Flying Interisland

I haven’t made a new post since August 1. I went on vacation last Monday, August 7. For me that usually means a trip to the Big Island of Hawaii to visit my family and spend some downtime in the peace and quiet of Honokaa. I settled into a very low key routine, free of work, website maintenances and blog postings.

I’ll touch on flying interisland with this return entry.

Hanauma Bay - East Oahu

Interisland flying on Hawaiian Air: My airline of choice to fly between the islands for many years has and still is Hawaiian Airlines. Why? Because I always liked their planes better than the competition. For a long time Hawaiian flew versions of the venerable McDonnell-Douglas DC9. After retiring their entire DC-9 fleet in 2002-03, they adopted the Boeing 717, which is essentially a modernized version of the same jet. Hawaiian began to phase in those planes around 2001 and to date have 11 of them for use on interisland routes. I always like flying on these planes because they have 2 – 3 seating. And since I usually fly solo, I mostly sit on the side where there is only 2 seats.

I also like Hawaiian because they now have assigned seating on interisland flights. This is really convenient as passengers no longer have to scramble for open seats like how it was in the past and how it still is on Aloha Airlines.

The one thing that I did not like about Hawaiian Airlines on this trip was the long line at the check in counter at Honolulu International Airport. All interisland flights depart from the interisland terminal. Why does Hawaiian now consolidate the ticketing for their mainland and overseas flights at the interisland terminal? This makes for unnecessarily long lines as overseas and interisland passengers are all mixed up! I hate it. Used to be that if you went to the interisland counter, you only had to deal with shorter lines consisting only of interisland passengers. Now they’re mixed!

What I can’t figure is why they force their overseas passengers to check in at the interisland terminal and still make them walk or shuttle over to the international terminal where Hawaiian’s larger Boeing 767 jets are parked. Doesn’t make sense to me, though I suspect this is a cost cutting move on Hawaiian’s part.

Needless to say, the line at Hawaiian’s check in counter was long… and this was several days before enhanced, code orange security kicked in, due to an increased terrorism threat.

A Go Jet

Airport Observations: On my flight out of Honolulu was actually the first time I saw one of Mesa Airline’s Go! CRJ-200 jets. From what I know the Go! jet is smaller than Hawaiian’s Boeing 717 and offers 2 abreast seating on both aisles. They only allow one hand carry bag on Go. I’ve also heard that their ontime record is something to be desired.

Interisland Airways

Upon landing in Hilo, I noticed the familiar airport terminal and a seemingly constant, familiar visitor, Interisland Airways Shorts 360 parked way beyond the loading jetways. Interisland Airways uses this plane for their charter operations. They also fly an all freight airline called TransAir.

The security line at Hilo International Airport on my trip out of the Big Island was short and fast. This despite having enhanced security kick in due to the increased terror threat… i.e. “no liquids allowed”. Arriving at the airport early is one of the keys to avoid the hassle of increased security and long lines. Another is to not bring any of the prohibited items, which includes sharp objects, weapons, aerosols and now liquids. Despite having two carry-ons, my laptop computer and digital camera bag, I made it through as I usually do with no hassle.

Flying for the most part between Honolulu and Hilo and back is a breeze as the jets fly fairly high at about 23,000 ft. before making their gradual descent at the destination airports. I got a couple of good photos on the trip out (see above).

Finally best of all on this trip was my $39 base fare that I paid for each way. It turned out to be about an $81 roundtrip, much less than I paid last Christmas and this past May. Thanks in part to the increased competition from Mesa’s Go! airline.

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