Aloha RNO-SNA-HNL First Class Oct 11, 2007
Aloha Airlines: From Top to Average – the slowly disappearance of the Spirit of Aloha
Here is another trip report and as I need to head to Honolulu for the Alaska Airlines’ inaugural flight, I decide to redeem my lone 60,000 Aloha miles, accumulated throughout the past five years and also applying and using the Aloha airlines’ Mastercard. The only routing available is Reno to Honolulu on the date that I want, so I don’t really have a choice. The booking process requires a call to Aloha Airlines’ call center, which is actually quite pleasant, Wait time is okay and the agent was knowledgeable, helpful, polite, and thorough.
A little bit history between Aloha Airlines and me:
For some reasons, I always like Aloha Airlines, and when I first flew them from Oakland, CA to Honolulu in first class, it was really nice and definitely one of the best flights I have taken. Back then, the flight attendants were motivated and there was a really nice menu, and the meal was designed by Alan Wong, and the presentation, quality and quantity of food was amazing. In the main cabin, a full hot meal was served, and the best part was the chocolate chip cookie and milk service prior to arrival in both cabins. The morale was high and the service was good. Therefore, I have always taken a liking of Aloha, but due to various financial issues with Aloha, service has really taken a drastic fall and my last flight was such a disgrace. I am going to write a harsh critic but I also feel sad to see such a good airline being run to the ground, and I only hope my return flight in March next year will see a better crew, which shows some care to the passengers.
October 11, 2007
AQ 481 RNO-SNA Lv0645 Arr0815 Boeing 737-700 with winglet N741AL
AQ 481 SNA-HNL Lv0900 Arr1201 Boeing 737-700 with winglet N741AL
Best part f the trip – the ground agent at Reno was cheerful and thankful for my business. The whole process took less than a minute and boarding pass was printed out and gate was pointed out. A great start to a not so great flight!
Aloha Airlines uses Concourse C, and our gate this morning was C12, and boarding began at 6;20am, and the agent was helping out passengers with baby to board first, as well as wheel-chaired passengers. The F/As greeted us and I headed towards 1A, and no pre-takeoff beverage was offered on this segment, and the F/As were busy chatting among themselves about their stays at Reno. Announcements were minimal, and the F/As did not even bother to tell us the usual details such as flying time this morning, and “lame” was the word used to describe the first segment.
The second segment was a bit better, as pre-takeoff beverage was finally offered – a choice of OJ or water. The F/As finally woke up a bit to do all the announcements, and I finally got to know our estimated flying time. During the layover at Orange County, I chose to stay on board, as the time was short, and there was not much to do at SNA anyway. The cleaning crew missed out cleaning the whole first class cabin, which was actually not surprising because first, the turnaround time was short, and second, the F/As were all hanging out in the first class cabin, and third, the F/As did not really notice that F cabin was not prepared well. Blankets and pillows were spreading all over row two (row three is fine because no passenger on that row at the first leg). Also for those who are interested, there is no change of pillow and blanket at SNA, so I honestly will not touch those blankets (I actually doubt if they change the pillow covers and blankets at the overnight spot at Reno). I don’t blame the cleaning crew fully because the flight attendants also have the responsibility to warn the cleaning crew because they signed off with the F/As. The F/As were just not “working” this morning. I felt bad for the passengers, who actually mention the scattered pillow and blankets later.
The first leg from Reno to Orange County was rarely straightforward. Door was closed at 6:44am and the load was really light, and then we took off from R/W16R at 6:55am. Flying time was an hour and thirteen minutes with a cruising attitude of 33,000feet. We began our descent at 7:39am and landed on R/W19R at 8:08am and parked at gate 6 a few minutes after.
The second leg from Orange County to Honolulu took five hours and forty-three minutes. Door was closed on time at 9:01am and we pushed back four minutes later, and took off from R/W19R at 9:10am. A very powerful takeoff due to the short runway! We stayed at 36,000feet throughout the whole flight. Descent began at 11:30am Honolulu local time, and landed on R/W8L at 11:53am and parked at gate 52 four minutes later.
Food and Beverage:
Printed menus were passed out, but re-collected!
Seasonal fresh fruit medley with strawberry yogurt
Egg Provencal, accompanied by layered eggplant, chicken apple sausage and potato
Crab Cake served with a bordelaise sauce, accompanied by steamed vegetables
The meal is beyond bad, and first, there is no more linen to place on the table and the first course just comes with a tray. To give credits, the fresh fruit plate is pretty nice and the accompanied strawberry yogurt is presented in a ramekin, instead of in the original container, but then I was surprised that no breakfast bread or rolls were served. Just the fruit plate and yogurt, and then my crab cake entrée were just plain awful – I took a bite, which was both salty and spicy. The taste was just not right. And that there was no dessert!. The next course was the chocolate chip cookie served prior to arrival and now there was not even a plate. Just the cookie and a napkin! Bottled waters were also no longer passed out to first class passengers after the brunch.
The whole meal is just a far cry from before!
The three flight attendants were simply not there! I really think the level of service was below average and even no longer reflected the Spirit of Aloha. The service was slow, and then the F/As were not thorough and did not follow through with meal and beverage orders. I requested a coach meal because the crab cake was just not filling at all. The F/A explained that the Y service was still not complete and she would get back to me. Later I fell asleep and she never got back to me! In the past, the Aloha F/A will always ask if s/he can do more and will ask if I still want the sandwich.
Also, galley chats were exceedingly loud especially when some of the non-rev passengers decide to keep the F/A occupied while she was preparing brunch in the galley. I really don’t mind them talking, but not loudly. How loud was it? I was wearing my BOSE noise-canceling headset listening to my ipod, and yet I can clearly hear the conversation in the galley. The non-revenue passenger was telling the F/A his gambling at Reno and various gambling techniques and which games were the easiest to play! Sharing gambling tips! I hope I am not asking much, but can non-revenue passengers really watch it? The galley is small and the dividing walls are thin.
In conclusion, Aloha Airlines has really suffered much service cutback during its latest financial crises. I am very disappointed with the service and really miss the old good Aloha Spirits. Sadly, it is all gone, and the food in first class is just beyond bad. Even worst than American and United… I really don’t know what more to say, but to say I am really disappointed. Inappropriate non-revenue behavior, “disappearing” F/A, poor food, dirty cabin, and diminishing cabin amenities make this flight really awful! Aloha definitely has much work to do if it wants to go on for another 60 years.
[Edited 2007-10-15 20:30:21]