On the Ground: I spent a few days in Honolulu on business and, like many travelers, extended my trip for a little R&R on the neighboring islands. This trip, I was heading to Maui for the first time. Honolulu Airport, the major hub for airlines into the islands, lies just 20 minutes from downtown Waikiki. Hawaiian Airlines’ interisland connections allow travelers to experience every island easily, with more than 20 flights per day out of HNL for a convenient price. Check-in and TSA screening were busy but moved quickly, and I was headed to the Plumeria Lounge in the Interisland Terminal within 10 minutes.
The Plumeria Lounge is reserved for international businessand all first-class passengers and Pualani platinum members but is accessible to others for a modest fee. The Plumeria Lounge includes everything you could ask for in a business-class lounge: lots of seating; complimentary WiFi; a sleek, modern design; and aloha hospitality. Mai tais, local beers and juices are offered along with light snacks, which I enjoyed while taking care of last-minute emails before my weekend. My gate was just a short breezeway away from the lounge, and I headed there a few minutes before pre-boarding.
Pre-Flight: Boarding my mid-afternoon flight was quick, and our flight attendant for our first-class cabin was friendly and attentive. We were offered guava juice, Champagne or mai tais before takeoff along with macadamia nuts. We took off on time and started the short, 41-minute gate-to-gate hop to Maui.
In-Flight: The Boeing 717 is a perfect fit for the interisland hops, as it seats 128 passengers and is meant for high volume and lower altitudes. First class includes only eight seats with 37-inch pitch, comparable to a plush premium-economy seat with plenty of room. The actual flight time to Maui is only about 25 minutes and thus there was no meal service, but attendants quickly topped off refreshments. Since we never reached cruising altitude, the up-close views of the islands were a marvel to see from both sides of the aircraft. The captain asked passengers to keep the shades open and gave a guided tour as we flew over and around islands, volcanoes and other landmarks. Before we knew it, we were landing at Maui and swiftly disembarked.
OGG is still a tiny airport with a true island feel, but the infrastructure is growing to help passengers prepare before heading to either side of the island, including a Target and a Starbucks. The island has many beaches to explore, and the Road to Hana is a must for crossing the island, so I recommend renting a car for your trip. Hawaiian Airlines offers bundle packages for some extra savings.
◆ Hawaiian Airlines’ interisland routes give passengers more than 70 options to all the islands, making it easier to hop around.
◆ Hawaiian Airlines’ flight attendants and gate agents embody the aloha spirit and are ready to help with any issues or offer ideas and advice on island hot spots.
◆ Hawaiian Airlines’ new firstclass, lie-flat seats and nonstop service from the United States mainland make it easier than ever to get to Hawai’i, especially from the East Coast.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Swiss-Belhotel International boasts an impressive portfolio throughout 22 countries, including 10 ASEAN member countries. This growth is continuing with the group’s new plans to debut four properties in Thailand.