I’m trying to catch up on my blog, and what better time than a maintenance delay while we’re on American Airlines flight 5 from DFW to Honolulu. We are actually going on to Kauai, but flying via Honolulu, and connecting to an inner-island Hawaiian Airlines flight. Yes, we are on the plane – YEAH! – but have a (hopefully) minor maintenance delay on this Boeing 767.
American changed the aircraft from the newer configuration 767 which is configured 1 x 2 x 1 in First Class on this older 2 x 2 x 2 configuration, which meant everyone’s seating preference was screwed up, and most couples were split up in seats away from each other. As seen from the diagrams below I downloaded from Seat Guru, the seating arrangements are totally different on the two planes. (American calls it Business Class on these two class configurations, but it’s really First Class as they only have ‘Business’ and ‘Coach’). The new configuration (which we and everyone had reserved seats in) is on the left, while the older configuration we flew in is on the right.
After quite a round of musical chairs, I helped ‘orchestrate’ the move for 10 passengers (including us) so DOS and I could sit together, as well as a family of four and two couples celebrating their 45 and 41 anniversary’s (who were all traveling together). Otherwise, everyone would have been split up for the 8 hour flight in different rows. I think even the Flight Attendant’s were impressed, as they were as confused (and annoyed) as everyone. I had taken my originally assigned seat 2B and chatted with some folks while boarding was still going on, so I knew who was with who, which helped.
American Airlines is in the process of changing their 767 configurations, but I really do not understand why they leave the seat map for the new configuration on-line and let you select a seat weeks or months ahead of time, and then change to the actual seating configuration the day of the flight. This isn’t a matter of a last minute aircraft switch – it’s been this way for months. The flights always show the new configuration, and on the day of the flight all of the Hawaiian-bound flights always revert back to the old configuration. We have monitored this on line many times over the weeks and it’s always the case; I don’t get it American – please show the correct seating chart until you get all the 767s updated. This makes a mess for both the passengers and the Flight Attendants, and screws up the meal service, especially for people who pre-ordered their meals and are now in different seats. (Rant over!)
Finally after getting a third of the passengers in First Class moved around, I took my new seat 4B next to DOS who was in 4A.
The first order of ‘Business’ in ‘First’ was to read the menu, even though DOS and I had pre-ordered our meal. (The Flight Attendants said it was so confusing trying to figure out who had what, that they just started at the beginning regardless of the pre-orders, but we got our requested dish anyway.) Here is the menu on our 11am daytime flight from DFW to HNL.
Then the mandatory safety video announcement. American just updated the safety announcement this week as we saw on our flight from MCO to DFW, but this is still the old (and in my opinion better) announcement. The new one is a bit to animated; I prefer the more serious one with a Pilot speaking, to a bunch of simulated seats and graphics.
It’s now 8pm Eastern time, or 7pm back in Dallas, (yet only 2pm in Hawaii) and we have less than 20 minutes left in our flight. This all day 8 hour flight more or less ‘flew’ by, no doubt helped by sitting in first class. DOS just opened the windows to lighten up the cabin as well as get a first glimpse of the islands coming into view.
All of the window shades were closed most of the flight, so the cabin was quite dark, giving it a night feeling as a result. With the five hour time change from DFW (6 from home) it will be around 2:20pm when we get to Honolulu- so there’s still a full day of daylight left. We do have to connect to a Hawaiian Airlines flight for the short flight over to Kauai.
On this flight to Honolulu, I watched two movies, had lunch, and still had time for a couple hours nap. I first watched “Accidental Tourist” while I was having my meal. Accidental Tourist is a good ‘Drama’ movie from 1988 I had never seen before but my friends often call me by that title as a nickname because I travel so much. While a serious drama, like most movies there is a bit of humor. In this funny scene, I can definitely relate to William Hurt’s character with a chatty seat mate,
and his look of trying to be nice, when he’s really thinking ‘Would you please just shut the hell up and leave me alone!” LOL!
After the movie I napped for a couple hours in my almost lie flat (angled) seat 4B, while DOS did the same in the adjoining seat 4A.
I woke up about 3 hours before landing, and still had time for another movie. My pick this time was ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory! I’m not really much of a movie person as you can see by my two older choices of movies, but I absolutely LOVED Gene Wilder’s (the original) version of Willy Wonka.
This movie was made in 1971 and I remember seeing this as a child, but didn’t remember much of it except the spoiled rich girl making her dad buy thousands of Wonka Bars so she could get the winning ticket. The movie has none of the trashy language, sex, violence etc in today’s movies, and it’s brilliantly funny in a clean-cut ‘G’ rated musical. Call me old-fashioned, but I loved this film; it was a fun type film in the Wizard of Oz type category. When I got to the hotel later and had internet access I looked up the cast, trivia, etc on IMDB, which you can find here.
On approach to Honolulu, Steve (DOS) took some wonderful photos out the window of the plane, including these of Diamond Head crater, Pearl Harbor, and some island/sea photos. We were both surprised how well these came out using our new iPhone 7’s.
After landing, we had nearly two hours before our 4:30pm connecting flight on Hawaiian Airlines. We went to the Admiral’s Club at Honolulu Airport to relax for a bit and maybe get some snacks. Something told me to log on to my Macbook, and I immediately realized I left my MacBook charging adapter on the plane! I had literally just bought it in the DFW airport before our flight to Honolulu, as I had left mine at home in Orlando. (This was just after I bought it at the Admiral’s club in Dallas right before the flight.)
I remembered putting in in the overhead (still in the bag I bought in) on the plane, but with the musical chairs seating arrangement, I didn’t look in the overhead where I was originally seated in 2B as I departed the plane. Fortunately the outstanding customer service of Christina in the Club was able to have it delivered to the club in a manner of minutes, saving me the $80 for a new one, not to mention trying to find a Mac power adapter in Kauai. I thanked her profusely, and will send a nice letter to American thanking her for her above-and-beyond efforts. Thanks a million Christina! Here’s a couple pics I took in or short visit to the club. It’s a huge Admiral’s Club, and offered free beers, wine, liquors, and soft drinks, but we didn’t have time for any of those. Well ok, one quick beer for me.
DOS and I then headed out of the club and got a quick bite to eat in the food court in the Honolulu terminal. From there, we headed to the inner-island terminal, which is connected via interior walkway or bus; both airside so you don’t have to go thru security again from a domestic flight.
Our flight to Kauai was a short 20 minutes, and while we didn’t upgrade to First for such a short flight, we did pay the extra $10 ahead of time to get priority 2 seating and two seats together towards the front of the plane with a bit more room in 4A and B, which I would highly recommend if you have carry on luggage such as us, not to mention early boarding – a no brainer.
Hawaiian Airlines had 3 Flight Attendants on this Boeing 717 jet arranged in a 2 X 3 arrangement, and they even served water or juice to all coach passengers on this short flight! I’ve been in First Class on American on a 40 minute flight from Orlando to Miami and haven’t even been served anything! Friendly Hawaiian smiles from the Flight Attendants too.
Upon arrival in Kauai we retrieved our checked luggage, and took the National Car rental shuttle the short distance to their site to pick up a car. I was surprised they had Executive Aisle at this small location, but they did, and we rented an SUV for the week and were soon on our way.
The drive from Kauai Airport to our hotel in Poipu, the Grand Hyatt, took about half an hour or so, but wasn’t a bad drive this time of day on a Saturday at 6pm. We commented on the drive how each of the Hawaiian Islands has a different character to it. My first impression of Kauai were a very laid-back island that has fortunately not been as developed as the others, with plenty of natural vegetation and rugged scenery. Steve (DOS) had not been here in years, but remembered going thru this tree arch when we did. I had only been once myself, and that was in 1990 or so as a stop on the former American Hawaiian Cruise Lines Constitution.
We were getting a bit tired from the long travel day by the time we got to the Grand Hyatt, but were quickly and warmly checked in, and of course ‘lei-d’. Even though we had wheeled luggage, we wisely had a bellman assist us with the luggage, as it turns out the room was what seemed like a mile away from the front desk! I could not believe how many corridors we went down to get there! We would find out later more about the design of the hotel, but for now I’m going to end the post, and say we made it safely to Kauai! A big ALOHA!