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Hawaiian Airlines Food & Beverage

June 9, 2014

Last fall, my husband and I started discussing vacation options for 2014.  I know, we like to start early.  After all, my motto is that I work so that I can travel.  And I’m not one of those spur-of-the-moment type of people, I need time to plan.  For me, half the fun in traveling is the research and planning and learning prior to even taking the trip.  Besides, if you want the best bang for your buck, and don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on airfare, you’ve got to plan in advance.  Anyhow, my husband and I bandied about several different vacation options.  We knew off the bat that we wouldn’t be taking any big vacations this year – not like we did the past 3 years.  So, we were looking at vacation options that would be a few days to one week, at the most.  We started with the idea of going to Hawaii, but couldn’t agree on how much we’d be willing to spend and what we wanted to do.  My husband wanted to do a trip with 3 islands, and I was only keen on maybe (and that was a big maybe) doing a trip with 2 islands.  So we abandoned Hawaii and moved on to a trip to Chicago.  We thought about Chicago for a bit and abandoned that and moved on to Washington, D.C. with possible day trips, or side trips, to Baltimore or elsewhere.  But none of those panned out either.  After 6 weeks of back and forth and multiple discussions, we went back to the idea of Hawaii.  Working through a few different scenarios and how it would best work out, we agreed on Hawaii, 2 islands 8 days, 7 nights.  This was an arrangement we were both happy with.  Now, it was time to plan the trip.

First step in planning the trip starts with booking the airfare.  If you don’t have plane tickets, you’re not going anywhere.  With a little bit of creative use of credit card points turned into airline miles, my husband and I were able to get one way tickets from Los Angeles to Kona via Honolulu with nothing but miles and minor administrative fees on Hawaiian Airlines.  The journey from Los Angeles to Honolulu takes just under 6 hours crossing the vast Pacific Ocean.  We grabbed an early morning flight out of LAX on a Saturday morning, and due to time change, would arrive into Honolulu right about noon.  Normally, I’d never create a blog post over airline food, because, as you know, it generally is inedible and completely unappealing.  On top of that, for a domestic flight, which is what LAX to HNL (airport call signal for Honolulu), I’d have absolutely nothing to write about because, as we all know, US-based air lines don’t serve meals on domestic flights.  Or so I thought.  Low and behold my complete surprise when we boarded our Hawaiian Airlines flight bound for Honolulu, and less than an hour into the flight heard an announcement through the PA system that the air stewards would soon be serving us breakfast.  Are you serious?  Really?  Did I get on the wrong plane?  I had no clue that any US-based airline served complimentary meals on domestic flights anymore.  I still remember the “good old days” when every meal of any significant length of time served a meal.  Granted, it might be a bad meal, but you still got a meal.  These days, if you want a meal, you better have brought one on board with you, or be willing to fork over your credit card in exchange for paying for a snack box.  But wow, Hawaiian Airlines, you still know how to treat your passengers with the “spirit of aloha!”  Heck, my return flight from Honolulu back to Los Angeles was on United Airlines and I never had anything more than your standard drink service.  No meal in sight.

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As this was to be a breakfast meal, I made the comment to  my husband that I hoped that these weren’t the rubbery omelets you always seem to get served as “breakfast” on my international flights.  Though, my husband reminded me that I should be grateful I was getting a meal at all.  We had no options for our breakfast meal, it was either take it or leave it.  Figuring I could find something on the tray to nibble on, I took breakfast.  To my surprise, this wasn’t rubbery eggs in a heated plate wrapped in tin foil, this was a breakfast I could actually stomach!  Our breakfast was a tray of fresh-cut fruit including watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe and grapes, along with cheese and crackers, a small cup of water, and a little treat of chocolate covered macadamia nuts.  Wow, this was a perfect Hawaiian breakfast, fresh fruit and chocolate covered macadamia nuts.  What more could you want for a breakfast meal?  And drink service to go with breakfast included your standard coffee, tea, water, sodas and orange juice, but also a few other more tropical selections of passion-orange-guava juice and pineapple juice.  My husband and I felt like we hit the jackpot.  This might be the first time ever that we both cleared our meal trays for an airline meal.  We were already enjoying our Hawaiian airlines experience, but this just put it right over the top!

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As if this wasn’t enough, I was completely blown away towards the end our flight.  Approximately 1 hour prior to landing in Honolulu, the stewards again came down the aisles with their drink carts.  This time, it wasn’t just drink service they were offering, but it was snack service.  Each passenger was offered a bag of the ridiculously good Hawaiian sweet Maui onion potato chips.  What better way to welcome your guests to the islands?

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Not only that, if you so chose, which my husband did, on top of the normal Hawaiian Airlines drink service (meaning the tropical juices added), they also were welcoming guests to the Hawaiian islands by offering complimentary cups of alcoholic rum punch!  I’ve only ever been on one other domestic flight that offered complimentary alcohol (and that was a small regional flight which was trying to highlight alcohol from local breweries).  Hawaiian Airlines really wanted to celebrate our journey from the Mainland to Hawaii.  You could feel the enthusiasm in the stewards and the guests as we all were excited to be approaching Hawaii.  The rum punch just helped everyone be just that much more excited.  My husband actually said that the rum punch was quite good.  In fact, he ended up having rum punch again a little later on in the trip (which you’ll read about), and he ended up saying that the rum punch on the plane was much better than the one he had at the bar in Waikiki.  Big high-five to Hawaiian Airlines.

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After landing in Honolulu a little bit late and being a little bit more delayed as there was a malfunctioning jet bridge on the tarmac to meet the plane, we hustled to catch our connecting flight from Honolulu to Kona.  Separated by just under 200 miles, this was only to be 35 minute jaunt to the Big Island.  I expected we’d take off, reach cruising altitude, descend and then land.  Story over.  However, I was again proven wrong.  35 minutes was just long enough for a quick drink service on the flight.  We were given the option of a small juice box of water or passion-orange nectar.  When in Hawaii, drink something tropical, right?  I opted for the juice box of passion-orange nectar and it was glorious.  Just the right hint of sweetness and tang.  What a terrific, and refreshing drink.

I think Hawaiian Airlines quickly moved up the list of airlines around the world I love.  And believe me, that list is pretty small as flying these days just isn’t a treat anymore.  What a way to start off our Hawaiian vacation.  Join me as I relieve our Hawaiian food adventure over the next few weeks.  Aloha!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2014 9:08 am

    I’ve spent the morning reading about your trip to Hawaii from beginning to end. It sounds like you had a great time. Our daughter and family just came back from a cruise there and loved it.

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  1. The Edge of Waikiki | Ducky's Always Hungry

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