Sunday, January 14, 2018

Oahu to Maui

Did you know that when you fly from Oahu to Maui you have to make a choice of airports? We did not and it made for an interesting day as we made the trip between the two islands.

We had arranged to pick up our rental car at Kahului Airport, the only one we were aware of. We arrived at the airport, checked our bags and headed to the gate. Since we were about two hours early, we had plenty of time to relax, or so we thought. But when I looked at the gate information, it did not look right. It said we were going to Kapalua. I checked with Linda and she talked to the gate agent who confirmed that we were flying to airport number 2, over an hour’s drive from airport number 1.

Now what do we do? First, we tried changing car pickup, but Kapalua had no cars available. They may not ever have cars available. Even if they did, the drop off fee would have been large since we were flying home from Kahului. Hiring a taxi would have been an astronomical cost and Uber says they no longer pick up there.

Can we change the flight at this late hour? Linda checked with the gate agent who gave her a phone number. Success for only an $80 change fee. And we are now members of Hawaii Air’s frequent flyer club, not that we will ever amass enough points to matter. Now we have an extra two hours so a drink at the lounge is called for.

Eventually we head to our new gate and board the plane. Then as we are settling in our seats, Linda’s phone rings. Our bags did not manage to make the transfer to the new flight and have arrived at Kapalua. Can we pick them up there? LInda has trouble hearing the directions for picking up our luggage amidst all the bustle as passengers struggle with finding seats and lilfting carry-ons into the bins above. Finally she hears clearly that we must arrive at Kapalua by 6:00 and asks for a text or voice mail to convey the directions.

Since we have no luggage to pick up we are able to get our car quickly and get on the road. Google maps tells us there are backups but we will arrive at 5:55. We hope that this map feature is accurate. It’s only 29 miles, but the trip will take us almost an hour and a half. Sure enough we run into some very slow traffic. We keep checking our projected arrival time. Now it says 5:57. Now it says 5:52. Will we make it?

We finally make it past Lahaina and most of the slow traffic and begin to feel a bit more confident. We arrive at the Kapalua at 5:53. I drop Linda off and she rushes into the airport to find the person who can get us our bags. Hawaii Air had closed a couple of hours earlier, but their neighbor had offered to help us since she had to work until six anyway. We picked up our bags and then drove another half mile to our condo for the week.

No problem!!

It turns out that Kapalua Airport is quite small with only a couple of commercial flights a day. The runway is too short for a commercial jet. Mostly it is used by private pilots and sightseeing flights. And it collected our bags for us.

As an afterthought, as a result of the baggage mistake, we may get the $85 baggage fee returned to us. That would be icing on the cake, but we will not be waiting anxiously on that hope.

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