Just to finish this off, because we got asked so many times: the flight from Honolulu to Auckland is a bit over 8 hours – far shorter than for many of the Americans on UnCruise, some of them coming from New England and Pennsylvania. It was less than an hour from the Big Island to Oahu – after a pleasant wait for the flight in the outside waiting room.
A warning, though: Hawaiian Airlines is not known, apparently, for its punctuality and reliability. In our case, boarding was just about to start for the international leg from Honolulu when the captain found a problem, and we were delayed for 20 minutes. That became an hour, after which we had to switch gates, and wait again as a different plane was brought to the gate and the baggage etc transferred. We took off, eventually, two hours late – the cabin attendant said, of the problem, that it was “Computer stuff. Captain stuff” but that we were lucky that there was a spare plane “that we could steal”.
The reason it was there to steal, it turned out, was an unrepaired entertainment system, so we were all thrown back onto our own resources to pass the evening flight. Hooray for cell phones! And also the airline’s very decent, well-written and interesting inflight magazine, Hana Hou. When you’re hungry, too, otherwise unexciting airline food becomes a satisfying treat; and our flight attendant was friendly and cheerful, and a great fan of Waiheke Island where she too was looking forward to spending some time after arrival in Auckland.
So that was Hawaii: two weeks, five islands, four hotels, one ship, one boat, one battleship, one submarine, four planes, two buses and a mule. Rain, snow, sunshine, sea, rainforest, lava, gardens, beaches and roads. Meals that were appalling (one), excellent (many) and superb (two). Nice people, no incidents, nothing lost, kilograms gained. I’d call that a success. Aloha a hui hou!