Hawai'i One-3, Day 11: Aloha Nui Loa, Hawai'i
It's always a bummer leaving Hawai'i and coming back home. Today is no exception.
I drop Lucie and our luggage off at the airport (the cloth interior of the car gets a bit damp because I have to lower the ragtop to get the suitcases out of the back seat) and I hitch a ride with the shuttle once I drop the car off at the rental agency (the attendant who signs the car in sees all of the rain spots in the car and on the cloth seats, just grins, and says nothing about potential water damage -- obviously not an uncommon occurrence here, I'm guessing.) By the time I get back, our luggage has been checked by the porters (love those guys!) and Lucie has our boarding passes in hand, and it's a relatively easy walk into the gates through the metal detectors and TSA agents with their grabby and judgmental hands.
Because we're hoity-toity Important First Class Passengers, we're able to access Hawaiian Airlines' "Premiere Lounge" while we're waiting for the connecting flight to Maui... and believe me, until you get to experience the Kona Airport's Premiere Lounge, with its fountain drink dispenser and free WiFi, not to mention high-speed PC hookup (note the lack of plural there), you haven't lived a full life. Okay, so it's not the Ritz or anything, but there are comfortable seats, and it's an air-conditioned room, and we do appreciate the WiFi, so it really is a nice touch. We sit at a table and pull out our iPads for the twenty minutes or so before our plane is set to arrive, and then make our way out to the gate.
It's a short jump over to Maui -- we wave at the sugar cane fields as we land -- but the ten minute wait for the flight to the Mainland turns into almost 45 minutes as the plane we're scheduled to board isn't yet at the assigned space. There's no early boarding because of this, and no "delayed" notice on the info board, but while we're not thrilled about how crowded the waiting room becomes during this time we're certainly not going to complain about getting to stay in Hawai'i for a little while longer.
The flight back (once the place finally arrives) seems to take much longer than usual, due to the turbulence that we hit on the way. The flight attendants are instructed to take their seats on two different occasions, the drink carts are delayed a few times for safety reasons, and it's a bit of a challenge to watch the movie selections on the entertainment tablets (iPad minis with Hawaiian Airlines branding and operating software) they loan us First Class passengers -- although if you time the turbulence jostling just right, it totally cancels out the camera shaking in Star Trek: Into Darkness so it looks like Kirk and Spock are just drunk. Hard to follow some of the archery shots in Brave, though.