Got up early. Way early. Early enough that if it had been a city hotel instead of Maui, people would have just started to stagger in from the night before. But this is Maui, and nobody is awake at 4am. Not even the front desk of the hotel, apparently, because I had to wait 10 minutes for someone to come check me out. Then, there was a problem with the bill, and when I called it to his attention in return I got “there’s nothing I can do about it.” I asked for a manager. “There’s no manager.” What are my options? “Pay it now, or we will autocheck you out and you can call and dispute it later.” Wow, that’s pretty poor customer service. So, I left the bill open because I wasn’t anticipating 20 minutes to check out and was running late for my flight.
Actually, it was my Starbucks. More important. Starbucks by the airport opened at 4am…it was Heaven! Now, on to the airport. Dropped off the car, Alamo was quick and friendly even at oh’dark’thirty, and they were more than willing to drive us over to the commuter terminal
Check-in was no different than our previous flight with Makani Kai. $15 per bag to be checked, and stand on the scale and get weighed with your carry on. The waiting area was just a few chairs covered by a roof, and soon we were still being escorted out to our plane in the early morning light.
Mokulele Airlines flight 1193
Kahului, Maui, Hawaii (OGG) to Moloka’i Hawaii (MKK)
Depart 6:25, Arrive 6:49, Flight Time 24 minutes
Cessna 208B Grand Caravan, Registration N840MA, Manufactured ???, Seat: 2rd row, Starbord side
Pre-flight beverages were served at check-in, since there was no service on this short flight:
We were informed that we’d been, um, weighed-in to the second row on this flight, and the most notable fact was…we were on the exact same plane we’d come into Maui on! The flight itself, well, nothing really different than the previous one. After about 15 minutes we were approaching Moloka’i which was interesting. See, the south coast of the island is pretty much a 1,500+ foot sheer cliff. I was watching the altimeter, and we were coming in right around 1,800 feet. I thought I’d read the cliffs were 3,000 feet, so I was freaking out mildly.
Yes, the altimeter. From the second row I could clearly see most of the instruments, so it was as good as being right up front. I was in aviation geek Heaven. We flew just past the airport, made a 180, and made a smooth landing, although the approach was a bit bumpy.
Walked into the small terminal, and stood around a bit….and first thing we did was try and get a rental car. We had about 2.5 hrs before our next flight, and would have 4 hours later in the day. Unfortunately, Alamo had absolutely no cars, even for a couple of hours, and they’re the only rental car company on property. We were flying Makani Kai later to Kalaupapa, and that’s when we got the big shock. The woman working the Makani Kai counter, right next to the Alamo counter, was like “here’s my keys…just take my car! Just put 5 gallons of gas in it on the way back.” Yes, she was just going to give us her car in exchange for putting a little gas in it. There’s the aloha spirit!
We opted to hang around in the morning since we didn’t have too long until the next flight. Island Air (our flight to Honolulu that evening) let us check our bags early, so we were set with just our carry ons. Makani Kai had their flight schedule posted:
The Makani Kai check-in counter:
Took one last look at N840MA, the Mokulele plane that had served us well on our last two segments:
Inside the tiny terminal was a nice welcome to Moloka’i sign:
The outside of the terminal building, in the pre-dawn light:
Since we had a couple hours, I decided to go for a short walk. Maybe 200 meters from the terminal, this is what was there. Yes, the terminal and airport really are in a quiet and secluded area. That’s just how Moloka’i rolls:
Walking back into the airport. Note the control tower:
The rental car lot:
Soon, it was time for our flight with Makani Kai down to Kalaupapa, which I’ll cover in the next blog post.