Honolulu - travel nightmare (almost)
12.12.2015 - 12.12.2015
The first leg of the trip saw me comfortably settled into my seat with extra legroom. I was seated next to an emergency exit so had to be briefed on emergency procedures. A very nice young man ran me through the emergency strategy, probably thinking "Hope we don't crash with this old duck being in charge of handling our exit!". To be honest, I was thinking the same. We would have had zero chance of escaping unscathed with me in charge of opening the emergency door. Push up, pull down, push as hard as you can. If the chute doesn't automatically open then yank hard on this strap. Get the others off first before yourself. "Fat chance" I thought to myself. Every man for himself!
The flight itself was smooth. I managed to grab a few hours sleep after being served a chicken sandwich and a glass of wine. The cabin was quite full though I was fortunate to have a spare seat beside me. I was thinking of putting up the armrest but was unable to as it was "fixed". Damn, no laying down for me. I tried every which way to get comfortable and ended up sleeping upright. About two hours from Honolulu we were served breakfast. Last time I flew with Hawaiian Airlines I remember the food being quite ok. I asked for a coffee (never again - the WORST ever - and we were given the kiddie sized portions of unripened fruit, yoghurt and what was supposed to be an omelette which was smothered in bake beans with a poor lonely little sausage sitting forlornly on top. One taste and it was the yoghurt for me. By the time we got to Honolulu I was starving.
Here was I thinking that having two hours between flights would allow me at least to grab a real coffee and something else to eat. After walking what seemed like miles, I made it to customs. Holy crap. There were three flight that had landed at the same time. Customs was chockers. Lots of people nervously looking at their watches. Over 45 minutes later I was almost at the head of the line. Out of six booths, only three were open to handle the hundreds of people. Fortunately the guy I had to deal with was great. No hassles at all getting through. Now to find my way to the baggage claim.
Baggage claim area seemed like miles away. All the bags had been taken off the conveyor belt and were sitting in rows. Dozens of rows. It seemed to take forever to find my bag. Grabbed it and then had to head for the baggage drop off point for continuing journeys. . Signs? What signs? No freakin' signs to be seen anywhere! Not one inkling of which way to go. I saw a line up of people who had been on my flight just to the left so joined the lengthy queue in the hopes I was in the right one. Seems that they were hoping it was the right place also. OK that done, now I had to find my way to the domestic terminal. Signs? Oh surely you're kidding. Fortunately a very nice lady told me which way to head....."Go out that door and go straight ahead".
Ok. Did that. Across parking lots, footpaths, roads etc. and finally at the very end was an escalator with a very small sign above it that said "To Domestic Terminal". This was fast becoming a marathon.
Up the escalators, across the floor, to get on the end of yet another queue (geez these Americans love lining up for things) to get through the x-ray scanner stuff. Some of these airport employees need to get a sense of humour. By this stage I was running. I had seven minutes to make it to the departure lounge until the cutoff for boarding. My fellow travelers were hot on my heels. Gasping for breath at this stage, I rounded the corner to.... yes, you guessed it......another bloody line up to check for fruit and vegetables in my carry on luggage. I saw a moving walkway up ahead and breathed a sigh of relief. Guess which moving walkway was not in operation? My fellow travelers and I must have looked really worried as we ran because people were leaping out of our way as we finally, finally made it to the departure gate with four minutes to spare. After having been sitting down for ten and a half hours, it was a big ask my of my poor body to run that marathon. I pity the poor people traveling with kids. One lady had three little girls with her. They were all running and crying with her offering words of encouragement.
At last, safely on board. Starving. Now only four and a bit more hours until I would arrive in San Francisco. Soon we were in the air.
I bought a packet of macadamia nuts to ward off the hunger pangs. Awhile later we were served "dinner". I had remembered the meal from last time I flew with them to be pretty tasty. Not so. As luck would have it, it was awful, though by this stage I was ready to gnaw on one of my shoes. Sweet and sour chicken with rice. And a very tiny macaroon. The chicken portion of the meal was almost non existent so I didn't bother with it. I did ,however, eat the rice. And I had two glasses of red wine (which was chilled). Carbs and wine, what could be better. They came around offering tea and coffee but I thought "No way am I falling for that again". So I opted for water.
I thought I might settle down to watch a movie but unfortunately for me, the only touch screen on the whole damned plane that wasn't working was mine. So I opted to snooze.
Four hours later we arrived in San Francisco. I was pretty excited to be getting off that plane.
And there waiting for me was my sweet little girl. Wow, it was so good to see her that all my travel mishaps just faded into oblivion.