Hawaiian Airlines: Island Specialties
Vacation starts just after takeoff on Hawaiian Airlines flights. The airline’s focus on Hawaiian foods extends to its complementary offerings. On North America-to-Hawaii flights departing before 10 a.m., passengers are offered free mai tais. There’s also POG (passion fruit-orange-guava juice), Koloa Breeze rum punch, AlohaMacs chocolate, and guava cookies. More Hawaiian specialties (toffee-coated macadamia nuts, local popcorn, and coconut cookies) are available for purchase.
In first class, passengers receive sparkling wine, along with regular beverage service. Few domestic airlines offer sparkling these days, even in first class. In addition, their personal digi-player for movies and television shows is offered.
The POG has been offered forever it seems. It symbolizes the islands airways more than the flower leis, aloha attire of the staff, and the Hawaiian background music. Surprisingly, POG was not created until 1971, by Mary Soon of Haleakala Dairy on Maui. It consists of three juices, passion, orange, and guava. It is now made and distributed by Meadow Gold Dairy.
In fact, the flight attendants seem friendlier as well. Why not? They get to live in Hawaii, and travel to the mainland more often than their island friends and relatives. They get to wear very casual attire, and promote the “aloha” spirit during their work shifts. As many times as I have taken the five hour flight to or from the Hawaiian Islands, the HAL flights seem the best. And I have tried all of them!
So, who is HAL?
HAL is Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii’s own airline, with many West Coast flights to various islands, a well as great inter-island service. I have been a fan of Hawaiian for bout twenty years now. I have been through many of the other locals carriers who at first thrived, then dived. How many of your remember Aloha Airlines, or go!, or even Mid Pacific Air, who flew Fokkers (F28)? I fondly remember buying a multi flight ticket book for Mid-Pac back in the 70s and 80s. It was sort of the old Disneyland-style ticket book for inter-island air travel.
Now (November 2014), my favorite airline to Hawaii is celebrating its birthday, as indicated in the article below. I must tell you that the meals are above average in coach, and pretty good in First Class. Plus, I have found the flight attendants of HAL to be a bit more friendly than United’s “flying mamas” or Alaska Airline “sky snobs”.
Hawaiian Airlines celebrated its 85th anniversary this week by releasing vintage photos of planes and crews from the decades since Nov. 11, 1929, when it began regularly scheduled service under the name of Inter-Island Airways.
While I’m sure there are aviation fans out there who’d love to see images of the Sikorsky S-38 or Douglas DC-3, DC-6 and DC-8 that Hawaiian has flown over the years, I found the evolution of uniform fashions more eye-catching, particularly 1971-74 and 1979-88.
Some fun facts from Hawaiian Airlines history, provided by the company:
* In 1929, the airline’s flight attendants (known for many years as “hostesses”) served Wrigley gum and cotton balls to alleviate ear pressure discomfort. Today it’s the only domestic airline still serving complimentary meals (on all flights except island hops).
* The average cost of a one-way trip from Honolulu to Hilo in 1929 was $15, the equivalent of $209 in today’s dollars; oil cost a mere $1.27 a barrel. In 2014, that flight averages $70, with oil around $108 a barrel.
* In 1929, the airline flew round trip to Neighbor Islands three times a week; the one-way Honolulu-Hilo flights lasted 1 hour and 40 minutes. The same itinerary takes just 36 minutes day, while Hawaiian flies 530 Neighbor Island round trips.
— Jeanne Cooper
My kids, really all kids, and me, enjoy the little container of POG (passion-orange-guava juice) that is still served complimentary on the inter-island hops. And another bonus is that many of the short hops from HNL to a neighboring island have real stars in first class. I have seen movie stars (Costner), sports heroes (Elway, Shula), TV personalities (Woody, Harpo), golf professionals (Davis, Freddie), and politicians (Senator Inouye) sitting in first class as I board the plane.
The flights are generally less than an hour, and hardly require more than throwing on T shirt, flip-flops, and Bermuda shorts. Note that I am NOT a flip-flop fan on flights. Too many people have dirty feet, and in the case of a fire, you are doomed to walk on burning jet fuel.