20 March 2014

‘Ohana's "Lāna‘i Celebration"

This morning, ‘Ohana by Hawaiian invited a few members of the niche market media and local travel industry social media influencers on a day trip to Lāna‘i. We gathered at Gate 49 in the Inter-Island Terminal to board N804HC "Holo Kaomi". Among those accompanying us on the trip were Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Mark Dunkerley, ‘Ohana by Hawaiianʻs Managing Director Hadden Watt, livery designer Sig Zane and family, Maui Senator J. Kalani English, and the Hawaiian Airlines Serenaders. 

We boarded at around 0910HST, I was seated in seat 2A, which is also the exit row on an ATR42. With everyone seated, we pushed back seven minutes ahead of departure time. After three Hawaiian Airlines take off and landings ahead of us, it was our turn to depart from Runway 8L. Our flight to Lāna‘i reached an altitude of FL070 at 295kts. The 18-minute flight was smooth, as was the landing on LNYʻs Runway 3. We parked at Gate 3, and deplaned to the main terminal (above). The weather at the airport was sunny and cool (70ºF / 21ºC), with a nice breeze blowing. We boarded Mercedes Sprinter vans from the Four Seasons Lāna‘i at Manele Bay to take us to the Lāna‘i Senior Center in Lāna‘i City where the celebration would take place.

The celebration was held with some of the kupuna (elder citizens) of Lāna‘i City. Members of the Hawaiian Airlines team that traveled with us visited with the "aunties and uncles" (a common term of endearment for older local residents) as the Hawaiian Airlines Serenaders and Dancers prepared for their show. The show was similar to the pre-boarding celebrations when Hawaiian launches a new route. Mark Dunkerley led off the speeches, by thanking the residents of Lāna‘i for welcoming them back, as now they can seamlessly fly the Hawaiian Airlines route network from LNY. Hadden Watt spoke next, followed by Sig and Kuha‘o Zane (who talked about the livery), Senator J. Kalani English, and Maui County Council-member G. Riki Hokama. After a brief prayer in Hawaiian, a buffet lunch was served for everyone attending.

Our next venture was to the Four Seasons Lāna‘i at Manele Bay, where we would embark on a short hike to see Pu‘u Pehe (Sweetheart Rock). After getting settled, we began the hike from the pool area, then across Hulopo‘e Beach, then up to Pu‘u Pehe. We spent several minutes up there taking photographs, and a short break before heading back to the resort. We then boarded the Sprinter vans to take us back to LNY.

LNY is a quaint airport with three airlines serving it. It has four gates, but one large holding area. Once we all cleared TSA, it was a short wait before we boarded "Holo Kaomi" through Gate 3, to take us back home to HNL. We back-taxied down Runway 3 to the approach end to take-off, and got off the ground quickly, then making a 180º left turn to head back to HNL. The 21-minute flight was fairly smooth, flying at FL060 at 295kts. We landed on Runway 8L, and taxied back to Gate 49. That was a great day trip, and an incentive for future getaways to Lāna‘i!

HNL RareBirds extends a big mahalo to Mark Dunkerley and his staff at Hawaiian Airlines for hosting this trip and the activities!

No comments: