The Flight to Kauai

One of the most challenging parts of our recent trip to Kauai was simply getting there.  We had to change our outgoing flights three times, including a last-minute change due to a large snowstorm that hit the Denver area and could possibly have delayed or canceled our flight from there onto Kauai.  The airline was very good to work with us and allowed us to make the changes without any fees, including that last-minute change, since we had a good reason each time to make the needed changes.  Unfortunately, making the change to go through Houston instead of Denver caused us to lose almost a full day in Kauai, but we made the decision to make that change in hopes of just getting there and not get caught in the middle of the snowstorm in Colorado, which dumped a foot of snow in the Denver area.  It was a good decision.

We left on Monday afternoon and first flew to Houston, where we spent the night in a hotel near the airport.  Our flight was almost an hour late arriving at Bush Intercontinental, though, so we ended up having a late dinner with our dear friends that live in the area.  We ate at Pappasito’s Cantina, which is always a treat, to be sure, as we do not have one in our area.  I had the Shrimp Brochette, which was legal on my diet and so very good.

Pappasito’s Famous Shrimp Brochette – “A skewer of mesquite-grilled shrimp, stuffed with cheese & fresh jalapenos, wrapped in bacon with pico de gallo”

We had a nice visit with our friends, and just as we finished our dinner and headed to our hotel for the night, the rain began to fall.  I think it rained all night, which was quite welcome in that area.  As we left on the airport shuttle bus the next morning, it was still raining just a bit, but several roads in the area were apparently flooded, as it rained almost 3.5″ overnight!  Fortunately, we made it to the airport without any delays, and our flight to Los Angeles left right on time around 9 am.  I later learned that several flights that left after our flight were delayed, though.

Houston Rain
Raining in Houston

The flight to LAX was uneventful, which is always a good thing.  Hubby napped and I listened to some great tunes that I had downloaded from Spotify, which is a new thing for me and something that I am truly enjoying, I might add.  It is well worth the $10 each month for me.  I think we also flew over Meteor Crater on the way, too.

Meteor Crater Arizona
I think this was Meteor Crater in Arizona, as seen from our plane

When we arrived at LAX, we decided to find a place to eat lunch, which proved to be quite a challenge.  I had not been to LAX in many years, and honestly, I don’t care if I ever go there again after our horrible experience on this trip.  We were relegated to a very small area in the terminal that was extremely crowded with few options for dining.  After checking out our options, which took only about five minutes, we decided to eat at a 50’s style diner.  The food was terrible and very overpriced, and I ate only about three bites of my burger.  That was likely three bites too many because in about an hour, I started to feel quite sick at my stomach.

Our layover at LAX was just under five hours, and it was a miserable time there, to be sure.  It was about 100 degrees outside on that day, and part of the airport had no air conditioning, including a long hallway that went to our next gate area.  It was so miserably hot, and I started to feel even sicker for that reason.  Fortunately, when we finally made it to the gate area, the air conditioning was working well.  We waited there for about an hour, then boarded our flight to Lihue, Kauai.

As we boarded the flight, we quickly discovered that there was no air conditioning on the plane, and my heart just sank.  I had just started to feel a bit better, but after only ten minutes on that hot plane, my stomach started up with a vengeance once again.  I got up and went back out to the gate area for about fifteen minutes while they finished loading passengers, but then I had to get back on the plane as that task was completed.  I have never, ever been on such a hot plane.  The unit that was to cool the plane while it was on the ground was not working, or that was the excuse that was given to us, and I guess they had no problem loading us on a plane that was 100 degrees inside.

The first three hours of that six-hour flight were horrible, as the plane never really cooled off during that time.  Fortunately, about three hours into the flight, we heard a compressor kick on, and the plane finally started to cool off.  I must sadly say that our cabin crew was bad, too.  I have never had a stewardess refuse to get me a simple drink of water until this trip, but that actually happened.  On the entire six-hour flight, I only managed to get two small cups of water.  I learned a valuable lesson on that flight, and I will never get on a plane again without buying a bottle of water before I get on the plane.  In fact, we will also make sure that we buy food to take along on longer flights, too, as the food to purchase on the flight looked very unappealing, and many people just passed, despite the fact that we were in the air for just over six hours.  Lesson learned – do not rely on the airline to provide food and drinks, no matter how long the flight is.

By the time we arrived in Lihue, about 7 pm Hawaii time and midnight our time, I was pretty dehydrated and very miserable.  However, it still did not reduce my joy to just be back on the island once again.  It was cloudy and cool when we arrived, and the open-air airport is always a treat, and immediately you feel that you are a million miles from the rest of the world.  I waited with our bags just outside baggage claim while Hubby picked up our rental car, and it was wonderful to just breathe in the cool, moist air and realize we had finally made it back to paradise once again.

Welcome to Kauai
The welcome sign at the airport in Lihue

Fortunately, we spent our first night at the beautiful Marriott, which was only a ten minute drive from the airport.  I was never so glad to see a hotel room and comfy bed in my life either.  Hubby got me a cold drink from a vending machine across the hall, and after I sipped on it and took some nausea medicine, I finally felt much better and slept well that night once my stomach finally settled down.

Thankfully, the rest of our flights on the trip were very nice, and all of the equipment worked just fine.  However, if we ever go back to Kauai again, I will do everything I can to avoid connecting through LAX.  The connection through San Francisco was so much better.  SFO is a beautiful, well-equipped airport, and LAX does not even fall in the same category, in my opinion.  I miss the direct flight on Continental to Hawaii from Houston, but I guess that is now a thing of the past.  That flight was so much fun, and the cabin crew always dressed up in mumus and leis to really make the flight a lot of fun with outstanding service.  There was no such fun on this horrible flight, but we didn’t let it dampen our spirit once we finally arrived in Kauai.

In a future post, I will share about our time in Kauai, both on this trip and a couple of previous trips.

Update 6/26/14:  If you would like to continue on this trip journey with me, read Two Days in Kauai and Magnificent Big Sur!😉

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Author: DK

Blogger at My Five Fs (Faith - Family - Food - Fotos - Fun) and Animal Wonder. Empty-nester that now shares life with my hubby and our two standard poodles. Enjoys camping in our RV, taking and editing photos, trying new low-carb recipes, baking pretty decorated cookies for special occasions, walking daily, spending time with family and friends when we can, playing with the dogs, and is grateful to God for every single day of this blessed life and for the opportunity to share and connect with some great people here.

7 thoughts on “The Flight to Kauai”

  1. You talk about changing flights and it reminds me of a 5 year period when every flight I had to take was cancelled, changed, or something…. I almost gave up on flying after that.

    It’s funny the way businesses get when they transition from growing businesses that don’t know if they are going to succeed to established entities that know the public is hooked and discover that they can get away with charging an arm and leg while giving mediocre service. It’s the nature of capitalism and cry of greedy stockholders for more dividends and profit. C’est la vie…

    Sorry to hear about the cabin crew! It’s bad enough to be herded and penned like cattle even when you have GOOD crew. When you are ignored and discounted by the crew … well, maybe there’s a good reason they have air marshals :-\

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    1. Oh dear, I will have to totally disagree with you on the whole “greedy capitalism” thing. As we humans so often like to do, I chose to focus on the “one” segment out of six that was horrible, when all of the others were perfectly lovely, and that was my fault. United is typically a great airline to fly on, and that is why we choose to stay with them. Airlines are nearly all struggling to keep a profitable position these days while trying to keep fares somewhat affordable for those that choose to fly. 2012 was a devastating year for United, and their 2013 profit did not even offset that loss in 2012. So, it’s hard for me to call those investors “greedy” right now.

      We can run into bad service anywhere, as that depends on the individual and their issues that given day. The flight attendant was in the wrong, and if she keeps it up, she will pay a price at some point, I’m sure. I think the larger issue rested at LAX for not keeping their terminal cool and for not keeping their ground equipment working to cool the plane while it was on the ground. As a consumer, we will do everything we reasonably can to not fly through that airport anymore. Thankfully, we have that option.

      We have invested in stocks for most of our married life and have not regretted it one bit, even after the downturn a few years ago. That investment comprises about 70% of our retirement funds right now, as we do not have a pension with Hubby’s company. So, to some people, we are “greedy capitalists,” and I believe that is a misinformed position. We average about 6-7% ROI each year, which is pretty typical of most investors these days, with a few that can take on more risk topping out closer to 10%. I’m not factoring in the day traders, who play the market more like a Las Vegas game and seldom even look at ROI. Most investors are much more prudent.

      Over time, *prudent* investment in stocks is a good way to support the establishment and growth of businesses that employ a lot of people and provide services we all need while providing a decent ROI to the investor. The accountability factor to the shareholders is often the very thing that keeps management accountable and can make changes when top management is not doing its job properly. My husband’s company went public a few years ago, and while they do get frustrated in that accountability at times because it is a little more work in reporting for them, he knows it has also helped them to become a more efficient operation from what the company was before the change. I will take private ownership and that accountability any day over the alternatives. They would likely have been out of business without some of the changes that the stock offering brought about, and many people would have been out of work.

      That being said, it is worth mentioning that most stocks are very overpriced right now, and it is not a good time to get in for the first time as a general rule. Smart money is going to real estate right now in growing markets. 😉 My parents did not have any kind of pension, as my father was self-employed. He passed many years ago, and since then, I have been in charge of overseeing my mother’s investments to care for her needs. It has been so hard to do that the past few years, too. We finally bought a small rent house four years ago, and that is now providing over half of her monthly income, even more than her pitifully small amount from Social Security that can not even come close to meeting her monthly expenses in the assisted living community, which is only a mid-range community, not a nicer one. In four more years, the income from the property will have paid for the house, too, and we are even charging a little less than market rate for rent on the house because we want to keep the current renters as long as possible. As Hubby and I near our own retirement, we will most likely buy another small house or two to help provide for our own retirement, as we know we will likely get little to nothing from Social Security by the time we get to that age. That may include selling our own house and buying two smaller houses, and possibly living in a nice RV for several years while we tour the country. Hence, my interest in learning more and more about that option from nice people like you. 🙂

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      1. My friend, disagree as much as you want. The nice thing about this world is that there is room for many people, doing many things, holding many opinions, and living divergent lives.

        I know about charging less than market rate — we had a 12 family apartment house and we had tenants in there who stayed 14, 21, and 27 years. Neat people but we were a sort of positive form of co-dependence. 🙂

        Cheers.
        P

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  2. Oh my goodness, what an awful flight you had! I simply would have been beside myself in the heat of that plane. I don’t do hot temps well. I used to love to fly, but now I’m very hesitant. My daughter and I had a bad experience flying a few years ago and I said I’d never fly again. I’m glad you had a lovely time once you got to Hawaii though.

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    1. It was a bad flight and a pretty bad time at LAX as well. I probably had a 24 hours stomach bug in all likelihood, but that stewardess didn’t help matters either, especially when I started getting dehydrated on the hot plane. We definitely will try to avoid that airport in the future, especially in the hot weather months. I know it was unseasonably warm for that area on that day, but wow! It was really bad, and someone needs to make some changes there at that airport, for sure. Kauai was lovely, as always. Such a change from where we live and one that we both needed for a few days, too. It was a wonderful celebration trip, once we arrived in Kauai and from that point forward!

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