Topic Author
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:21 am

Hawaii 2003 With United/Aloha

Wed Aug 20, 2003 2:46 pm

I apologize as this trip was taken last July and I've been too lazy to write a trip report for it-some of the details might be fuzzy, but here goes:

This July my family and 48 of our closest friends (i.e. my soccer team) were taking a 2-week trip to Hawaii to play in two tournaments on Oahu and the Big Island. I was quite looking forward to this trip:

30 July 2003
United Airlines 55
LAX 11:50
HNL 14:23
B767-300ER N665UA
Economy Class  Sad 36J

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Photo © Tim Samples

We left for LAX at about 9:15 for the 11:50 flight to Honolulu. We arrived to a crowded Monday morning Terminal 7 and a huge line outside the door. We thought we were supposed to go in this line because the TSA had screeners outside the doors into the terminal. After waiting almost a half an hour, our bags our checked and screened by the TSA, who directs my family and I to wait in another check-in queue inside the terminal with people who hadn't checked their bags yet! Ridiculous-from what I can tell the TSA are an unorganized lot, at least over here at LAX. We were finally checked-in at 10:45am. Typical though-our seats were 17H, 17B, 31B, 36J, and 37J. My parents had managed to secure Econ Plus seats and leave the three not-so-little children back in cattle class.  Yeah sure

We get in the line for security and get to the front reasonably quickly. My dad sets off the alarm as usual and gets searched, my nail clippers are stolen by the TSA, my mom is pissed off, my genius sister has to remove a pocket knife from her bag. You know-the typical security experience for us. By the time we actually get to the gate, it's 11:10 and boarding is set to begin at 11:15. Of course we're at the farthest gate down-can't see anything, not even the reg. I wanted to look around to spot and take pictures, but no time, unfortunately. Today, we're boarding by groups and our group is called. My dad, as usual, has wandered off somewhere without telling anyone and shows up when almost everyone's in the queue. HOWEVER, we all make it to the airplane eventually and that's what counts, right?  Wink/being sarcastic

The airplane is the domestic version of the UA 763 of course, and it looks really clean and well kept once on board. The seats are comfortable; the seat pitch is another story, but at least I FINALLY got to fly on an airplane once more. Channel 9, to my disappointment is turned off for this sector. After everyone is seated (everyone being my soccer teammates) the door is buttoned up and the safety video is screened as we push toward 25R for an on-time departure. A short queue, and we rocket into the sky with that sensation of uttermost satisfaction and aviation enthusiast experiences. I took lots of pictures for the trip, but I have no clue how to get them in here and it's too hard to get them accepted into the database, so oh well.

I recline my seat as the FA's (who were pleasant and helpful throughout the flight) start to come around with a snack mix and a beverage. About an hour later (jeez!) we get lunch ( ). We first get a plate with salad and some disgusting looking cookie and I think that this is it. But to my satisfaction, we get a choice of chicken or beef. I choose beef and it's delicious as you can gather from my comments, surprisingly. After lunch, the video programming (boring) and the movie Me and Dad begins. I've never even heard of the movie, it hasn't been in theaters recently, I mean-come on, UA! Needless to say the parts I actually cared to watch were terrible. I asked a FA if the captain could possibly turn on channel 9, and he returned to say that it is on. Oh. Well, I tune in and hear jazz. How nice.  Yeah sure

The flight was pretty uneventful-I read, slept, played on the laptop, etc. We approached Oahu and I had a fantastic view of Waikiki (where I would be staying) through the clouds and of HNL. Then we made a 180 degree turn and glided down the runway that's not the reef runway  Smile. We made a hard landing, and that was it. I was the last pax off the a/c as I took some pics, then I headed for a week of soccer and other fun.

T.R. continued, as replies, below:
Topic Author
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:21 am

RE: Hawaii 2003 With United/Aloha

Wed Aug 20, 2003 2:58 pm

...After a 2nd place tournament win in Oahu, we packed our bags and left the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach for HNL. Dropped off curbside, dad returned the car, and we checked our bags with the skycap. There was no line, and he got all 14 or 15 of our bags and our boarding passes for the short hop to KOA in 5 minutes. Through security, dad sets off alarm, sister randomly searched, you know the story. I really love HNL though because it's an open air terminal. It's fantastic to HEAR the sounds of the jets up close. We got to gate 49, found no space, so went over to 53 and sat on the ground looking at planes. I got up and joined a now short queue to reserve myself a window seat on the plane. I love open-seating. Anyway, we were ready to board flight 218 to KOA, scheduled to depart at 12:something (sorry  Smile)

The aircraft, N826AL:

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Photo © Jason Whitebird

We managed to get away from the gate on Hawaii time (i.e. 15 minutes late) but it's convenient how Aloha doesn't post a scheduled arrival time anywhere where I could see! I got my window seat, 18F or something like that, and sat down. Ouch. Must have been a 30 inch pitch! It was terrible, to say the least. THANK GOD it was a 30-minute flight. I feel so sorry for my dad, though, who's 6'7"! We took off on the reef runway, and I had an excellent view of the ocean the entire way (I ingeniously chose the RIGHT side of the aircraft-or should I say the wrong side). FA's came around with a choice of Coke or juice. Juice was great, albeit slightly small of a cup but what can you expect on a 30-minute hop over to the Big Island? We landed at KOA and pulled right next to some more AL 737's. I was thrilled to be using the airstairs to get off the plane. It was raining outside, but still a great experience. I took some photos. Got off into KOA airport, if you could call it that. Got our bags and car and headed to my friends' grandparents' Kona estate for a week of more soccer and fun...

(Continued below)
Topic Author
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:21 am

RE: Hawaii 2003 With United/Aloha

Wed Aug 20, 2003 3:17 pm

....Ahhhh-first place in the Big Island Cup. Well, unfortunately it was time to leave paradise for home (at least I would be taking another flight three days later on the 17th. We packed again and headed to KOA on a hot, overcast Kona day.

14 Jul 03
United 66
Sch Dep 3:10p KOA
Sch Arr 11:17p LAX
757-200, N595UA
Economy Class 30A

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Photo © John Martin

We lugged all 15 bags to the agriculture check and then lugged them again admist many goodbyes to check-in for the nonstop flight back to LAX. The open-air check-in area was really hot and I was sweating by the time we had our boarding passes. I requested a window and got it. All of our team were together in the back of the 757. Yeah. No sleep. Sigh. Anyway, we went through security WITHOUT PROBLEMS-wow! Then we went to the only restaurant there. Here's a tip: don't go there! The worst service I have ever experienced. I went outside to the boarding area and an Aloha 73S was about the push. It was really loud. Then it did a 180 degree rotation for push, and I had to plug my ears! As it taxied off, I got fresh jet blast in my face. AMAZING. That was definitely a highlight!

When we finally got our act together to board we ended up being some of the last people there. The lady told us to walk across the ramp and walk up the second set of airstairs. It was very cool once again. I got settled in 30A, and the seats were the same gray ones as on the outbound leg. I was pleased to see Channel 9 up and running. We pushed forward a little early and taxied to the threshold of the only runway and powered off for the 4hr 45min journey home. Snack mix was distributed with beverages. Some 45 minutes later, we were offered a choice of pasta or chicken. My sis next to me got chicken with a side of terd (I'm serious-we couldn't tell what the mushy green soggy thing next to the chicken was-it was absolutely disgusting!) and I got the pasta, which was delicious again. ( After the trays were cleared, programming on the main screens began and then the movie: The Core which was pretty good. I watched it all, except when waiting 10 minutes in line for the bathroom. The movie finished up 30 minutes out of LA. After the movie, I was suprised when the FA's (who seemed VERY tired) offered us orange juice and Eclipse Flash strips. We landed over the many lights of good ole L.A. on the opposite side of the airport (24R). We taxied all the way around and I got to see the maintenance hangars of CO (with a NWA new colors 319 parked outside!) and AA as well as TBIT, T4, and T5. Tonight we would be parking at T6, and I was very happy because I had never been in Terminal 6 before. After the flight, I waited for everyone to get off then took some pics of the seats, etc. and went up to F/C where the purser invited me to take a pic of the cockpit! I chatted with her about becoming a pilot for a while and she told me that she was at the end of a 14-hour shift (LAX-KOA and return in one day!).

I went out into T6 and smelled a distinct musty odor and looked at a terminal that looked as if it hadn't been updated since the 70's. Everything was closed, nobody was moving around or anything. We went to bag claim and waited a long time, but finally got our bags and thus ended a fantastic Hawaii trip. The five of us hopped on a Prime Time shuttle and jetted towards home, sweet home.

Questions? Comments? Thanks for reading...

Posts: 1038
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 2:13 am

RE: Hawaii 2003 With United/Aloha

Thu Aug 21, 2003 5:24 am

Excellent report. It was very nice to read.

What was the Aloha flight number?
Topic Author
Posts: 266
Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2003 4:21 am

RE: Hawaii 2003 With United/Aloha

Thu Aug 21, 2003 12:15 pm

flight 218 to KOA

I'm pretty sure...I have the boarding pass somewhere.

Glad you liked it.

Posts: 4830
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 3:49 am

RE: Hawaii 2003 With United/Aloha

Thu Aug 21, 2003 3:25 pm

Very nice report!

There's definitely a reason why those FA's were tired...just as you found out! The recently-introduced Hawaii turn is NO fun. 5 hours there, sit on the ground for a couple of hours (without crew meals boarded) and then work the flight back. Add in time to get ready, commute, and check-in, and it's a LOOONG day!

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L

Posts: 689
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2003 12:14 pm

RE: Hawaii 2003 With United/Aloha

Sat Aug 30, 2003 3:57 am

I really enjoyed reading this report. Been to all the places and flown the routes on the same airlines, so it is truly familiar territory. There have been threads on TR about taking photos aboard aircraft. One mentioned that the gentleman was told by the Captain he could take photos only to have a F/A make him give up the film! I think UA was very gracious about photos - even the Purser who had such a long duty day. Maybe that's why they call UA the friendly skies.

As to food, well, it ain't a pretty picture with any carrier. It's all bottom line. And the crew doing a turn-around saves on hotel rooms. Yes, it is a very long duty day AND a lot of work. The care and feeding of passengers is not a pleasant thing anymore. On flights like these, I do feel for the F/A's.

KOA airport is one of my favorites. Truly a taste of tropicality. Also, flying into and out of HNL, always remember - right side in, left side out - best for viewing Oahu. Only once do I remember taking off toward Ewa. Stormy day and bumpy climb - oh, well, winter!

Peter - great job and you're quite good at picking up all the details. Let's just hope you have lots of opportunities to write such good reports!

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