Steve (DOS) and I are currently in Hawaii thru December 14th. I’m writing this in sections as time, wifi, and power (wait until we get to Volcano House!) allows!
We started our trip to Hawaii on Wednesday afternoon, with a 2 1/2 hour flight from Orlando to Dallas (DFW), where we spent the night at the Hyatt Regency Airport DFW. Due to COVID, neither DOS nor I had flown since March 2020; a record of not flying anywhere for over a year an a half. Here DOS waits to check in after we were dropped off curbside by our ride to the airport.
It really felt a bit foreign to us having not flown in so long, but we soon got back in the routine. We were surprised how busy the airport was for a Wednesday afternoon, and glad we had re-enrolled in FLY CLEAR, which expedites the wait in security lines.
It was also a sign of the times seeing a vending machine filled with face masks and hand sanitizer bottles!
We arrived a couple hours early, so we had plenty of time for lunch at the Orlando Airport Ruby Tuesday’s.
Our flight to Dallas was on an Airbus 321, and we were in First Class sets 3D and F. It was a nice (and full) flight, and we served a snack aboard the flight along with drinks. While you still have to wear a mask in the airport and airplane, we could at least take it off while we were eating and drinking, so it wasn’t too bad.
On arrival to DFW, we gathered our luggage and took the shuttle bus to the onside Hyatt Regency Hotel.
We had dinner at the onside Hyatt restaurant, which featured a prime rib buffet. The intimate Mister G’s Steakhouse Restaurant which we used to love going to at this hotel, has sadly closed, although the hotel is hoping to reopen it as another restaurant at some point. The buffet we had though was fine, and we got to bed by 11pm for our morning flight.
On Thursday, after a great night’s sleep at the Hyatt Regency, we took the Hyatt shuttle to Terminal A to check in for our flight to Kona.
In an odd quirk of the times, (our gate changed last minute from Terminal D to A), we had to take the tram from Terminal A to D to get our “Safe Hawaii” wrist band, showing we had completed the pre-flight COVID paperwork, notably that we had our COVID vaccines. While we had allowed plenty of time to checkin, it was quite a way to travel to terminal D last minute, and several people on the flight (mostly connecting passengers) didn’t have time to get their wristbands, which would delay them when they landed in Kona.
After heading back to Terminal A, we flew nonstop from DFW to Kona, Hawaii on a Boeing 777-200 jet. We were seated inFlagship Business Class (no First Class offered) in rows 2A and 3A, both window/aisle ‘suites’. In this version of the 777, the seats were arranged in what DOS called, “ying yang”, that is alternatively frontwards facing, and rear-view facing. I faced forward in row 2, while DOS faced backwards in row 3.
The flight was excellent, and due to an unusual tailwind flying westbound, we arrived an hour early; the flight took only seven hours instead of eight!
I watched a Hallmark Christmas movie (happy ending of course!), and later a few of my favorite scenes from The Greatest Showman, and Mamma Mia; in both of which I love the musical numbers.
After dining in the air and watching the movies and clips, I reclined in the full sleeper seat for a couple hours shut eye.
I woke up about an hour before landing, and gradually opened up my window shade in the darkened cabin, although it was daylight outside (a bit to bright for sleeping during the flight).
As we approached Kona, we could finally see land after the long journey across the Pacific Ocean.
When we arrived at Kona, we deplaned via a long back and forth ramp pulled up plane-side, instead of a usual jetway. This allowed us to take a couple good photos of the plane from the ramp and ground level.
After retrieving our luggage, we took the rental car shuttle to the Budget Car Rental office.
We reserved the car with no issues, but then had a slight panic as we noticed my carry on bag was no where to one found!
I had left my carry on bag on the Budget shuttle bus that had already left again for the airport! Fortunately we waited a couple cycles for our shuttle bus driver to return, and he had placed our bag behind the counter for us when no one had claimed it. Whoo! So we then head to the rental car with all of our bags.
Steve (DOS) loads the rental car and I take photos around our white Impala rental car in case there is any prior damage. We then head out from Budget to our Kona Hotel, a half hour drive or so with traffic.
We stayed in town at the Royal Kona Resort for three nights, which was very nice.
We had a corner balcony room, which had a HUGE wrap-around lanai, affording us spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. As Kona has a mostly rocky (volcanic) coast, we could see and hear the constant roar of the waves crashing into the coast. The sound of the waves made great sleeping weather too!
As we were getting settled in our oceanfront room for three nights, we realized that we had forgotten to load that black carry-on bag into the car! Yes, that same carry-on bag that we left on the rental car bus and had patiently waited for it while multiple rental car buses came and went. I even have a picture (above in this post) of DOS wheeling the black carry-on bag from the rental car facility to the rental car. Somehow however, we didn’t load the back carry-on bag in the car, and we went all the way to the hotel without it! No problem, we will just drive back to the airport in Kona rush hour traffic and hopefully the bag is still there. On the bright side, I was able to take a photo of the Kona Airport sign!
We fortunately retrieved the “lost” carry-on bag once again at the Budge rental counter, after I described the contents of the bag. Hint: always label your bags, even your carry-on bags!
We then drove back to our Kona Hotel, and got there right as the sun was setting.
As DOS dropped me off to go park the car, I rushed to take a couple photos from ground level before heading to our room.
Once up in the room, DOS and I could finally relax from the stresses of the carry-on baggage fiasco. We took a couple more photos on our lanai and settled in our room for the next three nights.
As we were a bit tired from the long trip to Hawaii, we had an early dinner at the hotel. The outdoor open-air restaurant was mostly covered, and we had a great seat overlooking the ocean, while listening to the Hawaiian band playing in the distance.
Aloha, and welcome to Hawaii!