Paradise Never Found - A Trip to Paradise-ish

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by Bay Pisco Shark, Feb 21, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    February was coming, and the AS MP Bank had 0 EQMs. This was not good. Alas, time to use one of the companion tickets - over the holiday weekend, no one needed to take a day off of work, and the OAK/SEA/HNL/SEA/OAK routing in F earns over 10K EQMs. 25% to MVPG, 50% to MVP, all in one trip. Booked, ticketed, and refundable should a change of heart (or a mental health clarity moment) take place. The other thing that almost caused a cancellation was finding an affordable place to stay for our projected 12 hour ground time.

    Sleep-in holiday weekend Sunday started with a 6 AM wake up alarm. 2 showers, pack bags, get the dog ready (not a service dog), out the door before 6:50. At the doggie place just after 7. At OAK parking before 7:30. The nude-o-scope awaited. Timely boarding, and timely departure. We were eventually treated to Alaska's special blend of pre-departure water, and then we were off. Before we were off, a friend who lives about a mile from home walked on board - once he saw us, it must have been a walk of shame all the way to Row 7. This friend has flown around the world in classes of opulent splendor and obscenely elegant lounges around the world And here, he was flying in AS Y.
    (To avoid a full day of shame, we did bring him into the Bored Room with us @SEA before his connecting flight in a different direction than ours.)

    After take-off, we had some very occasional light chop. The FA commenced service, and then the captain came on, saying that all the rides to SEA were bad at all altitudes, and he likely wouldn't take the seatbelt sign off the entire flight. After another couple of minutes of occasional light chop, he instructed the FAs to be seated. Several minutes later (after no more chop), the F service resumed, and the mimosas began.

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    Then, the granola with the magic spoon came. A slightly larger bowl of granola, a yogurt, and a banana would be a good breakfast for this route. Alas, just the granola, which is actually delicious.

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    I then took my own personal walk of shame to Row 7 to have a visit. Mind you, this was a very smooth flight, and the seatbelt sign went off after awhile and remained off until descent. A guy in Row 1 was having a near-emergency needing the lav (early in the flight) and given that the lav was locked for quite some time, he went up to unlock it himself.

    Finally, landing time, and we were off to the Bored Room. All 3 of us got a beverage, then just as we settled down, 2 of us had to say goodbye and go meet a friend for lunch. She picked us up at the upper level in the H Limo (she drives it herself as a humility reminder, even though she is a current fashion plate model in a widely-circulated magazine). We went to have a lunch, superior to the offerings at the airport, in the ID. After a nice lunch the H Limo brought us back to SEA. After a very
    short line with a very long wait, we were back in the Bored Room for a pre-HNL beverage. Given the impending pre-departure beverage very similar to the one I had at about 8:45 AM, I took one of the BR "to go" cups filled with ice, Diet Coke, and sugar-free Torani syrup. We also bought a bottle of wine @SEA for our hotel room, should we not find a place to have a drink upon arrival. (What, no drinks in Honolulu? More on this later)

    SEA boarding to HNL was an absolute cluster&%*#. I counted at least 25 people in front of us. The F cabin has 16 seats. Kids that were almost getting peach fuzz were pre-boarding with their parents. The gate agent didn't flinch - she let them all on. Contrast this to OAK several hours earlier, when the one preboard with a kid went to board, the gate agent asked how old the kid was, the lady said "3" and she reminded her, 2 and under, and sent her back. Yay. I wanted to give her a Gold certificate. We finally boarded, and indeed, water was served.

    I will preface the details by stating that we had an excellent crew. This was the kind of crew that makes flying a pleasure, even if what they serve isn't so special.

    A wine list was presented.

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    Ok, it wasn't presented as much as you stumble upon it in the magazine. For the life of me, I have no idea what the reviewer of the RADIUS was smoking when observing notes of "marshmallowy vanilla" in that wine.

    Some white wine came with a new snack mix. It is really tasty, in all 1/2 ounce of goodness per pack.

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  2. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    After a short while, a shower of snack mix arrived at the seat.

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    Then, the paltry salad arrived. Seriously, my dear Alaska Airlines, please spend 5 to 10 cents more per salad for some more lettuce. Otherwise, it was a tasty salad, but even the spoon was extremely upset by the pathetic portion. The roll was the standard single roll - one boarded per passenger.
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    Finally, the main course came - dried beef product with potatoes and broccolini. The side dishes were delicious. The beef was good only because there was so much meat left stuck in the teeth that it could have provided for a hearty breakfast.

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    Dessert was a foamy concoction with mango that was quite tasty.

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    The FA brought some extra cookies from the main cabin, which we took "to go." I was hoping we'd have the same crew the next day, but that was not to be. I watched In Time on the digeplayer, which reminded me of a modern Logan's Run. Well, sort of. No Carousel. So, the authorities have to mop up the bodies when the clock runs out. The player also had a bunch of worthwhile music.

    Now, as you may recall, it was a holiday weekend. When I checked out the usual suspects for a Waikiki room, they were either sold out, or starting in the $200s for the most basic of accomodations. ($225 or more for the Princess Kaiulani? Not so much.) So, it was the Best Western Plaza by the airport that I booked. As it was going to be $100+ more to stay in Waikiki, plus $90+ or so for a round-trip taxi, I thought $200 to go into town for a mai tai by the beach was a bit on the ridiculous side. I have never previously stayed at the Best Western Plaza hotel. The guest "quality" was widely varied. I have had BW top tier status for well over a year from a status match, right before I thought I was going to be staying at a BW somewhere, which never happened. Well, I hit BW paydirt with this stay, as we received as deluxe a suite as a BW probably ever had in the USA. Top floor, wet bar with barstools, kitchentte ... what, NO HOT TUB? How disappointing! Full-wall draperies with tropical print, that clashed in just that special Hawaiian BW way with the tropical print couch in front of it. Seriously, it was a decent room in an OK hotel, with a nice staff, only a few minutes from the airport.

    Now, as the airport restaurant closes at 9 (about our projected arrival time, although we arrived much earlier due to no headwind), I had scoped out places to eat and get a drink before we departed. It looked like the only bar within walking distance is Lisa's House. Oh my. If you take a trashy bar from Spokane and mix it with a trashy bar from El Paso, and make the drinks super-weak, you have Lisa's. They also appear to serve drunkfood, as there were people eating several varieties of fried and goopy things. We just had our single drink each and decided 'time to go - we've got wine in the room.' So, we stopped at Byron's for take out (24 hour drive-in) and brought some
    heartburn-inducing food back to the room. We had some of our SEA-purchased wine, and went to sleep.

    Before we knew it, both phone alarms went off along with the 4:30 AM wake up call. Shower, shower, and down to the shuttle. I heard the clerk the prior night tell another guest to come down early for the shuttle (every 30 minutes) because it fills up. 5:30 shuttle, we were checked in and down to the Delta club by 6:00. WHAT? It doesn't open
    until 6:30? What a load. Back up to the Harbucks, a cup of coffee each, and back down at 6:30 for our bagel in the lounge. Then, back up at 7:00 to board. AS often boards at T-45 or so, accordingly, we don't want the bins to fill, especially when seated in Row 1.

    Alaska Airlines should be embarrassed by their boarding sign @ HNL.

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    Please have someone literate en español proofread what you put out before you embarrass yourselves. Nevertheless, boarding was much more civilized than the prior afternoon.

    After a wait, the water arrived. Oh, my dear Alaska Airlines, please up your game and spend $3 more per flight and do a proper pre-departure beverage service.
     
  3. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Breakfast was uninspired, but perfectly acceptable.

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    For some of my inflight entertainment, I not only watched two movies (Gran Torino and Life As We Know it), but I got a coloring book and crayons. Oh fun!

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    As you can see, the poor blue guy is upset that there are NO SPECIAL MEALS, the green flight attendant has to shout at an unruly passenger "NO DRINKS FOR YOU" and the poor person in red in the back needs to pee but can't get up.

    Later, I had a mid-flight glass of white wine.

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    As I wasn't enjoying it much, I asked for red wine. I saw the FA get the Y bottle of wine to serve me - she had the corkscrew in her hand, saw the screwcap Y bottle, and poured that for me instead. I didn't say anything, although I should have. I suppose it could have tasted worse, but it was so cold you couldn't tell. It was colder than
    the white wine.

    As the winds were great TO HNL, the winds weren't so great TO SEA. Nevertheless, due to a prompt departure, we arrived pretty much ontime. It was back to the Bored Room for a short stay, where I was appalled to see someone grooming her "service dog" on the human furniture. I don't know if this bothered me more or less than previously seeing someone giving water to her dog in the BR beverage glasses. I told the concierge on the way out of the lounge.

    Finally, our plane to OAK was ready to board, at T-50. A non-descript pleasant flight back to OAK, the cheese plate was served,

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    along with a glass of wine, in a last-ditch attempt to taste the "marshmallowy vanilla." This did not occur.

    Early arrival, quick walk back to the car, picked up some dinner and the dog, and the luxury trip to paradise was over. Seriously - if you had told someone you just went to Hawaii in first class, and stayed in a one-bedroom suite with a wet bar on the top floor of the hotel, people might be jealous. What do people know? Paradise so close.
    Paradise so far. Once the miles post, 25% to MVPG 2013, and so it will be good,
    Amen,
    The End.
     
  4. SpecialK
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    Great report! :D

    Can someone explain that fork and spoon? :confused::)
     
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  5. kyunbit
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    kyunbit Silver Member

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    same question. How do you use that fork. It would be so inconvenient
     
  6. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    Powers of the mind get the distressed silverware to cooperate before eating.
     
  7. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Excellent report. Average photos.

    :p
     
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  8. Bay Pisco Shark
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    It is the best I can do, flying in Premera Clase :eek:
     
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  9. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    How about investing in a new camera.....? ;)
     
  10. Bay Pisco Shark
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    Bay Pisco Shark Gold Member

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    My mobile device might not be "da bomb" but it works well in austral lands named after silver.
     
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  11. HiIslands
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    HiIslands Silver Member

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    I enjoyed your trip report immensely-- since you have saved me from ever having (or wanting) to go inside Lisa's House. I drive by there frequently and always wondered....

    Also, you write well. Thanks!
     
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