Air Travel Still Easy Within Hawaii
I just returned from a 4 day trip from Kauai to Oahu requiring air travel in both directions. With some public uncertainty over air travel in Hawaii, I thought it might be helpful to give an overview of what I experienced.
First of all, let me assure those planning on traveling to Hawaii that once here, air travel remains readily available and relatively inexpensive, even with Aloha Airlines no longer providing passenger service. Much of the slack has been taken up by increased flights by Hawaiian Airlines and GO Airlines. GO Airlines in particular has increased their flights from every 2 hours to every hour, roughly speaking. I paid $49 plus fees for travel to Oahu and $59 plus fees for the return trip, both on GO. Last-minute booking was easy. For the outbound trip, I booked a week in advance and availability of flights was excellent. On the return trip, I did not book until 10 PM for a 9:30 AM flight the next day. Selection was excellent, I got the flight I wanted, and I paid the $59 fare mentioned above.
Apparently fewer people are traveling judging by the ease of parking at the Kauai airport. Normally this lot is full or nearly so and this can cause anxiety about missing a flight due to parking problems. This time, the parking lot had significant unused capacity making parking a snap.
The GO ticket counter in Honolulu was much busier than normal with fairly lengthy lines. But they now have a computer check-in system requiring only your credit card which negates any need to wait in line. Apparently many travelers are unfamiliar with the machines and/or reluctant to use them (as I was). I had assistance and it was as simple as inserting my credit card and selecting the number of pieces of baggage to be checked. It printed my boarding pass and a separate receipt. The baggage labels printed out at the ticket counter and an employee brought them to me and put them on my luggage. So easy and so quick!
It was both eerie and sad to see all the empty gates once occupied by Aloha. Aloha baggage carts are standing idle and many Aloha planes are parked closely together at their maintenance facility on Oahu. It's very sad indeed but those wishing to travel between the islands need not hesitate to go. And those traveling from the mainland can still easily visit several of the islands once here. Come on over!