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    This is a long one.....HNL and OGG pics up at the Smugmug site. The link is at the end of the post.

    The departure day for the big trip finally came. Beginning on May 22, 2006, we were routed TUL-DEN-HNL on United 391/43. On May 26, we were on Aloha 72 to OGG and back home on May 30 via SFO and DEN. Here is the story of the great odyssey:

    May 22, 2006
    UA 391 (N347UA) 737-300
    Seats 11 A, B, C, D
    First 100% load
    Main 95% load
    Curbside check-in and TSA screening at TUL were quick and painless. We were in boarding group #2. We were scheduled for a quick 1 hr. 14 min. for the hop up to Denver. The flight was scheduled to depart at 0943 and actually pulled away a couple of minutes early. After a couple of cans of Pepsi and a bag or three of mini-pretzels, we were landing out in the middle of nowhere (or so it seemed). This was my first trip into or out of DEN in the daylight. After landing, I asked the big boss up front if he would mind me snapping a quick shot of the front office. He quickly agreed and was actually surprised that someone would want a pic of “an old 737". [photoid=5740545]

    We were scheduled for a 70 minute connection for the flight to HNL...plenty of time to get from one gate to another and to stop off for a sandwich and bathroom break. We arrived at B39 to see our ride for the next 7 hours and 35 minutes.
    UA 43 (N669UA) 767-300
    Seats 23 A, B; 24 A,B
    First 100% load
    Main 97% load
    We were in boarding group 2 so we were able to get on and actually get some overhead space for the laptop and video camera bags. Seven and a half hours is a long time in the tiny regular economy space United allocates to those in steerage class. We were offered Economy Plus upgrades for $107 each but declined. In retrospect, I wish I had taken them up on it. Anyway, the cabin crew for our section was superb. They had on their leis and Hawaiian print aprons and told us they were ready to mix Mai-Tais if we were ready to drink them. Janice took care of us the majority of the time and was a hoot. She went up front and found some dark rum to use to for the tropical treats. After a typically late Denver departure due to ground traffic, we were offered the buy-on-board delicacies that United has on it’s longer trips. I had a salad and my wife had a sandwich. I should have saved my $10 for the drinks. They were WAY better. When the first beverage service began, Janice sold us 2 bottles of dark rum and poured 4 glasses of mai tai mix. It was already looking good. My boys were sitting behind us and just rolled their eyes.

    The dark rum did make the difference especially with the chunk of fresh pineapple she brought back to us. After enjoying 2 mai tais and the lovely (not) buy-on-board salad, it was nearly time to play the halfway to Hawaii game and fill out the USDA agriculture disclosure forms. While I was figuring my time for the game, Janice brought back another couple dark rums with another round of cups full of mix and pineapples. When I offered to pay her, she said this one was on her because, after all, we were on vacation and it was her job to get it off to a good start. I failed miserably at the halfway time due to the headwind calculation (or lack thereof) but by this time, who cared? We were on our way to Hawaii and 9 days of fun.

    The movie, which was a cartoon about Little Red Riding Hood, was pretty lame and the audio sucked big time...Don’t get me wrong, XM programming is fine but there was NO channel 9. I asked one of the ladies why it was not on and she went back and called the front office. She came back and told me the pilot said his personal preference was to not activate it on his flights...oh well, some you win and some you just drink mai tais. When I plugged my noise-canceling headset into the audio jack, it was just as well there was no ch. 9, as neither mine or my wife’s audio jack worked on both ears at the same time. Janice thought that was not a good thing and brought us each a form to send in to get a Mileage Plus credit for defective equipment.

    Due to the headwinds and the late departure from DEN, we were nearly 40 minutes late into HNL. Our cabin crew bid us a good vacation and as I was exiting, I asked the first officer if I could get a cockpit shot. He invited me and my camera bags in and told me to shoot away.

    After arriving in HNL, I had to avail myself with some shots in the open air passageways headed from the departure gates to the terminal building. Lots of NW DC-10's, AA 763's and DL 764's were on gate.

    We spent Monday thru Friday in Honolulu. I went back out to HNL on Thursday for some photography.

    On Friday, it was time to head to Maui.

    May 26, 2006
    Aloha (AQ) 72
    737-200 (N808AL)
    Depart HNL 1100 /Arr OGG 1125
    Open seating for Groups 3, 4 and 5
    100% (oversold) load

    If you have never flown Aloha (like us), you would not know that open seating does not mean first in line=first on the plane. Their boarding groups 1 and 2 go on first without standing in the cattle call line. Luckily, there were only a couple in groups 1 and 2 so we were number 3, 4, 5 and 6 in line to board. I was in heaven. Clamshell 732 shots were in my dreams the night before departure. My dreams did not take into account the group of Maui school kids already on the flight sitting directly behind the wings on both sides. The little ankle biters were headed home after an overnight in HNL and a trip to the zoo. So much for my clamshell shots....
    We ended up in row 3 so we could get off quickly after arrival in OGG. The plane was old (former China Airlines) and smelly. The leather seats and armrests were split and grossly worn. After departing HNL, the flight crew made a quick pass thru the cabin handing out POG (pineapple-orange-guava) juice containers and then followed up with trays of coke and diet coke. Not bad service on a flight with less than 20 minutes of actual air time. We made the quick hop over to OGG at ten thousand feet making for some neat photos of the islands and ocean. We arrived in Maui a couple of minutes early and deplaned to a slap of heat and humidity compared to HNL.

    It has been said that Maui is for the newlywed and newlydead. We are neither and we had a blast. Ka’annapali beach is to die for.

    The hotel was the pits (avoid the Royal Lahaina Resort...that's another story for another day though). Our 4 ½ days passed way too quickly. I made the drive from Lahaina back to the airport the day before we left for some photography. There were lots of Aloha 732s and Hawaiian 717's. Neat to get something we would NEVER have a chance of seeing back at good ol’ TUL. Way too soon, it was time to head back for the 9pm flight to SFO and the trip home....

    May 30/31, 2006
    United 36
    767-300 (N666UA)
    100% Load both cabins
    Seats 35 J, H and 36 J, H
    Dep OGG 2120 HST/Arr SFO 0450 PDT next day

    Thankfully it was already dark when we passed USDA Ag and TSA screening and I couldn’t see the reg of our ride back to the Mainland. I am generally creeped out by such things. It was a fuuuulllll flight back to California with lots of carry-on bags (translation=slow boarding and 20 minute late departure). Soon after departure, our SFO based crew made a quick pass with drinks and buy-on-board and pretty much disappeared for the remainder of the flight. They had cans of drinks and pretzels out in the mid and rear galleys if you wanted them. Ch 9 didn’t work at OGG, but was activated for arrival at SFO. After a nearly 5 hour ride back to SFO, we arrived a couple of minutes early at Gate 81. We deplaned after the cabin crew said no to requests for flight deck pics. It was an omen of thing to come for the upcoming day.

    We went to relieve ourselves and then rehydrate at the food court next to gate 81. When we looked at the monitors for our DEN gate, we were surprised to see it was.....gate 81. Good ol’666 again. Things were only improving. We reboarded the old girl with all of our stuff that we had just taken off. Why the hell didn’t they just let us sleep at that time of morning, knowing we were continuing to DEN on her??? Oh well, we reboarded for our continuing trip to DEN.

    May 31, 2006
    UA 146
    767-300 (N666UA)
    100% Load both cabins
    Dep SFO 0608/Arr DEN 0920; at gate 0940
    Seats 23 J, H and 24 J, H

    Overwing seats again. Photo opportunities limited. Ch 9 was activated so all was good. Our audio plugs worked on this flight. Front end crew was chatty keeping us advised of all progress on our early morning trip to DEN. Cabin service was quick and professional with biscotti and Mountain Dew being breakfast. We arrived in DEN late due to ramp traffic both in SFO and DEN. We arrived at gate 41 and had to hoof it to our connecting flight back to TUL. No time for cockpit pic requests as we were pushing it, timewise, already. Here is where the fun started.

    May 31, 2006
    UA 6588 (United Express/Skywest)
    CRJ-701 (N718SK)
    100% Load
    Dep DEN 1001/Arr TUL 1220
    Seats 13 A, B, C, D

    We arrived at gate 53 to find them doing final boarding of the flight. This was our only Express flight of the trip. The aircraft was nearly new and quite comfortable. Leg room was better than the cramped confines of the 763. This is where the compliments for Skywest end. The cabin crew had the good cop/bad cop team. The “good cop” was serving the first class cabin and the first few rows of steerage. The “bad cop” served us. She was obviously either having a bad day or was just a witch, not sure which. We got our cup of soda and bag of cinnamon graham cracker animals and that was it. Period. With an hour and 20 minutes, there was ample time to get a refill but NOOOOOOO.... “sorry hon, too busy this flight” was the response to my son for another apple juice. When I asked, she said (loudly), “I told your boy I was too busy”. I guess that is why she works for a regional rather than mainline. When we finally got back home to TUL, I waited to be the last one off and asked the “good cop” if I could get a cockpit shot as the new CJ701 has a neat glass cockpit. She asked and the pilot told her to tell me (I was less than 4 feet from him at the time but it was as though I was not there) that it was illegal to take pics of aircraft now so no, I couldn’t take any pics. What a moron! I was glad to get off the Skywest flight and if this is any indication of their service, it will be my last. As a final gesture to us, Skywest lost our bags. They were delivered to our house nearly 13 hours after landing.

    All in all, the United mainline product was great. The Skywest aircraft was comfortable but their service sucked. It was a great trip and we are already looking forward to repeating it next summer. Thanks for lasting this long and any comments are appreciated.
    Last edited by okairpix; 2006-06-02, 19:36. Reason: add photos
    Culture is roughly anything we do that the monkeys do not. --Lord Raglan
    For more of my shots have a look at

  • #2
    I decided I liked Janice, sound slike a great lady

    Great report!!

    Stop Searching. Start Traveling.


    • #3
      Thanks for the good readin, I guess it was tight flyin with these old ladies up there huh..

      Btw . Love your cockpit shot. Very Nice Jim !

      Inactive from May 1 2009.


      • #4
        Some new pix added...see the sunset. Almost makes you forget about planes.
        Culture is roughly anything we do that the monkeys do not. --Lord Raglan
        For more of my shots have a look at


        • #5

          Cool flight review. Great captures as well.



          • #6
            Great report! Like the photos- brings back memories from my time on the islands last year! I think that ALoha boarding policy is interesting with the groups- out of the 6 aloha flights i took last year, about 3-4 of the flights were overbooked. I must admit most of my flights were delayed. The 732's are amazing!!

            Glad you enjoyed your trip to the islands

            "It's a gift...and a curse" (Adrian Monk)

            Next Flights:-
            EMA-PRG Easyjet
            PRG-EMA Easyjet


            • #7
              Nice and entertaining, great pictures from the spot. Your report gives me another couple of reasons I must travel there sooner or later.
              Thanks for visiting
              *Avimage's Monthly Slide list *