Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hawaii: Tuesday--Away We Go!

Grandma and Grandpa arrived Monday at noon. Sunshine figured out that this was for real.
We arrived at the Madison airport bright and early at 7:15 and were first in line. Good thing. There was a thunderstorm in Denver and they were holding our flight in Madison with the hope that a delay would give the weather time to clear in Denver. With only a 45 minute layover in Denver, that meant we'd miss our connection.

She got right to work rebooking us. Given the fact that there were 7 of us, this was no small task. She quickly rebooked us but when she went to confirm it, there were not 7 seats on the second flight. Next she worked to split our party. We had 3 adults (including 2 parents) so this wasn't a catastrophe. That didn't work either.
Photo by Pepper

Finally, she came up with us all taking our original flight to Denver, catching a flight to LAX and then connecting to Honlulu. This resulted in two two-hour layovers and an arrival time 5 hours later than we expected. At least we'd get there.
Photo by Pepper

It's all a blur, but I think we waited an extra hour to board our flight to Denver. This was Daisy and Pepper's first time flying. Banana Boy pretended he had never flown. For all practical purposes, he was right. I'm sure he doesn't remember the 42 hours he spent in the air when he was 1 1/2!

The rest of our flights were uneventful other than delays at each airport. In Denver, we landed just fine in the storms, but our next flight was delayed because our new aircraft hadn't arrived.

Photo by Pepper

Since there is no longer meal service on domestic flights, we had to bring our own. Fortunately, cheese and turkey are not a gel, nor can you use them to make explosives, so we were allowed to bring them in our carry-ons.

At LAX they had to remove a small bolt from the engine housing to insert a probe to inspect the engine before an over-water flight. In replacing the bolt, they stripped it. Fifteen minutes to replace the bolt, 45 minutes for paperwork and we were delayed another hour.

All the kids liked flying. Everyone, except Banana Boy, was too excited to sleep much on any of the flights, plus we had a cool entertainment system on our 3rd flight (albeit prone to crashing and rebooting) that kept everyone, uh, entertained.

We were originally supposed to arrive in Honolulu at 3 pm. We'd promised the kids we'd hit the beach once we got settled. And Auntie Sarah was planning to meet us at the airport.

All that, and a lei arrival, was shot by our new itinerary. We arrived to a dark Hawaii, no lei greeting, no airport shuttle.

Luckily for us, there was another family on our flight (which happened to become a different AIRLINE altogether in the rebooking) who had a lei greeting with our same company. We accosted that greeter who then went into a panic over our situation because she had no leis for us (at this point our bodies remember that it is 2:30 am in Wisconsin and we could care less about a lei. How about that airport shuttle????).

We finally managed to explain to her that we were supposed to have arrived 5 hours ago on a different airline and can we please get a ride to our hotel. Crabby other-family-arriving-on-the-correct-flight was not pleased with the delay. I suppose their bodies wanted to be in bed, too.

Greeter Lady got us all to baggage where we threw another kink into her plans/schedule by meeting Auntie Sarah, who was able to reshuffle HER plans and come later to the airport. Greeter Lady really had no time for a family reunion, and I'm sure she was wondering why the relatives didn't just drive us to the hotel (answer: 7 of us wouldn't fit in the extended-cab Ford Ranger)

Auntie Sarah brought us a life-saving gift of 2 dozen muffins which we ate for days--breakfast, lunch and entertainment for the kids as they fed them to the pigeons from our lanai (balcony).

Everyone's favorite pigeon, Mr. One-Leg (or something like that) He's also missing a few toes on the good foot, if you look closely. He sure loves muffin, though!

Finally Greeter Lady got us all herded onto the bus and then we waited a few more minutes while her assistant ran across 3 lanes of airport traffic (taxis and such, not planes) with our leis. We were too tired to take a picture of us getting them in the dark bus.

We all finally fell into bed about 9:30 or 2:30am our time. Everyone slept like a rock all night.
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