Hawaii Mom Blog: Island Air's Inaugural Honolulu to Kona Flight

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June 15, 2016

Island Air's Inaugural Honolulu to Kona Flight

Manawanui
My first experience on Island Air was just about 2 1/2 years ago.

I was very impressed with our experience on the airline, so I was really excited when I received an invitation for the inaugural HNL-KOA flight, which took place yesterday.

When I arrived at the Honolulu Commuter Terminal to check-in for my flight, there was no line at the Island Air counter.  In just a couple of minutes I was on my way to the security screening checkpoint.

The line to get through security was the same as at the Island Air check-in counter - non-existent!

After breezing through security, I immediately noticed all of the charging stations throughout the terminal, which weren't there the last time I flew on Island Air.

Charging station
At the gates you'll also find free Wi-Fi, newspaper, and coffee!

Free Wi-Fi
Free newspaper
Free coffee
After a quick and efficient boarding process onto the 64-seat ATR 72 Turboprop plane, guests were offered MauiGrown Coffee, Pass-O-Guava Punch, or bottled water shortly after take-off.

Bottled water
We even received a special treat for the inaugural - Mrs. Barry's Kona Cookies!

Mrs. Barry's Kona Cookies to celebrate the inaugural
Passengers are not allowed to use smartphones (even in airplane mode), but they can spend their time reading the Kikaha in-flight magazine (I couldn't stop reading all of the great articles!).  They will also love gazing out the windows, as the aircraft flies at lower altitudes, providing much better views of the islands.
In-flight Magazine
Upon arrival in Kona, passengers were greeted with lei, refreshments, and entertainment.

Aloha!

Lei greeting

Breakfast bentos and refreshments courtesy Big Island Visitors Bureau
Halau Hula Ka No`eau
An Official Program began, during which time honored guests spoke of the need of the service between Honolulu and Kona.  This new flight option provides family members a way to come together, no matter what the occasion.

After the Official Program, we went to visit the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA).

NELHA is
home to HOST and serves as a business incubator, research facility, and economic development agency. It offers the opportunity for organizations using sea water, sunshine, and ingenuity to perform research, engage in conservation and education activities, and produce sustainable commercial products.
NELHA Gateway
We sat in on a very intriguing presentation about the businesses that NELHA supports - everything from deep sea water to pharmaceuticals.  We even had a chance to tour Kampachi Farms and Kona Cold Lobster (for tour information, click here).

After the NELHA tour, we headed back to the airport.  The security line at Kona was a bit longer than at Honolulu (we waited about 10 to 15 minutes), but the boarding process still went smoothly.

What was very obvious to me at the airports, during the flights, and at the opening ceremony was the focus on `ohana (family).  The pride and respect the employees displayed not only for their jobs, but towards each other and the passengers, was easily perceived.  They are one big `ohana, and they extend their aloha so passengers can feel a part of the `ohana as well.

Some of the Island Air `Ohana
Island Air even launched Kupuna and Keiki fares earlier this year, because that is the core of what they are passionate about - `ohana.


Boarding Ho`olauna
Yes, Island Air may be a small airline, with just over 250 employees and a fleet of just five aircraft, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in aloha and service.
Mahalo Island Air (with @the96815 and @insta_jan)!
Island Air now offers five daily round-trip flights between Honolulu and Kona, as well as flights to Lihue and Kahului from Honolulu.  To check fares, visit IslandAir.com.

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