When I booked my flights from Kona - Kahului and Kahului to Honolulu, I booked with Island Air. I had always flown with Hawaiian Air when I've island hopped before. It was the only option until recently. Now there are upwards of 4 companies to choose from including small charter airplanes.
The companies aren't really competitive with oneanother. There are dozens of flights between any two given cities daily. They depart about every half hour from early morning to late at night.
I went with Island Air just to try it and it would save me a few dollars with each flight as they have slightly lower baggage fees.
So my first ever flight with Island Air was actually operated by Pen Air. Small plane with about 30 seats in total. It's really not a long flight from Kona to Kahului. 30-40 minutes. The plane never really levels off in altitude - it simply ascends until it begins its descent. Just enough time for the 1 flight attendant go give all 18 passengers a small juice and then immediately go back down the aisle collecting the rubbish.
So the ascent went rather smoothly. Then we transitioned into the descent. I think this was the first time in all my travels that I ever legitimately thought I might die in a plane crash. It was ROUGH! And because it was such a small plane it just seemed to be getting tossed around like a toy. All around me people were looking rather terrified - eyes clenched shut, some covering their faces, and couples holding eachothers hands as tightly as they could. It was exactly like you would see in a movie before the plane crashes. Anyway I figured the odds of us crashing were pretty slim, and the view out my window was beautiful (and possibly the last thing I would ever see) so I decided to just chill and take some pics out the window, even though I had been told to put my phone away. Anyway, minutes later we landed safely on the ground.
A few days later, flight #2. I had low expectations of course. I got to the airport pretty early, settled in with a coffe and my book. I arrived at the gate area with 30 mins to spare before boarding was due to begin. Minutes later I was asked by an employee where I was going. I told her Honolulu. and she says, "Oh, We're waiting for you." Now I'm confused. Boarding was supposed to be at 6:00 and the flight was at 6:20. It's about 5:50 at this time, so how am I so late. I say "Isn't the flight at 6:20?" and she says "Yes, it's supposed to be, but everyone's here, so we're just gonna leave early." Ahhhh Hawaii. So laid back. I've never had this happen to me for a flight before and I honestly never expected it to happen in a million years. I know flights are notorious for being late, but a flight leaving early "just beacause" is unheard of. So I head down the jetway, where the pilot has the plane running as they wait for me to climb aboard. Sure enough, all 13 of us are here now and ready to go.