Washington to Kona in United First and flyGo! economy
I keep asking myself: why do you book morning flights? I don’t function well before 10am, and getting up – not to mention trekking the 30 miles out to Dulles Airport – in time for an 8am flight…well, I think the Geneva Convention prevents that. Throw in packing and doing laundry until 1am the night before, and I’m not likely to be a happy camper.
This leads to me not being able to tolerate a taxi, and Uber it is. Abdullah showed up in just a few minutes, and fortunately had bottled water in the car and was a quick and pleasant drive to Dulles. I’d checked in online and had the mobile boarding pass, TSA pre-check went without a hitch, and I was curbside to gate in maybe 15 minutes at Dulles. Not bad at all considering how much the airport sprawls.
United flight 1632
Washington, Dulles (IAD) to San Francisco, California (SFO)
Depart 8:17, Arrive 11:05, Flight Time 5:48
Boeing 757-300, Registration N57864, Manufactured 2001, Seat 2F
Honestly, there’s not too much to say about this flight. The crew was super friendly and pleasant, and we had a good long chat in the galley after the meal service. I find I can relate to post-merger crews pretty well – my mother original started in reservations with North Central Airlines, which eventually became Republic Airlines, which was eventually merged into Northwest Orient and then NWA Airlines. She couldn’t deal with yet another merger, and retired the day before Delta acquired Northwest…so, I understand what crews are going through and have a great deal of sympathy about how management has treated them.
Breakfast was a bit unusual….a disc of eggs, and a hockey puck…I mean round mystery meat passed off as sausage. I think I nibbled on about half of it, limited myself to one bloody mary, and then watched episode after episode of Homeland trying to get caught up.
Arrived in San Francisco right on time, and enjoyed my favourite little guilty pleasure in the food court, the Fung Lum Chinese restaurant, and their quite tasty Dim Sum. It wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered, but tasty enough to hold me over for a two hour connection. The gate area for our next flight was absolutely packed, so we played gate lice and queued up well in advance.
United flight 1001
San Francisco, California (SFO) to Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL)
Depart 13:08, Arrive 16:56, Flight Time 5:48
Boeing 737-800, Registration N12221, Manufactured 1998, Seat 2E
I still think it’s a bit of a crime to fly 737s to Hawaii, but after taking many many in the last two years, I’ve gotten a bit used to it I guess. We had another really good crew on this flight, so that also made it go by quite quickly and comfortably. Lunch was…well, adequate and actually MILDLY healthy. Chicken and beans, with a mediocre salad and a heap of carbs. And wine, good wine, malbec….and much more drinkable that the usual Chateau le Jeff:
The sundae, as always, was delicious:
…and that’s about all there is to say about a rather generic flight with United. We arrived on time, I changed into shorts, and we attempted to go find our next flight. We had two hours, so plenty of time, but I’d never been to the “commuter terminal” before, so this would be a new adventure. Took the escalator upstairs to the Wiki Wiki Shuttle, which took us over to the domestic terminal. The driver was helpful, and she told us to just walk the length of the domestic terminal, go down the stairs at the end, walk through the passageway, and you’d be in the commuter terminal.
Her instructions were flawless, and soon we found ourselves in what looked like a small gate area with 5 or 6 people sitting around. Plus one very bored looking security guard. So, I asked her, what next? “You wait.” Um, we don’t have boarding passes, we’re not checked in…and there’s nobody here! “They will come get you. If you leave this area, you will have to go through more security and it is hard. The flyGo! people will come get you right before your flight. No problem.”
Ok, so we waited. The area increasingly filled up, and the Island Air rep did come through and grab people for their flight, so this at least had me thinking the agent was right. Soon it was 20 minutes before our flight, and no sign of anyone from flyGo…but there was a boarding announcement….and people started walking toward the plane from what was obviously the other part of the commuter terminal. Finally, after they’d all boarded, a rep did come to our area, and start boarding us. She called our names over the walky talky to her coworker, who verified we should be on the flight. All’s well that ends well!
No trouble checking my rolling bag planeside, but as the last to board, and it was open seating, we were all the way at the back of my least favourite plane of all time – the dreaded CRJ-200.
flyGo! flight 1007
Honolulu, Hawaii (HNL) to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (KOA)
Depart 19:30, Arrive 20:15, Flight Time 45 minutes
Canadair CRJ-200, Registration N27318, Manufactured 1999, Seat 11A
The upside to being in the back, of the 3 empty seats on the plane they were 11B and 11C so we both got a whole row to ourselves…score for that?
Total flight time was actually 28 minutes from takeoff to touchdown, and water was offered. All things considered, for a CRJ flight, it was pretty good. Until the announcement ten minutes from landing: “some of you may have noticed snow and ice falling from the roof. This is perfectly normal, as a result of condensation in the plane.” Ummmm, ok? I guess we landed ok, so there’s something to be said for that.
Overall impression of flyGo? Well, their instructions for connecting passengers in Honolulu need some major improvement, but other than that they were a perfectly acceptable and comfortable option…as well as the only one that fit our schedule. I’d have no hesitation taking them again. Then it was off to get the car, and begin the adventure!