I promised all of you a trip report on my recent engagement in Maui, which I spent some time writing during my mileage run to Bahrain. This is going to be a long one, so I’m going to spread it out. If you’re planning an upcoming trip to Hawaii, feel free to ask for more details and ideas.
- The Plan
- Outbound: SEA-SFO-OGG in United First Class
- Day 1: Check-in at the Hyatt Regency Maui
- Day 2: Visiting Old Lahaina
- Day 3: Proposal at Haleakala!
- Day 4: Road Trip around West Maui
- Day 5: Snorkeling at Molokini & the Drums of the Pacific Luau
- Return: OGG-SFO-SEA in United Economy Plus
- Turning a Proposal into a Miles and Points Bonanza!
I’m sure I’ve flown the 763 “ghetto bird” before, but not lately since my last trip to Hawaii on United was around the age of 12. I’d heard from reading Lucky’s post at TravelSort that Unlimited Domestic Upgrades were relatively easy to get on flights from the west coast to Hawaii but decided to use some regional upgrade certificates anyway to confirm us in window seats on the way out. It was Megan’s first time, and I wanted her to get a good view. (I picked the left side of the plane after looking at typical approach paths on FlightAware.)
Upgrade space was already available for both the SEA-SFO and SFO-OGG legs at the time I applied the upgrades, so we were safe. But I would not rely on getting a UDU on this flight. Maybe it was because it was a “holiday” weekend over St. Valentine’s Day, or perhaps SFO-OGG is just more difficult than, say, LAX-OGG, but there was a huge waitlist for upgrades at the gate and absolutely no chance of getting an upgrade on the way back. I also wonder if United’s new method of prioritizing paid upgrades (with miles or cash) over elite status was starting to show.
In any case, our flight to San Francisco was great, and we settled in just fine on the flight to Kahului. We were definitely the youngest people on the plane besides two young children on the other side traveling with their parents.
Breakfast was good. Typical eggs, sausage, and potato-like triangle. I also had a cinnamon roll. The best part was that it was hot. It’s really hard to fool myself that airline food is better than it looks when it feels like it’s been left out on the counter for half an hour after coming out of the oven.
Another hour after breakfast was done, I felt it was time to try some of the Trader Vic’s mai tais. I’ll write up a separate report later on all the different mai tais we tasted around the island, but it shouldn’t surprise you that these were among the worst. Just nothing very special, although the flight attendant did try to make it special with some pineapple and cherry garnish.
It kind of tasted like one of the margaritas from a domestic flight with pineapple juice. The margaritas are better. I wish they could just stock some dark rum and pineapple juice to make them fresh. Still, it was probably better than water from the tank. One of my personal habits is trying the drinking fountains everywhere I go. I love drinking fountains, and I’d never seen a drinking fountain on an airplane, but Megan kept watching me like a hawk to make sure I didn’t touch it.
The landing was great, and Megan had a lot of fun pointing at all the islands as they appeared in view. She was already looking forward to our snorkeling adventure at Molokini, and it’s pretty cool to see it as you’re landing.
Overall, I’d say the trip was very pleasant if not particularly amazing. Basically just the usual good service I’ve been fortunate to have from most United/Continental staff in first class.
I had a surprise waiting for Megan after we got off. She’d been daydreaming about getting an orchid lei in the last week before we left, so I arranged to have someone meet us just outside the secure zone. Sadly the leis weren’t especially fragrant, but they were pretty sturdy and healthy. Nothing is worse than a slimy lei you don’t even want to wear.
Our bags were first off the carousel, so we headed over to the Alamo shuttle. Alamo basically lets you pick whichever car you want within your reserved class. I reserved a convertible, but someone drove off with the blue one just as we got there, leaving us with a white one (which screams “old people” to me) or a dirty-looking black one. I chatted up the service staff, who turned out to be a grandmother-mother-son team, and they brought out a shiny new silver one that had just been returned and washed.
And with that—and 30 minutes of traffic in Kahului—we were off to Ka’anapali beach!