;D.

After a short and uneventful flight we landed in Atlanta. We hung out in the lounge again during our very short layover, and then headed to the gate. This was going to be the first time either of us had experienced a "real" premium cabin, plus this was also the longest flight yet for both of us. Needless to say, we were pretty excited.

We were welcomed aboard and found our seats. Amid many "Aloha"s and "much mahalo"s from our Hawaii-based crew, we took off.

Our seats were 1C and 1G, located in the "nose" of the cabin. According to Seatguru these seats are not recommended due to high traffic volume. I have to say that this was definitely not our experience; in fact I highly recommend these seats over any other for people traveling together. At no point during the 9+ hours in flight did I feel bothered by any traffic; the seats are private and partitioned enough that I didn't even notice when someone went by. On the other hand, these are the only seats in the row, so you really don't see anyone else 99% of the time. It felt cozy and private.





Long way to go:





Lunch was an improvement over breakfast, but not by much. The potatoes weren't half bad; the pastry on the left may have been good, if only it hadn't been frozen solid. The couscous on the other hand still haunt my nightmares sometimes:



The beds were fantastic. For a guy who's 6'-8" and gets crushed in a standard coach seat, being able to sleep like this - comfortably - is just amazing. The Westin Heavenly bedding was just that - heavenly:



After a couple of hours of rest we awoke for dinner service (it was around 7pm eastern time). Dinner ended up being the same stuff as lunch, but with the frozen pastry replaced by chocolate mousse. We sent everything but the dishes and mousse back, and asked the crew if they could warm up a couple of Pom meals for us. They were extremely accommodating, and within a few minutes we were feasting happily:



The mousse as it turned out was sublime. Perfectly creamy and chocolaty, it made a perfect end to the meal:



Finally:



We landed in Honolulu right on schedule, and rushed to sort out our luggage. Remember - our actual itinerary was to continue to Kauai. The skycap at JFK refused to short check our bags, so it was tagged all the way to Kauai.

I want over to the gate agent and told her that I'm not feeling well and will probably be spending the night in HNL before continuing on the Kauai, and could she please help us retrieve our luggage ;). Withing a minute she had printed out a couple of tags and directed me to baggage services. Five minutes after that, I was in line with my luggage checking in to my separately purchased flight to Maui ;D.

Our ride to Maui:



Hawaiian Airlines KSML :P:



Flying over the uninhabited island of Kahoʻolawe:



Molokini Crater, and our first glimpse of Maui:



We landed, collected our luggage, and went to get our rental convertible. At one point I had 8 different reservations running, and kept on updating them as the prices fell. In the end Enterprise turned out to be the cheapest.

Our Mustang didn't have much trunk space...:



Off we went to Kula, to the cottage we rented via airbnb. We arrived a little over half an hour later, to find this perfect little slice of heaven waiting for us. The cottage was bright, airy, and set over a stunning orchard and nature preserve. It was also 3000 feet up the slopes of Haleakala, so the views were absolutely insane.







We went for a short stroll in the garden:





Self portrait (that's the cottage in the background):



Each afternoon we were treated to other-worldly sunsets. I don't think you can imagine a more perfect sunset the first night in Hawaii:







Last light - you could see the island of Lanai in center-left:



A perfect ending to a perfect day.
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons

Offline Fan of Dan

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: May 2011
  • Posts: 3046
  • Total likes: 8
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2014, 01:08:49 AM »
Amazing SF!! Great report and looking forward for the rest.

Offline Hershelsdeals

  • Dansdeals Presidential Platinum Elite
  • ********
  • Join Date: Jul 2014
  • Posts: 3570
  • Total likes: 11
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 2
    • View Profile
Re: Something Fishy's Maui and Lanai Trip Report, Courtesy of Delta
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2014, 01:13:36 AM »
Amazing!