Tier Point Run to Hawaii/San Juan in Feb 2014: Day 3 – Los Angeles LAX to Honolulu HNL
I woke earlier than I had planned to – 3:30am – so I had just over 4 hours kip, and as long as I didn’t get any more screaming babies, I should be able to catch up on a few Zs on the flight to HNL.
I was intending on heading out to the airport on the shuttle at 5:30am. That would have allowed me to get through security and into the lounge (hopefully with my Starbucks which I was desperate for) by 6am. And that would give me 2 clear hours to catch up on everything including uploading latest pics etc.
By the time I got down to the shuttle bus, it was clear it had been throwing it down for a good amount of time.
Got to T4 in good time, although the traffic to get to pick up/drop off was horrendous. Perhaps something to do with Oscars weekend or perhaps just time of the day for morning commuters?
Anyway headed for the TSA Pre-Check queue, and looked like everyone was in it! In the end I was diverted into a non-TSA queue because it was significantly faster! Great scheme AA!
Got through in about 20 mins, but I then found that there was no Starbucks at LAX T4 – boo hoo. I recognised the terminal and the location of the Admiral’s Club opposite Gate 40, but I’d forgotten that there wasn’t a Starbucks.
Apparently there was one at one time, but it was there no more…
Got into the Flagship lounge – never been that impressed with this place, but it’s the best AA can offer at LAX. One of the first in so had the pick of the seats.
Decent selection of food for breakfast, so I had a pot of honey covered oats or something, which tasted pretty good.
Next up was (I think) chicken sausage with some breakfast potatoes, which was ok too. The cappuccino I had seemed to be sweet so it obviously had sugar included.
I updated the blog and FT thread, and had a quick chat with the Mrs.
The flight was boarding from Gate 48A, and I headed down around 30 mins before departure (I had it listed as leaving at 08:25, but the latest time on the board was 08:10 – BA/AA hadn’t told me about the change in time).
The flight had already started boarding but I quickly got to the front of the priority boarding queue and I was on.
As I was about to take my 2F seat (selected to give me an opportunity to take photos as we arrive into HNL), my prospective neighbour asked whether I minded swapping with his mate who was in 3A.
A swell of helpfulness came over me, and I gave up the opportunity of taking photos to help them out.
Luckily I ended up sitting next to a very attractive young lady from New York (don’t worry luv – she’s not a patch on you).
Within a few minutes of sitting down, and everyone else was queuing up the aisle to get to the back of the plane, the lights went out.
Announcement explained that it wasn’t anything to worry about and a backup power system would be connected soon, which it did.
A few mins later, another announcement was made asking us to deboard because there was a problem that was going to take about an hour to fix.
Fair enough – headed back to the Flagship lounge and awaited further instructions.
After a number of updates on FlightStats (I got none from the lounge), we got a call around 10:15 that boarding had commenced.
So I headed down and there was a bit of a scrum since boarding had already started.
Managed to wangle my way through the people who weren’t in the Group 1 priority boarding queue and was back on board and seated in 3A.
Take off was fine and so far the trip had been relatively turbulent free. Service had been fine too.
Just waited for breakfast service to start and I’d already had my first glass of champers, so the day could only go one way now.
Food service was ok – had the quiche which was very nice. Had a very nice biscuit and jam, and also a good wholesome bowl of melon and pineapple.
No piccies because I was embarrassed taking one with the flash – all the window blinds were down.
The woman sat next to me turned into a real experience – she was gay, full of “energy” and “spirit” talk, and looked like a bit of a hippie.
Very nice young lady though, and it was interesting that she was in a (vaguely) similar line of work and had very similar views as the movie production woman I sat next to last night.
I even got this one’s name – Nicole – she managed a number of Hispanic TV channels, so she was very much of the opinion that the media needed to be moving into the positive energy space – less of the negative spin on stuff for the sake of sales and money, and we should be avoiding these obscene programmes that take advantage of people seeking fame and fortune.
That was all fine and she was an interesting person to talk to, but then things seem to take off! Primarily due to the Flight Attendant taking a fancy to her.
She was provided a number of Bloody Marys by the FA – apparently the FA was a bit of a “free-loving” type of guy from LA who could see an opportunity. He clearly hadn’t worked out that she was gay for a start!
I told her I would write up a small section about her in my blog, and she was chuffed that she had left an impression on me.
Another delightful person and I have to say that these sorts of events don’ happen without a reason, and I’ve got to learn that it’s worth investing time in the person sat next to me if I took a bit of a risk from time to time.
Anyway the descent into HNL was relatively smooth and we finally arrived around 2:40pm which was 2.5 hours later than expected.
I said my goodbyes and the FA was off the plane like a shot with his bag hanging on to Nicole’s coat tails.
I decided to take the bus into Waikiki, primarily because of the money I would save. Bus fare $2.50 vrs taxi fare of $50 (incl tip) – no brainer really.
I found the 19 bus stop within a few minutes and a bus arrived within a minute or so – another lucky break.
However it wasn’t a bus experience I would recommend to anyone. I stood most of the way; we were jammed in like sardines; everyone was as miserable as sin, and what’s worse is that when you give up your seat for an old woman, she doesn’t even acknowledge you.
I never like going on public transport – I remember why now…
Anyway finally got to HHV after an hour or so, and did a cracking job at negotiating up to a corner room with a beach front on the 13th floor of the Ali Tower. Vick would have been proud of me.
After settling in, I went for a quick dip in the private Ali Tower pool, but it was freezing. I couldn’t chicken out though since there was no one to play off. I would have just looked like a prat.
So I managed 3 lengths and then headed for the jacuzzi where I met two blokes from the US. I got a high five from one when I told them my wife was working back at home and I was on holiday.
They laughed at my trip and had some good advice about San Juan especially when it comes to casinos.
I chilled out in my room, waiting for my swim shorts to dry on the balcony and the fireworks to start.
Follow the whole story here: Tier Point Run to Hawaii/San Juan in Feb 2014