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Kauai 2015 – Hawaiian Air JFK to Lihue, Arriving at Hale Ko in Poipu

We’ve been back from Kauai for a few days now and I miss the warm sunny weather, lying on the beach, and yummy-licious acai bowls! It was such a lovely, laid-back vacation peppered with a lot of exploring and eating! Getting there was not easy as we had left right after a snowstorm hit the tri-state area, and combined with residual delays, our plane also had maintenance issues. This delayed our flight from JFK to HNL almost 14 hours! Don’t think it’s entirely Hawaiian Airline’s fault as I think it was an unexpected problem and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here’s our trip report beginning with our much delayed flight…(all pics are taken by me on either an iPhone 6 plus or a Canon G7X).

Day 1 Part 1 (leaving JFK for HNL…do we actually leave?):

Our Hawaiian Airlines flight from New York’s JFK airport was scheduled to leave at 9:30am on a Sunday. The day before, there was a pretty heavy snowstorm and I kept checking the flight status and it still said Scheduled. The morning of our departure it was sort of icy and rainy but the status of our flight still said On Time so we made the long trek from New Jersey to Queens, NY. We checked in on the premier status line (we actually made Pualani Gold last year on Hawaiian Airlines!). Pualani Gold gets priority check-in, boarding, free checked baggage, lounge access in Hawaii airports, and selected upgrades to preferred seating, like extra legroom and exit rows. We won’t be qualifying for Pualani Gold next year though since you have to purchase your airfare in order to earn status and we’ve been using miles and points to fund our airfare lately. We’re not complaining! In any case, we put our names down for the standby upgrade list hoping we’d get a shot at the roomier seats.

Pualani Gold gets you priority (zone 2) boarding.

We spent some time at the Airspace Lounge at Terminal 5 (which is actually a JetBlue terminal that also services the one Hawaiian Airlines flight to HNL).

Airspace Lounge at JFK Terminal 5

Everyone in the Airsplace lounge gets a 10 dollar dining credit with entry fee. Our fee is included with the Amex Platinum card so we luckily didn’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

We had a breakfast of charcuterie and cheese, and a breakfast sandwich.

When it came time to board we walked over to the gate and checked the upgrade list. We were #2 and 3 on the list! Unfortunately the person before us took the only other window seat, and she had paid to upgrade her husband. The only other option for us were 2 middle seats and who wants those? So we just kept our original window seats on the right side of the plane. We also noticed many flights were getting delayed or cancelled altogether at this point…hopefully we wouldn’t be. When we boarded the weather still looked icy and wet. After the doors closed our pilot told us that it’ll be a while before takeoff because of residual delays with other flights. We were the 20th plane in line! Ugh.

View from the plane…it was very very white…

We’re ready to go! But our plane isn’t…

So we waited and waited…after about an hour the pilot comes on again, this time he said the plane had a maintenance issue. After a few more announcements we were told we had to deplane and that the flight would not leave until later that night! So we all got out of the plane. There was a bit of confusion as to what people had to do. Everyone started getting on line at the gate agents because they thought they could get re-booked. That wasn’t the case because everyone was technically a JetBlue agent and didn’t work for Hawaiian Air. They pretty much told us all to go home and come back that night. Calling Hawaiian Air as well didn’t help. There was only one flight per day to Honolulu and any other flight we could take would get us there about the same time as this plane would anyways.

The long lines at JFK when we had to deplane because there was some confusion about what to do. Glad we decided not to wait.

Our new flight time was 11pm which was almost a 14 hour delay. That included the time the plane had to have a part replaced as well as a mandatory “rest” time for all the crew and pilots since they were not allowed to work beyond a certain number of hours. Sigh…when would we be able to escape the cold? Hawaiian Air was giving out vouchers for food at the airport but it was just too long of a line.

Delayed 14 hours….not something we wanted to see!

Since we could not easily get back to NJ (my dad had dropped us off and went back to NJ already), we luckily had a good friend Ray, who lives nearby. He picked us up and we had a dim sum lunch and hung out for the afternoon before returning to the airport that evening.

Thanks to our friend Ray, who’s family kindly took us out for a dim sum lunch since we couldn’t fly out till the evening.

Thanks Ray! That evening, we were back at JFK the Airspace lounge again to wait for our flight. Luckily the lounge had shower facilities which we were very grateful for! We had lost one night in Kauai, but we were still very excited we get to go on this trip. I felt bad for people who were connecting in JFK and had no place to go. 14 hours is a long time to spend in an airport! Luckily they were still giving out food vouchers so we picked some up and spent it at the food court.

Finally we boarded the same plane (all the same crew and pilots) and we were off to Hawaii! Even though the flight was very delayed the Aloha spirit was evident on board. They tried to make us as comfortable as possible on the 10.5 hour flight. Hawaiian Airlines is one of the few that still serve in-flight meals, which is rather nice. That evening was spaghetti and meatballs even though half the passengers were more or less sleeping. The red eye flight kind of worked in our favor though, since we got to sleep throughout most of the flight…and when we woke up, we were buy lamisil mexico almost at Honolulu! We were on the right side of the plane

Honolulu, Waikiki, and Diamond Head.

The first sight of Hawaii is just wonderful…the blue waters and green mountains are breathtaking, not to mention the site of Diamond Head and Waikiki beach as we approached. We finally landed in HNL at 5:15 am Pacific time! Our connecting flight was automatically adjusted to 6:30 am so we headed to the inter-island terminal to the new Hawaiian Airlines Premier Lounge. This lounge just opened a few months ago and it’s a perk of being a Pualani Gold. It’s not a huge lounge and there isn’t a lot of stuff, just some beverages: coffee, soda, an espresso machine, and a few snacks. But it was decorated in a nice modern vibe which is very different from the rest of the airport and the air conditioning was very cold.

Hawaiian Airlines Premier lounge located in the inter-island terminal.

Pretty empty at 6am.

There’s not a lot offered (it’s a domestic lounge in any case) but there is Hawaiian coffee!

After 45 minutes in the lounge, we headed to board our flight to Kauai! At last we were going to start our vacation! The flight was very short, and we arrived to sunny weather and blue skies in Kauai!

The first sight of Kauai! Such a beautiful island.

Steve went to Alamo to pick up our rental car (about $260 made through while I went to collect our bags. It looked like our luggage made it to Kauai before us as it was waiting next to the belt when I got there! Steve shows up in a red Jeep SUV. He said the agent tried to check to see what the price would be for one day less on our reservation and was quoted over $1000! No thank you, we’ll stick with our original resservation. We were ready to head to south to sunny Poipu!

Lihue Airport

Our Jeep rental for the week. Make sure you reserve your car well ahead of time or else be weary of the last-minute prices they try to charge you!

ALOHA Kaua’i!!

The drive down was very nice, with no real traffic. I absolutely love the “tree tunnel” part of the drive as you approach the Koloa/Poipu area.

The “tree tunnel” as you go drive to the Poipu area. It is one of my favorite parts of driving around Kauai.

Arriving at our home for the week, it was called “Hale Ko” a quaint 2 BR cottage near Poipu Beach. It was pretty much exactly how it looked like in the pictures. It was nice to have our own space without shared walls plus a private enclosed garage for extra security (not that we really felt the need for it on Hawaii but its best to be safe when traveling anywhere). It was located on a small plot of land and there were 4 identical houses next to each other in our little corner. It felt like we were in the midst of our own little “world” because everything else around us was condos and town homes.

Welcome to Hale Ko!

The house was really cute. It looked like it was renovated recently and had new kitchen cabinets, floors, and bathroom fixtures. Each bedroom had it’s own bathroom so it was essentially 2 master suites. It was quite spacious!

Entry and the front porch.

Living/dining room/kitchen

Another angle of the living space.

Bright and sunny kitchen

The bright entryway. Love the plantation-style decor and the wainscoting.

However the air-conditioning units in each of the bedrooms and living room were old and loud as hell. I think they should have upgraded those as well! One bedroom had a king bed and the other had 2 twins which could be converted into a king. There was a closet in each bedroom as well as a dresser and desk area.

Bright and big bedrooms but the A/C unit was noisy, however we were grateful we had one during the hot afternoons.

King bed in one of the master bedrooms.

The house had most of what we needed for a fun beach vacay, lots of towels, beach chairs, even boogie boards and sunscreen. However, it wasn’t as well stocked as expected, I think whoever was supposed to stock it between stays didn’t do a good job as there were no trash bags, no dishwasher detergent, and no sponge so we couldn’t do dishes properly. There was also no soap in the bathrooms. We kind of made do though, and didn’t bother to try and re-stock it ourselves. I guess a call to the mgmt. company could have fixed that but we just didn’t bother. I didn’t really cook much on this trip, so wasn’t a huge issue and we bought everything else we needed! The front porch was cute and featured 2 sitting areas, and the back yard had a seating area and even banana trees with fruit! We didn’t pick them (we weren’t sure how to) but it sure looked cool.

The front yard area.

Back yard, accessible from both bedrooms as well.

Banana trees with fruit!

Overall I really liked the property because it felt very quaint an cottage-like. It was different than how we usually prefer to stay – in more sleek and modern condos or hotels like the Andaz Maui, but it was perfect for this getaway. It could have been a bit more well-stocked but nothing that we couldn’t fix ourselves if we wanted to. I would recommend it, especially if traveling with 2 couples or a family because it provides more space than a hotel and has 2 private bathrooms! Note: the laundry room is located in the garage and the garage is not connected to the house (although it looks like it), but there is a separate entry door to the garage located right next to the entrance to the house. Not a big deal but just something to know.

After all the time spent getting to Kauai, we were thrilled finally be there albeit a day later than expected. I see it as only missing out on dinner the day before…we still had breakfast to eat! Stay tuned…

View our Kauai 2015 Trip Report.

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