HNL's Low Ratings

Discussion in 'HNL/KOA/OGG/LIH/MKK/LNY | Hawaii Regional Airports' started by HiIslands, Feb 19, 2015.  |  Print Topic

  1. HiIslands
    Original Member

    HiIslands Silver Member

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    Honolulu International Airport receives just barely passing grades among travelers as this article describes:

    http://www.civilbeat.com/2015/02/asia-matters-trouble-at-the-honolulu-airport-and-some-modest-fixes/

    But in light of the airports problems, the fixes mentioned in the article are just bandaids on serious wounds.

    Some of the changes I would make:
    -Replace the antiquated and unpleasant Wiki-Wiki shuttle with some sort of 21st century people moving technology.
    -Brighten and modernize the decor, including replacing the stained and sagging ceilings and redecorating the dark, dingy main corridors.
    -Make a spur of the light rail system currently under construction serve HNL
    -Make the grounds of the airport less scary at night by improving lighting (that actually works).
    -Add restaurants to the gate areas that serve more than just snacks and fast food.

    From your experiences, what would you do to improve HNL?
     
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  2. uggboy
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    uggboy Gold Member

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    Good points, sounds like that HNL needs a brand new airport to begin with, plus 21st century new infrastructure, ie. the light rail system, and yes, I'm a big supporter of healthy real food at airports too. Cheers.
     
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  3. GinNYC

    GinNYC New Member

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    Ditto^^^
     
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  4. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    Let's face it, the wiki wiki sucks on all levels, especially the way they pack it like a sardine can after your international arrival in the Diamond Head wing. (They don't have to pack it that tight, yet the employees seem to want to do it that way every single time as they set up their human gauntlet to make sure you don't escape from your 2nd floor arrival to the third floor level where the wiki wiki eventually shows up with one 2-half-car bus for a full 747.)

    When arriving i/i with a connection in the Diamond Head wing, the door-keeper/gate-keeper asks for your flight info, and if you ask them any question as with when is the next shuttle arriving, they can't even tell you that. If you do decide to wait for it they might decide that they will also drop passengers off on the other (out of the way) wings on your slow diesel belching ride on the way to the Diamond Head wing.

    It sucks on so so many levels no matter how you look at it.

    And this is the new and improved version of it, which they seem to be very proud about.

    Let's not even start on the 60's infrastructure and building at the airport

    -David
     
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  5. William JLP

    William JLP Gold Member

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    The garden by the downstairs lounges is nice....the rest of it.... well, it's not EWR.
     
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  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Leaving HNL on United has always been a depressing end to a vacation. Not because of United, but because of the facilities they operate out of.

    I guess the state of Hawaii probably has little financial incentive to invest a lot of money into the facilities as I don't think it's driving away tourists.

    But it is a shame...
     
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  7. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    It's not the state, it's the airports division of the State DOT, which is an autonomous agency that answers to nobody.

    They are building a new terminal for Hawaiian airlines, relocating rental car facilities into a new garage requiring two temporary buildings that will cost $7M each and will be torn down after what they say is the 4 year construction period. In order to build the new Hawaiian airlines terminal, they first have to build a new commuter terminal then tear down the existing one. All of those projects are behind schedule and over budget. For Hawaiian's international arrivals, I wonder how they will shuttle the people over to Immigration and Customs? Right now, I think their international flights arrive at the wing that has the new secure walkway to immigration, but if their intent is to consolidate all of Hawaiian's flights at their new terminal ...

    On Maui, they are building a new road to the airport to get all the traffic off of Dairy Road (a joint project with the State DOT highways division, this is actually a good project) and the ridiculous rental car facility which they say they have to do in order to expand the runways so they don't have to close OGG in order to rebuild the runways. Remember that? And that project includes some sort of ridiculous people mover between the mutli-story rental car facility and the main terminal.

    The airports division claims that they aren't using "taxpayer money" to fund these projects, that it all comes from user fees. (thus justifying bigger and more projects, and higher and higher fees and rental car taxes, parking charges, etc.)
     
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  8. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I will challenge you to leave HNL with US Airways then. That will make you appreciate United incredibly :)

    There's no lounge, and the employees don't show up until the middle of the night, since their flights don't leave until like 11pm. So if you have luggage you can't get in the terminal because there's nobody around to check your bag or even the agriculture inspection, and you end up sitting around outside until they show up.

    Then you have a 30 mile walk to the 30 gates where they leave from.
     
  9. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    When I first landed at HNL a few years back. I was like...what?

    HNL can be easily compared to LGA if we're agreeing with Biden's comments on LGA being a third world airport. In fact, I'd probably put LGA as a better airport than HNL.

    There's just something with that airport, not once had I been able to use the lounges at HNL because of my flight schedule. Because I usually fly to SEA/YVR/BLI, the flights are mostly red eyes, and like viguera said, the attendants don't come to the check-in counter until pretty late.

    Thankfully hotels would store your luggage for the rest of the day, but that means making an extra trip back to the hotel and to the airport upon check-in time.

    Lots to improve for HNL, IMO. I agree with all the points made by OP.

    Update: I was just reading that article link in OP's post, and I don't think it's reasonable to compare HNL to any Asian airport. (Especially SIN).
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
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  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    But it is those Asian airports that many Asian visitors are familiar with or coming from when they arrive at HNL. So naturally *they* will make that comparison.
     
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  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Ouch!
     
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  12. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    That is true since most of the flights there are from Japan. There is definitely a lot of room for improvement.
     
  13. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    My first trip to HNL a few years back and I didn't know that they weren't staffed.

    Went to the airport, no one there. wandered around for a while, nada. Okay, cab back to hotel it is.

    3-2.5 Hours before flight, arrived back at airport. Still no one there. :rolleyes:
     
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  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    And let me guess, your hotel wasn't particularly close, right? (The only "airport hotel" is still the dingy Best Western, right?)
     
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  15. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    Yeah about a 40 min drive away IIRC.
     
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  16. LIH Prem
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    LIH Prem Gold Member

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    In 10 years or so you'll be able to take the train to Ala Moana. hahaha.

    That project is currently projected at $900M over budget. (they blame the overage on everybody else, go figure.)

    http://www.honolulutransit.org/

    The Diamond head wing at HNL is actually pretty nice for what it is. What is it? Basically a 1960's/1970's airport. The open air feel of the airport is pretty nice. Most visitors like that part of it.

    The main problem with it is that there's no sterile corridor there for international arrivals. It's too bad they can't reserve gates on the wing with the new sterile corridor for international arrivals. That would go a long way towards alleviating that problem. Otherwise the alternative to the wiki wiki would be to take stairs down to buses on the tarmac which is worse. At least with the wiki wiki there's no stairs until you get to the wiki wiki and if you are disabled you find that they have to bring a special van over for you because even the new wiki wikis have stairs and there's no luggage racks because those would take space away from the sardine-can experience.

    I believe the literal translation of "wiki wiki" is "fast fast". It's anything but fast. :)

    -David
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
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  17. avflyer
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    avflyer Silver Member

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    Although I completely agree that HNL (and all other Hawaiian airports) are hovels, the baggage checking thing is specious. Most airlines will no allow bags to be checked until four hours until flight time.
     
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  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    The problem with HNL, though, is that there is nothing to do outside security. Is there even a single restaurant? I have a hard time picturing even a comfortable seating area.
     
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  19. Dublin_rfk

    Dublin_rfk Gold Member

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    A very simple and low cost bypass to the wiki wiki would be to have a dedicated INT arrivals area. They would dis-embark passengers, unload baggage and cargo, them tow the empty to it's departure gate. Fixing / replacing the wiki wiki will take an outrageous amount of dollars, take multiple times the promised amount, and require replacement before it is complete.
     
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  20. Sammich

    Sammich Gold Member

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    There's a small bar out of that whole stretch of departure area last I visited, but that's it.
     
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  21. flynhwn

    flynhwn Silver Member

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    The airport is under going major renovations.
    The check-in lobbies are almost completed.
    The runway taxi area is currently under construction.
    The commuter terminal will be relocated on the Diamondhead side of the airport.
    The construction of the commuter terminal was delayed when Ellison purchased Aloha Island Air and wanted some design changes.
    The Hawaiian inter-island terminal will then be extended to where the current commuter terminal is making a new wing to the airport.
    All Hawaiian flights will be moved to this wing giving more space and access to the current international wing.
    As for the rail system, you will not be able to take it to Waikiki. It will end at Ala Moana Center.
     
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  22. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    A good point! It's likely that the average tourist to Hawaii spends as much time at the airport as they do inside their hotel rooms!
     
  23. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    That's about the same as in the "mainland".
     
  24. Newscience

    Newscience Gold Member

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    That sounds like my experience last year in IST! :D
     

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