Archive for April, 2012








Aloha!

Just returned from a spring break trip to the island of Kauai.

It was a great trip with beautiful scenery, at times so-so weather and of course, a few travel headaches!

Train, Planes And A Jeep

Really, could you expect anything different when your travel itinerary includes stops at what seems like most of this country’s major airports west of the Mississippi River?

Well, not exactly all of them…

More like Minneapolis to Dallas to Los Angeles to Lihue (Kauai).

The plan also called for a very long layover in Los Angeles. Something like five hours, which would have been painful enough considering the limited food and entertainment options at the American terminal at LAX!

Our first leg of this travel marathon was to begin with our first flight at 8:20 AM CDT or 3:20 AM in Hawaii. My alarm went off at 4:15 and following a quick shower, getting everyone else in family up and some last minute packing, we were off to the airport.

We were flying on American Airlines, which is located in what they now call “Terminal 1″ at the Minneapolis airport. Cheaper long term parking is offered at “Terminal 2″, which is about a mile or so away from Terminal 1. The nice thing besides paying less to park your car is that you can park and catch a free ride to the other terminal via the light rail train service that connects the two facilities.

So far so good.

We parked at Terminal 2, waited a couple of minutes and caught a train to Terminal 1. It was fast, free and easy!

Within minutes we were at the main terminal and making the walk to the ticket counter to check a couple of bags, get through security and have time to get some breakfast before our flight to Dallas.

I forgot to mention…

Prior to leaving for the airport, I checked my e-mail in which I was notified that there had been a change in our itinerary. We were now going to have a shorter layover in Los Angeles and a much longer one in Dallas, okay, no big deal. I also checked and saw that our flight(s) were still on time.

Until…

We got to the ticket counter and was notified that our flight to Dallas had been delayed FOUR hours! Ouch! Guess we’ll have plenty of time for that breakfast now! (And maybe lunch too!)

We now scheduled to leave MSP at 12:00 PM CDT or 7:00 AM in Hawaii.

Even with that, we could still make all of our connections, thanks to that long layover that was now taking place at the beginning of our day!

We sat at the gate and looked at our plane just sitting there, waiting for a hydraulic replacement part to arrive via another airplane!

Hours went past.

Then shortly before 11:00 AM the gate agent announced that departure time would now be 2:00 PM! Leaving at that time would eliminate any chance we had of making our flight to Kauai later that evening.

We were in trouble!

That was until American gate agent, Robyn went into action!

Typing with the speed of a NASCAR driver, she was determined to find a way to get us to Los Angeles before our scheduled 6:15 PM PDT departure!

There were no options available on American.

She tried U.S. Airways via Phoenix with no success.

Not enough seats on the Delta flight to Los Angeles.

Finally, she said there was a Delta flight leaving in forty minutes to San Francisco and we could then make a Delta connecting flight to L.A. in time to get back on American before 6:15!

But of course, we needed to hurry!

We had only been doing nothing for three hours and now it was time to RUN!!!!!

The Delta gate was at the complete opposite end of the terminal and it would take too long to walk or run it.

No need to worry…

“Super Gate Agent Robyn” called for a golf cart!

Yes, now with the speed of Arnold Palmer riding up number eighteen at Bay Hill Golf Club, we were making our way to Gate 19 on the Gold Concourse!

And I was doing this while riding backwards!

Kind of like going through an airport time machine, only with people staring and no doubt thinking, “that lazy SOB should be walking!”!

Thanks to the nifty driving skills of our driver, we made it to the gate with about ten minutes to spare.

We were finally on our way…

To San Francisco!

Ahh…The Golden Gate City!

We arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule. 1:30 PM PDT or 3:30 PM CDT or 10:30 AM in Kauai!

Just enough time to hop off our Boeing 757, use the restroom, grab a snack and get on a small regional jet for the flight to Los Angeles!

Thankfully, it was on time with its 4:15 PDT departure. Not so thankfully, my son and I were seated in front of a “gentleman” who used the word, “f*#k” or a form of it, in what seemed like every sentenced he uttered the entire hour long flight! He also discussed in great detail how painful it was to have handcuffs on during his most recent arrest!

I didn’t care!

We were on time and winging our way to L.A. and ultimately, Hawaii.

We landed in Los Angeles at 4:15 PM PDT, 6:15 PM CDT or 1:15 PM In Kauai.

We arrived on Delta, was changing to American, which meant we needed to change terminals and go through airport security again.

And it’s like a maze at LAX!

Go outside, walk to the American terminal, go through security and we were finally back on track!

Flight 285 to Kauai was on time and set to leave at 6:15. Time to grab dinner at of all places, Burger King! (Remember what I said about dinning options at LAX!)

At 5:45 PM we boarded the plane.

At 6:15 PM we were ready to leave.

At 6:20 PM the pilot made the announcement that there was a problem with the door!

Of all things…the DOOR!

There was a small, but apparently critical piece that holds the door closed while in flight that was now broken!

We sat on the plane for a half hour awaiting word about the repair. Then the pilot came back on and said it would be at least two more hours before would leave on our five and a half hour flight. Everyone was to get off the plane (and further delay the repair by doing so) and if all went well, which he wasn’t overly optimistic about success, we would leave at approximately 8:30 PM PDT or you guessed it…

10:30 PM CDT or 5:30 PM in Hawaii!

A long day just got longer!

Two more hours in the American terminal at LAX. (In hindsight, a small price to pay if it meant our flight wouldn’t be cancelled, which would have brought a whole new set challenges!)

The good news came at 7:45…we would leave at 8:30!!

Back on the plane and leaving for Kauai!

Needless to say, it was a loooooong flight!

I watched the movie.

I listened to my I-Pod.

I think I read the vomit bag!

Anything to kill time.

I didn’t want to sleep (and couldn’t really) since I thought it would only make me more tired later.

We landed at 11:00 PM, which was 4:00 AM CDT. I had made it 24 hours without sleep. Unfortunately, sleep would have to wait a bit longer. We got our rental jeep and drove about thirty minutes to our resort.

My head hit the pillow shortly after 1:00 AM and I was wired!

At 5:00 AM I learned a fun fact about Kauai.

It has CHICKENS!

They’re everywhere on the island!

And they like to get up early!

So thanks to them we were able to get an early start on seeing the sights that Kauai had to offer!

Kauai

Over the course of a week, we plenty of beach time, kayaked & hiked to a beautiful waterfall, snorkeled and saw the Na Pali Coast, saw dolphins & whales, hiked some more and attended a Luau, which due to the chance of rain needed to be moved indoors. But at the luau we met a very nice family from Sacramento, who helped make the night even more enjoyable, along with a few Mai Tai’s!

Thankfully, the trip home was much less painful. Everything went smooth and we arrived early at every point along the way!

(Other than no sleep.)

Here are a few pictures from our week…

Sunrise at Poipu Beach.

South side of Kauai

"Spouting Horn"

Our home for the week.

Our view.

Na Pali Coast

Whale

Waterfall

Waimea Canyon

Fire dance at luau.

Cock-a-doodle-do!

They're serious!

Aloha!