Day 1 - Journey to Hawaii
Today we are about to leave for our Honeymoon. We are visiting three Islands in Hawaii and then finishing off in Las Vegas. We ordered a taxi to pick us up at 5am to take us to Heathrow airport as we didn't want to bother anyone in dropping us off. I had arranged for a minibus to pick us up in Hawaii to take us to our hotel. I had also purchased a SIM card for the USA so I could use my mobile phone without extortionate bills.
We had a 19 hour journey to look forward to. Our flight departed at 10:25am GMT and we were going to stopover in Los Angeles in 12 hours with a 90 minute stopover. Then a five hour flight to Honolulu.
We got to the airport and checked in. We didn't have much weight with us, practically an empty suitcase as we were going to do all our shopping in America. A few friends had told us to try and get a free upgrade because we were going on our honeymoon, he kindly said, "we'll see what we can do", which was a nice way of saying, "no chance." Whilst we were checking in, he told us we were allowed up to two suitcases each for our journey, which was good as we were planning on bringing back an extra suitcase for all of our shopping. This was good to know for the rest of our journey though. I decided to check in my hand luggage so I wouldn't need to carry it around the airport.
We decided to stock up on some food from the duty free and boarded our plane which departed on time. We had our own screens on the plane with on demand tv, they had a premium option which could have been purchased for $20, we were happy with our basic option. We saw a documentary on one of the vegas Cirque du Soliel shows, "Ka". It was a behind the scenes view of what goes on during the show and it was absolutely amazing. They have a stage which moves, rotates and goes vertical, see the trailer for the show here. See the trailer for the show here. It was decided this is the Vegas show we were going to watch once we got there.
There were a number of interesting documentaries preventing me from sleeping on the plane. I decided to make a list so I could watch them once I get home:
- Worlds toughest fixes - fixing the Bellagio fountains, more interesting as we were staying at the Bellagio in Vegas
- Bugatti Super Car
- The Facebook Obsession
- Inside the mind of Google
- How the Universeworks
- Killer Whales
- Ultimate Factories - Coca Cola
- Pricing the Priceless - Grand Central Station
- Wild Spaces - Hawaii
- You can see why we didn't want to sleep on the plane. Im glad I made a list of these, so I can catch up once I get some free time.
So we arrived at Los Angeles airport at the scheduled time of 13:34 and our next flight was at 15:04 so we had 90 minutes. We knew it may be tight so we rushed as much as possible. For those of you that have never transferred on a plane in America, their system appears a little strange but you can understand why they do it.
Whchever airport you arrive on, you immediately go through immigration at that airport. From this point onwards you become a domestic passenger. Which meant that once we get to Honolulu, there would not be any immigration.
Now the queue in Los Angeles immigration was crazy, finally it was our turn. This is one of those intimidating moments because this guy decides whether or not to let you in. He checked Avani's passport and his computer screen and looked a bit confused. So he took us to an office at the back for further questioning. This WAS scary, we felt like criminals at a police station. Eventually they let us go and continue our journey. Our plane was due to depart in 10 minutes.
We ran as fast as we could, this time we did look like criminals running from something. Avani said "there was no way we can make this flight", but I was determined. We had to pick up our checked in luggage and take it to the check in desk. I could hear Avani yelling "slow down, I cant run anymore", but I carried on. We got to the check in desk and the operator told us that check in closes 30 minutes prior to departure, we explained our story, he apologised for the inconveniences and booked us on the following flight in two hours. He DID upgrade us without us asking to economy plus which gave us 6 inches extra leg room.
Once we checked in, we went through security and got some food. I decided to try out my new USA SIM card and hopefully access the internet on my iPhone. I had to call customer services to get the phone to work, eventually I got the phone working but the internet didn't work. I said I'll figure that out later. I rang the minibus company that was due to pick us up to inform them of our delay and booked them a few hours later.
We boarded a much smaller plane this time and unfortunately we didn't have any in flight entertainment. This was going to be a long 5 hour journey with no tv and nothing to see but water for 5 hours. For those of you that don't know, Hawaii is located halfway between America and Japan. It's a group of eight islands in the middle of the Pacific ocean.
These islands have never been attached to any continent. The land was formed by tectonic plates rubbing against each other forming mountains in the middle of the ocean. Because of this all wildlife in Hawaii is what man has bought onto the island from the rest of the world. Due to the delicate nature of the island, they are very strict on what you can bring to the island in terms of agriculture (food and plants).
After our flight we arrived at the airport and we were out of the airport within 15 minutes of landing. I was looking for a board with "PATEL" written on it, I looked everywhere but couldn't see it. I rang the company, no answer. There were plenty of companies at the airport offering shuttle buses, we decided to book one, $18 for both of us which was cheaper than what I was originally quoted by the company.
We were staying at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, fortunately this was one of the first stops on the shuttle bus. The journey took about 40 minutes due to traffic, we checked in to the hotel. It was 9pm local time. There is a 10 hour time difference from the UK, so back home the time was 7am, we have been travelling for 27 hours. We were hungry so we dropped off our bags and went for a walk to find some food.
Now my wife Avani is a vegetarian, I eat pretty much everything but beef, and im not a big fan of seafood. So finding food on holiday is always a problem for her, we manage to find an Australian style pub called Harbor Pub and ordered some pizza.
If you've never ordered food in America, their portions are HUGE, so always order less initially, im giving this advice but I don't follow this myself. We ordered a pizza to share with orange juice. Another thing you need to be aware of is in the USA, you leave tips for the waiter, usually 10% of the bill so ensure you have plenty of one dollar bills as sometimes they may assume the change is their tip. We left the waiter $27 for our food plus his tip and headed back to the hotel. I will be leaving as many prices as I can so if anyone is travelling soon, they can use this as a guide
We got to the hotel and I took a few pictures and hit the bed after being up for 30 hours, needless to say, we slept like babies.
Summary of Day 1
- We missed our connecting flight to Hawaii
- Our shuttle bus driver didn't come to collect us
- The internet was not working on my SIM card.
What could go wrong tomorrow!!!