Date: June 29, 2017
Flight No.: HA545
Route: Kahului to Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye
Airline: Hawaiian Airlines
Type: Boeing 717-200
The final flight of my island-hopping day in Hawaii was from Kahului back to Honolulu – and the airline of choice was Hawaiian Airlines. While I have flown on a 717 about 10 years ago, back when Spanair was still in business, I was excited to have a chance to fly on the relatively rare type again.
I booked the flight less than a week before taking it for 71 dollars on Hawaiian’s website. Interestingly, when doing the booking, there was an option to choose profile picture from what I believe was a selection of Hawaiian flora and fauna. While it was just a gimmick with no real purpose, I played along and selected a sea turtle…
An Early Check-In & A Spotting Session at Kahului
On the day of departure, after arriving back in Kahului from Molokai, I went straight from the commuter terminal to the main one where all Hawaiian Airlines flights depart from.
It was still more than four hours before my flight back to Honolulu. However, as I wanted to spend the time spotting from airside, I checked-in at one of the automated check-in machines and headed through the security.
There, I spent a couple of hours spotting from a quiet area near gate 17. As the departure time started approaching, I headed towards gate 20 where my flight, HA545, was scheduled to depart from.
About 40 minutes before the scheduled departure time of 6:57PM, an announcement was made that the flight would be about 15 minutes behind schedule. Given that I was enjoying photographing and watching aircraft through the windows, I did not mind it at all.
Boarding Hawaiian Airlines Flight 545
At 6:44PM, a Hawaiian Airlines 717 registered N484HA landed and taxied to gate 20 where it stopped at 6:48PM. In less than 20 minute, the passengers disembarked and the aircraft was ready for us to start boarding.
First, at 7:04PM, zones 1 and 2 – including first class passengers – were called to board. Then, three minutes later, general boarding followed, and so I got into the fairly long queue caused by the almost 100% load factor.
Once I got onboard, after welcoming me, the purser gave me a very important mission:
“The bins on this side [points to the left], rows 5, 6, 7, and 8, can you please put them down for me?”
After listening to my instructions, I smiled, nodded, headed down the aisle, performed my 15 seconds of cabin crew duty, and sat down in my left-hand side window seat.
The seats were covered in a fairly unique turquoise color leather. They were without the ability to recline, and the armrests between the seats where the smallest ones I’ve experienced to date. Also, the tray table was very small. All in all, however, it was more than enough for the very short hop.
Departing Kahului Onboard a Hawaiian Airlines 717
With the overhead bins closed and everyone in their seats, the cabin crew closed the door at 7:18PM, and performed a manual safety demonstration four minutes later – just as the push back started.
At that point, I was so tired that I fell asleep, only to wake up when we were already as high as the clouds. And I definitely woke-up to a view worth seeing…
When I woke up, the cabin crew was already a couple of rows behind me with their drink service. However, as one of the crew was walking back to the front, he offered me a drink – a 10% “passion-orange nectar.”
Landing at Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye Airport
Shortly after I finished my drink, at 7:42PM, we started descending towards Honolulu.
As there was still some time left, I took the opportunity to look into the seat pocket. Besides the usual safety card, waste bag, and an in-flight magazine, I was surprised to also find there a separate Japanese version of the in-flight magazine.
Just seven minutes later, at 7:49PM, we were low enough to lower the landing gear, and at 7:52PM, we landed on Honolulu airport’s runway 04R.
During the eight minute taxi to the terminal, the cabin crew took the opportunity to promote a Hawaiian Airlines credit card.
“Usually you get 35 thousand miles sign-up bonus which is enough for a one-way flight. If you sign-up using the onboard form, though, you will get 50 thousand miles. That’s the magic number! Because now, you can have a roundtrip!”
With the advertisement over, at exactly 8PM – 26 minutes beyond schedule – we parked at Honolulu airport’s terminal. I got off the Hawaiian Airlines 717, and headed out towards the luggage claim where I called my hotel shuttle to get some rest before leaving Hawaii the next day.