After an awesome but short lived five days on Kaua’i, it was time to head to our next honeymoon destination – Maui. We were sad to leave the St. Regis Princeville as it was easily one of the best hotels we’ve ever stayed at. We will definitely be back. We drove 30 minutes south from the Princeville/Hanalei area back to Lihue Airport.
It’s a good thing we left ourselves plenty of time before our flight because the security operations at LIH were down right terrible. I can understand that it’s a small airport but queues were out to the sidewalk/street with no signage anywhere. Apparently, you can check in at a kiosk or the counter and then you have to line up to drop your bags off at one location. That caused some heavy backups. There was also no premium security lane so we were stuck with everyone else waiting for about 45 minutes just to clear security. After a brief opt-out pat-down, we were on our way to the gate.
When checking in, I upgraded us to First Class for this two segment Hawaiian Airlines flight (LIH-HNL-OGG) since we’d be paying for checked bags anyway. The difference was pretty affordable. We left Kaua’i just in time as heavy thunderstorms were hammering the island all day. However, we ran into the same storms as we approached Honolulu. That’s when we experienced our first go-around. It’s a scary feeling approaching to land in heavy turbulence and, at the last few seconds, feel the engines go full throttle to push you back in the air… not fun. We did manage to make it on the second try and we collectively let out a sigh of relief.
At HNL, we still had to wait a few hours for our plane to arrive from Maui; they were delayed due to the same storms. Eventually, the flight made it in and there was a quick passenger turnaround. Then a mechanical problem was discovered once we were finished boarding. Another 90 minutes later, the issue was fixed and we had a short flight to Maui.
We gathered our luggage and then took the National shuttle over to their location where my Executive status was recognized. The agent offered to upgrade us to a brand new (16 miles) Camaro convertible for a small fee since there were no interesting cars in the Executive Aisle (where you can choose whatever car is in the aisle). We took it because 1) it was our honeymoon so why not and 2) the Road to Hana is supposedly best experienced in a drop-top.
Just a note, if you rent a convertible and have more than 4 pieces of luggage, good luck. With the top down, the trunk is basically a glove compartment that barely fit our personal items. Our checked bags and carry-on bags sat in the back seat. Buckle up! After that game of tetris, we were on our way to Wailea and our next hotel…