Friday 15th September 2023
Woke up early this morning, which has been the norm since being in Hawaii. The final sunrise looked pretty good and we went for a walk along the beach up towards the main Waikiki beach. We took that one last stroll along the beach and came back along the streets. No need for a stop at the ABC store this morning (we went last night) but we had plenty of time to get all cleaned up and fully packed and have a leisurely breakfast. We had a 1030 pick up scheduled for our airport transfer (not something we would normally do, but it was part of our Costco Travel package).
We checked out and headed down to the pick up point. We made sure to get there a bit early because the bus showed up about 10 minutes early. It was a bit of a strange encounter but we were soon off to the airport. It didn’t take too long for the journey, especially once we got out of the city itself (though why he didn’t take Nimitz is beside me). We got dropped off at Terminal 1 where Hawaiian is fully taken over. We had to walk back a bit to the Mainland check in lobby and I was a bit worried as we didn’t have to do a USDA check which was something you apparently HAD to do.
We checked one suitcase and then headed towards the security checkpoint closest to the mainland lobby. We got turned away though due to having TSA pre check and told to go to the other side of the terminal. I guess this was the older part of Terminal 1. But we got into the long looking pre-check line and it moved pretty quickly through the ID check. The scan only took a few moments and then it was back out the other side of the dignity check and into the terminal. Heidi had some Priority Passes to use up so we decided to try and get into the lounge as we had a little while. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait too long to get it and the check in process sure felt like being back in the lounge in the old days with assigned seating.
The Plumeria lounge was fairly small but not awful either. It was simple and packed full of Priority Pass members (like us) but we got some snacks and some drinks and just chilled out for a little bit. Lunch was on offer and it was pretty simple stuff with some soup, some Shoyu Chicken, Rice and Yakisoba. Not bad to be honest and filling enough before a 6 hour flight. We enjoyed the relative peace and quiet and even had a celebrity sighting of a Hawaiian Grammy winner before his flight somewhere. We left the lounge a little early as our flight was about a 5-10 minute walk from the lounge and I wanted to do a little browsing of the shops before getting to our gate.
Our gate was in the new part of the terminal and it was so different to the old section. High ceilings, lots of seating, power everywhere, there was even a Hula dancer and Band to entertain the crowd. The area was mainly set up for heavies headed to the West Coast at that point with multiple flights all headed out.
Hawaiian Airlines – HA22
Honolulu to Seattle Tacoma
Airbus A330-200 (N389HA)
Economy Class – Seat 43A
Boarding: 1244 (Gate A10)
Push Back: 1332
Take Off Roll: 1352 (Runway 8R)
Top of Descent: 2136
Touch Down: 2205 (Runway 34R)
Shut Down: 2210 (Gate S12)
After a little while boarding was called and they let us know that we had to have our bags ready for USDA inspection. By the time it was our turn it was pretty simple, you just put whatever you were carrying onto the conveyor belt. It ran through an Xray that they didn’t look like they were bothering to look at. Simple! Less hassle than TSA to be honest. They were just looking for certain Agricultural products so considering most people got the notices to say avoid taking that stuff, it was easy.
We held in the jet bridge for a few minutes and the line moved really slowly. We had started boarding REALLY early but that is because they understand how slowly it takes people to load in an aircraft here in the USA. Even a heavily loaded widebody fills up. Speaking of widebody, it is rare to be on a domestic flight in a Widebody aircraft these days but it sure was nice to have 2-4-2 seating. Heidi and I had a 2 seat section on the left side so that as we took off we got a great view of Honolulu on the climb out.
We buttoned up with very little hassle and it turns out they don’t make the IFE available until you get airborne as the system wouldn’t even let us look around in it until after we had left. We pushed back a bit early and we headed for the active runway. Being on the left side I didn’t get a look out over the Hickam ramps, but I did get a look down the rest of the terminals and couldn’t spot the A380s so they must have both left already.
We headed out to the reef runway and didn’t even really have to wait in line all that much as there wasn’t many others in line and by the time we got there, it was turn and off we go, didn’t even really have to hold. We blasted out over where I had been spotting just days before at the start of our vacation and and climbed out over Honolulu, past Diamond Head and Waikiki and over the section of the island we didn’t explore all that much. We then turned heading North East toward Seattle and climbed up with nothing to see below but ocean and clouds.
With the IFE up and running and as we climbed out the Flight Attendants began their service with the sale of items first. No one really bought anything and I was keeping what I was going to buy for later. Then after that was completed they rolled out the carts for service. Hawaiian is the only airline that still offers complimentary food in Economy. Don’t get me wrong, it is not an elaborate option. For lunch time offering it is essentially a hot pocket and a free glass of Pineapple Passionfruit Rum Punch (which they used to offer as a second service before arrival to Hawaii, but I guess that changed too). Other non alcoholic beverages are available and I got myself a full can of POG and sat back to watch movies.
Flight attendants came through regularly throughout the flight offering water and if you asked them for something they would happily bring it to you. They would also sell you items from the back of the plane as I went to use the bathroom and bought a Blanket kit. Not because I was cold but because I need to add to my airline blanket collection. Speaking of the bathrooms, flying a widebody used for international as well as domestic has its benefits… long haul bathrooms. God it was nice to have that bathrooms available! Not being cramped in a 737 or A320 super compact bathroom was amazing. There was room to breathe!
The flight was pretty uneventful, we flew east in what felt like a lot of daylight until we had a very short sunset about 90 minutes out from Seattle. About 30 minutes out we started our descent just as we crossed the coastline of the Olympic Peninsula around Ocean Shores (according to the map) and came in over the Olympia area preparing for a Northbound arrival.