I frequently get asked the toughest destination to non-rev to. While any destination can be difficult depending on the time of year, Hawaii’s the one destination that’s consistently challenging to fly to and from. It’s popular year round, with limited flights, and you can’t exactly drive to a nearby airport if flights are full.
Thankfully, there a couple sweet spots where flights aren’t quick as packed. The week following Thanksgiving is usually easier to get to (and more importantly from) Hawaii, as most folks save their vacation time to travel closer to Christmas. However, when traveling to Hawaii standby I always recommend bringing your passport. If the flights back to the mainland are full, you can frequently come home via Japan.
Delta restarted Minneapolis to Honolulu flights in 2016 after a long hiatus. This nonstop option from my home airport made it even easier to take a quick weekend trip to the islands. The flight is operated on Airbus A330-300 equipment, and my friend and I were cleared into Main Cabin seats on the 2 seat side.
On Delta’s flights from Minneapolis, Atlanta, and New York to Hawaii they have a full meal service and free drinks in the Main Cabin. I had a chicken dish for lunch with a Mai Tai. For economy food, it tasted pretty good. The flight was uneventful, and I grabbed some sleep after lunch.
Shortly before arrival there was a second meal service, this time a small sandwich and chips, with chocolate covered macadamia nuts for dessert. The pre-arrival meal was a pleasant surprise, and though the sandwich was basic, it tasted great.
Hotels along Waikiki Beach can be very expensive, especially when factoring in resort fees. We elected to stay farther down the beach next to the zoo, and found a good rate at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel. The hotel’s a bit older, but the rooms are nice, and we even got an upgrade to a Corner Junior Suite overlooking Diamond Head.
After getting settled and dropping our things, we walked down Waikiki looking for some dinner, and stumbled across the annual Christmas Parade. The parade was massive, and had high school bands from all over the country participating.
We eventually elected to get dinner and drinks at Cheeseburger in Paradise. The burgers lived up to their name, and the Mai Tais were excellent.
The following morning we got up early and immediately headed to Waikiki for some sun and sand (the reason for the trip, after all).
After relaxing for a while on the beach, we decided to take a drive to the North Shore to escape the crowds of Oahu. The beaches here as just as beautiful, and we took full advantage of the more secluded atmosphere to relax and rejuvenate.
We then grabbed a quick dinner at a Uncle Bo’s, a local bar before driving back to the airport for our flight to the mainland.
While it was a short trip, it was nice to enjoy the sunny, warm weather. I left Hawaii relaxed and refreshed, ready to face the upcoming Minnesota winter.