Flight review: HNL-KOA and KOA-HNL (and some Hawaiian Miles remarks)

Boeing 717 at KOA

For this Hawaii trip report, I’m assuming no one wants to hear about the two weeks I spent on my Grandma’s couch. In any case, there’s no point in me reviewing those accommodations, no matter how comfortable, since you’re not welcome to stay there.

I am therefore going to skip straight to the couple days I spent with my dad on the Big Island. It was a last-minute trip, which is not really the way I like to plan things.

We flew Hawaiian Airlines from HNL to Kailua-Kona. A round-trip ticket cost just over 200 dollars (not too awful, since it’s winter season), booked only two days beforehand. I’m not a Pualani elite (Gold level earns 50% flight bonus miles on revenue tickets and Platinum earns 100%), so I earned a measly 163 miles per flight. Each flight took about 25 minutes. I barely had time to drink the little container of passion orange guava juice the flight attendant handed out. Interisland flights are like that – you ascend and then two seconds later, you descend. The other airline I’ve flown in the recent past from one island to another is Go! Mokulele, which is shabbier than Hawaiian, but has exceptionally spunky flight attendants going for it.

I’m really grateful that the interisland aircrafts are Boeing 717s and not those stupid and horrible, tiny-ass propeller planes that fly to smaller airports on the mainland and are essentially glorified helicopters. I’ve never managed to deplane (de-glorified-helicopter?) one of those without at least a smidgen of projectile vomit.


It was kind of weird landing in the middle of a lava field at KOA, but it was also nice in an I’m-landing-in-the-middle-of-a-lava-field way. If you cross your eyes, you can’t tell where the runway ends and where the lava field begins.

On the flight back to HNL, we received free reusable tote bags, courtesy of Foodland, which Hawaiian is partners with (if you live in Hawaii, you should be aware that you can earn Hawaiian Miles when you shop at Foodland with your Maika’i card. Details here).

free Foodland tote

Also, from Feb 1-21, you’ll earn an additional 200 HawaiianMiles for each redemption of a My Rewards certificate.  I adore these bags and all the other local-food-themed products at Foodland. My collection is admittedly pretty impressive. I can wear my spam musubi t-shirt while eating a spam musubi and clutch my spam musubi grocery tote as I am lying on my spam musubi beach towel with my poke-bowl-shirted boyfriend, who may very well be clutching his own matching poke bowl grocery tote.


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