Sunday, August 6, 2017

Hawaii Vacation - Day 15: Maui Tropical Plantation, Stuck at the Airport!

The day of our departure had arrived. We had one last breakfast on our patio. We have been having fresh Hawaiian fruits every day, and on this day we cleaned up the remaining papaya, mango, pineapple, and lilikoi we had, as well as Hawaiian banana bread.

And then it was time to leave our condo. We had a few hours before having to go to the airport, and decided to spend our remaining time visiting the Maui Tropical Plantation.

We took the tram tour that took us through the grounds of the plantation, and showcased a variety of native Hawaiian plants, tropical fruits, and fields of row crops.

We could see the nearby valleys.

We saw a number of tropical fruits including banana.

Kai's favorite part was when we stopped and our guide showed us how to husk a coconut.

In the next photo Kai is holding a coconut where a new tree is already starting to sprout.

And here is a short coconut tree.

Afterward, we had lunch at the plantation. It was yet another occasion to eat outside in a beautiful setting.

My wife had kampachi (fish) while Kai and I had Hawaiian tacos (pork with a pineapple salsa).

We had our last taste of fresh Hawaiian pineapple - and by the way, there is no comparison in taste to the pineapples grown in Hawaii and the ones sold in the stores back home (that are not from Hawaii).

On our way to the airport, we saw Haleakala. During most of our week in Maui, the top of the volcano was shrouded in clouds but we had a good view on this last day.

We were sad to have to leave Hawaii, but not happy when, after getting in line to board, they announced that our flight was delayed due to mechanical problems.

As the wait grew longer, Kai started to get upset, remembering the horrible experience we had with United last fall. He kept badmouthing United while I tried to keep him calm by explaining that mechanical problems can happen with any airline.

United kept pushing back the departure time. When they announced that they were waiting for a part to arrive from Honolulu in two hours, and then it would take two hours to install it, we went to have dinner.

Kai was happy with his chicken wings.

Just as we were done with dinner, we got a text saying that the flight had been rescheduled to 11am the next day. We rushed to the gate to learn more.

It turned out that the time needed to get and replace the broken part took so long that the flight crew was no longer able to fly that night.

We got into line to get a voucher for a room for the night, and to learn more.

After awhile they announced that they had only 11 rooms available, and there were many more families than that ahead of us in line. I checked websites but the only rooms I could find were well over $500, plus we would have to take expensive cabs to get there. We decided to stay at the airport.

I waited in line for three hours to learn more. I had heard that the airport normally doesn't permit overnight visitors and we might get forced outside. Also, we had not been told of any compensation for our troubles, or even been given dining vouchers. Communications from the airline was nonexistent. I heard from other passengers that the crew that flew our plane into Maui had discovered the malfunction and radioed it in three hours before they landed, but the part was not ordered until our crew was doing their final checks while our boarding process was beginning. So, they could have gotten the part much sooner.

In the three hours I waited, the line barely moved. We received no further news. I don't fault United for the original mechanical problem, but how they dealt with it and the lack of communications and service provided to their customers was terrible.

My wife and son were anxious to just try to get some sleep so I finally decided to get out of line and we went to a quieter spot in the airport where we could lay down.

We got some sleep, but these airport chairs are not made for a good nights sleep. And at 5am, the loudspeaker announces the time every half hour so it was hard to sleep after that.

Well, at least that meant that we got to see one last (hopefully) Hawaiian sunrise.

As well as a clear view of Haleakala (through the dirty airport windows).

Kai was very angry last night, as he kept berating me for choosing United. (I did because they offer the only nonstop flight to Chicago from Maui). This morning, his anger seems to have diminished. He is currently looking up customer complaints for United on his phone, as well as funny videos mocking United's customer service.

It is still three hours until our scheduled flight time. We are hoping that there will be no further difficulties. As it is, we will not get to our house until well after midnight.

And no word on whether there will be any compensation. I am guessing that like last time, I will have to write a complaint letter, then will get a cursory form letter back with only a minimal credit toward a future flight.

Wish us luck on getting home!


  1. United has a monopoly for certain routes, that is why they simply don't care. Sometimes I simply cannot avoid using them, but given a choice, I fly others.

    I am sorry to hear about the horendous treatment. The worst thing is how it taints memories.

    Well, before the airport, all of you had a fun time. I am in complete agreement with you on the pineapples. It also makes a difference as to what year crop it is. First year crop is the best for eating fresh. They use the later year crops for canned.

    Well, absent the flight home, you had a super vacation. You will be remembering it for many years to come.

    1. Shiroi, it has been a wonderful vacation. Kai even told us that he is sad about leaving Hawaii, and he has never said anything like that for previous vacations.

      We just learned of a further delay. United had all night to ensure the plane would be ready for an 11 am departure but are now saying they need to "download software." Now not getting home before 3 am.


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