Friday, February 15, 2013

Hawaii - Day 1, Part I

So where have I been during my latest hiatus?  We went to Hawaii for my daughter's Make-A-Wish vacation!

I'll admit that I was jittery during the days leading up to the trip.  What were we going to forget?  What was I going to miss at work?  What new taxes was Martin O'Malley going to try to push through the General Assembly?  I honestly had a difficult time sleeping and concentrating on anything.

Our flight was leaving at 6am and Make-A-Wish provided a limo from Bayview Limousine that picked us up at 4am, which meant that we had to wake up at 3am.  On top of that, we went to Disney on Ice the night before, which meant that we were up later than normal.  No problem, right?

Our check-in at the airport was as painless as it could be with 3 kids.  With some overpriced donuts from Dunkin Donuts, we settled in for our hour wait for our commuter flight to JFK airport in New York City.  The flight attendant was late.  And before you generate that sexist stereotype in your head, the flight attendant was a fat guy.  And for you airplane fans, we rode on a Delta CRJ200 jet operated by Canadair, built by Bombardier.

Here is the obligatory picture of the wing that every air traveler must take.

The trip to JFK was as short as one of John F. Kennedy's rendezvous from the 1960's.  I think it was 35 minutes total.  We landed and knew that we had 1 hour until our next flight.  If you've never been to JFK airport, let me tell you that it's one of the worst airports EVER.  There is not a single terminal.  There are like 7 terminals (like 7 airports in one) connected by light rail trains with inadequate signage for an out-of-towner to know how to get from one terminal to the other.  And since the tracks are under repair, a clear and logical thinker like myself would assume that the outside track would go counter-clockwise, the inner track going clockwise.  Fortunately for the flight from JFK to Honolulu, we were able to go in the correct direction.  Not so much for our return ride home.

When we got to the Hawaiian Air check-in desk, we were informed that the plane was already boarding and we weren't going to make it.  WHAT?????  They then got a guy from TSA to VIP us to the front of the line, quick-scan us, then we high-tailed it to the last gate, which was where the plane was.  I think we were the last family to board the plane.  What I've since learned (I don't travel too much) is that the Arrival time is when the plane touches down and the Departure time is when the plane actually takes off.  Then you add in taxi time, embarking\debarking, standing in line, etc...  So what we thought was an hour between flights was actually -10 minutes.  At least I can say that I didn't book the flights.

We boarded the luxurious Airbus A330.  If I would have had more time, I would have taken a picture of it. Finally we took off and circled above NYC then took a direct route to Hawaii.  Unfortunately we were sitting in the center aisles, so I wasn't able to peer out the window and take pictures.  Now, what's really cool about Hawaiian Air planes, which may be the case with most planes now, but as I've mentioned I don't fly too often, is that there are screens behind each seat that can be used for television shows, movies, games, or flight tracking. And get this - most planes don't have propellers anymore!!! So images of the flight pattern and travel statistics show on the screen like a PowerPoint slide show.  I noticed that the flight was taking us through Upstate New York into Canada, through Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, then California, then over the Pacific Ocean.  I proudly pointed out to my 13 year old daughter when looking at the flight path on a globe, it would be a straight line, but on a flat screen such as this, it appears as a curved line.  She then retorted that it also shows the Coriolis effect.  Uh.......okay we may be at the point where my daughter is smarter than me.

I also found it really cool to see the rolling statistics of our flight.  38,000 feet.  478 mph.  and -72.4° outside.  That's cold, isn't it?

Eleven hours and 45 minutes later (and only 2pm Honolulu time) we were in Honolulu facing the lea greeters.  They guided us to baggage claim and to the the car rental.  We picked up a brand new Toyota Sienna van and finally headed to the Sheraton Waikiki.

We finally arrived at the hotel and they sent us to the 31st floor.  Could it be the Presidential Suite?  Holy carp, biggest room in the hotel, and the same hotel that did auditions for American Idol the year prior.  How do I know that?  Because a sign at the hotel told us that.  Otherwise I would not have known.

These are the doors with the room number that matched our keys.  Holy SHEET of paper!!!

This bathroom is bigger (and nicer) than my bathroom.  And there were 2 of them.

So....this is the dining room.  Remember that commercial?  What was the product being advertised?  I couldn't find it on Google.

This is the master bedroom.  The bed was SOOOOO comfortable.

This is the foyer of the room.

This is the living room.

I realize that I didn't take a picture from the inside looking out the 2 large sliding glass doors.  Nor did I take a picture of the second bedroom, with 2 awesomely comfortable beds, with it's own balcony.

Anyway, that was the first part of our first day in Hawaii.  More to come.

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