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We are taking the first real vacation that both of us have had in….well, years. We wanted to go somewhere reasonably far away and warm to get away from the cold and snow of Salt Lake City. So when an option came up for lodging at a friends property on the island of Hawaii, we grabbed the opportunity as it was away from the tourist hell that makes much of Hawaii so unpalatable. Furthermore, the big island is more like what Hawaii historically has been like compared with some of the more popular tourist destinations like Oahu and we can combine it with lots of outdoor activities.

Things did not start off the best with Delta changing our flight, prompting us to have to frantically reschedule some of our activities reservations. In fact, we were fairly seriously inconvenienced to the tune of a few hundred dollars. Furthermore, Delta is pushing more and more of their customers to go to the Internet site only to make arrangements, even for first class. So, when THEY changed our arrangements, we had to find out by ourselves that the changes were made. Delta did not bother to call us and then I had to spend an hour on the phone before being told that I had to make all of the changes on the their website.

The flight itself from SLC to KOA was pretty smooth, although flying first class is simply not what it used to be. Delta has started a direct flight to Kona now which was terribly convenient given that one no longer has to fly to Honolulu and then take a shuttle flight to Kona. However, the first class cabin of the Delta 767-400 was looking a little worn and dingy. The in-flight entertainment gave you nowhere near the options that even international *coach* class on Qantas provides. The food consisted of a simple but tasty sandwich wrap, but bad tasting coffee and most importantly, the seats were mediocre at best with limited recline (my seat reclined even less than the other first class seats), the footrests would not stay up and kept falling on my feet, the head-rests would not maintain their form and thus would not support your head when trying to sleep, and the seat width itself was perhaps a half an inch wider than a coach seat with lots of wasted forms on the sides and underneath the seats limiting the amount of carry-on baggage you can fit under a seat. All of that complaining aside, they did have an Empower outlet so I could get some work done on the plane and the flight crew was polite and professional. I am quite sure that there are serious concerns about Delta’s viability from the employees given the current restructuring problems and pilots threatened strike, so I am hopeful that Delta can turn the company around and start focusing on the customer again.

The flight was about six hours. It left around noon and arrived Hawaii local time at about 4:30 pm giving us time to pick up the rental car from National where we got a rockin deal on our vehicle and made the drive North to have dinner at Cafe Pesto in Kawaihae where we gorged ourselves on a pretty nice meal before driving around the island to our lodgings.

Snorkeling and the telescopes of Mauna Kea are tomorrow…

Categories: Travel.

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