Our flights so far have been stressful affairs. Huge airports with buses between terminals, long, long queues, grumpy staff, confusing rules, uncomfortable seats, stale air. And not forgetting the endless security checks. Shoes off, shoes on, finish drinks, belt off, belt on, take laptop out, take cables out, put laptop and cables back, through the scanner, one at a time, no one at a time. All very tiring and tiresome.
We arrived at Kahalui airport today in good time today, returned our car and took the shuttle to the terminal. Went to the Mokulele. Where are you going? Kona. You need the commuter terminal. Sigh, another terminal change. We always seem to be in the wrong place. It’s through baggage claim, past the car rental companies, across the parking lot. We found a trolley and wound our way past the throngs of people flying to Canada, Alaska, LA. We finally spotted a sign in the distance on a brown shed ‘Commuter Terminal’ and next to it a smaller sign, ‘No Pets’.
A single person at a single check-in desk deals with the barefooted, dreadlocked types in front of us. First weigh your luggage. Then weigh yourselves. The children ask why we’re being weighed and get a quick lesson in balance. A couple more people drift in. Then a phut phut noise outside. It’s our plane!
We climb up the wobbly steps of the single engine prop plane, strap ourselves into the eight seats, and the pilot turns around to give us a cursory safety talk. Then we’re off. Flying along the beautiful, volcanic coastline, watching the windsurfers in the white-tipped swell. Ned is fascinated by his view of the cockpit, and watches the joystick, dials and screens with a huge grin. Dickon keeps up a running commentary. “Look, the trees are like dolls trees! Look, the houses are like dolls houses! Where is my TV?”
Soon we’re flying over Maui’s volcanic crater, which pierces the low lying clouds. It’s barren, moon-like surface looks unforgiving and I’m glad I’m seeing it from above. Then more white-capped waves, more stunning beaches, more surfers.
After only 45 minutes, we come in to land at Kona. Get off the plane, collect our luggage, someone calls the hire car company and they pick us up within minutes. Easy. If only all our flights were like that. Now, if Mokulele airways would install seat back TVs, it would be perfect.