‘Aloha’ Paradise

“What is this? I thought you were at the airport! Leave Kauai already!”

Okay, okay. You’re right. So it’s Saturday, January 28, 7:30 PM and David, Eric, and I have boarded our flight from Lihue, Kauai to Honolulu. We land in Honolulu at 8:30 PM. From Honolulu we fly to Los Angeles – then Los Angeles to Salt Lake, and then from Salt Lake we have a 210-mile drive home to Idaho Falls. Pretty good planning, as our 6 1/2 hour-flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles is an ‘overnighter’ …

As we board our American Airlines flight from Honolulu to Los Angeles we pass through the first class section toward our seats in economy class. I notice several first class passengers, already reclined and sipping drinks, also have their necks ensconsed in u-shaped neck pillows – ‘Oh, that was smart’- I say to David. We strap ourselves into our seats. I have the window, but it’s dark anyway. My carry-on is shoved under the seat in front of me, but I am so jammed in there I can’t bend over to pick it up. The flight takes off. I notice a dearth of Airline attendants, maybe two, to serve this full plane of …. 240 passengers?

An attendant gets on the intercom, “We will have lights out this whole trip to enable passengers to sleep, and there will be no movie or drink service. (Oh, does that mean just food service?) Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened for the entire flight unless you use the lavatory at the back of the plane.”

Sure enough, that’s how it is. Lights out. Not one sip of food or liquid offered the entire flight. And I lost my water bottle in security (why didn’t I buy water after we passed through security? Oh, maybe that’s a moot point since I can’t get at my bag anyway…) Everyone is trying to go to sleep. I feel an immediate chill, but my flimsy, midnight-blue, polyester airline lap blanket has fallen from my lap to the floor by my left foot. I can’t bend down far enough to pick it up! I try to pin it with my feet and pull it up to grab it but I don’t have enough lateral or vertical space to pull that off easily, either. I think to snatch David’s blanket. He’s sound asleep beside me, so maybe he wouldn’t notice? Nah – I keep at the effort to retrieve mine and finally succeed.

But I can’t sleep. Not a wink, or so it feels for the next six hours. I keep adjusting the head rest. Is it too high? Too low? A couple of hours into the flight (okay, so maybe I slept a little) I end up with a major crook in my neck. I spend a good bit of time and energy deep massaging my neck ligaments to avoid the inevitable headache that’s sure to accompany my massive neck ache.

I (and nearly every other ‘economy’ passenger) remain affixed to my seat like a bent, molded, miniature plastic figure for six and a half hours. I have to pee mid way into our flight, but that’s way more of a hassle than it’s worth.

David snoozes beside me the entire trip. Finally as we approach for landing he wakes up. I rattle off my litany of complaints to him about the flight – my cotton mouth, my having to pee for 3 hours, the crook in my neck, my aching legs…

“Hey, Hasn’t American Airlines flied for bankruptcy?” I ask him (because he would know).

“Yes, it has”

“Well, no wonder!”

“Yeah, well they’ve probably cut back even more on their service to keep afloat during proceedings.”

“Or maybe to punish passengers for not keeping them in business?”

The plane lands and I’m sure my legs are suffering from the DVT’s (deep vein thrombosis) as I attempt to shake them alive so I can get off the plane.

We land in Los Angeles at 5:20 AM, catch our 6:20 AM flight to Salt Lake, and land there 9:15 AM- having lost (or is it gained?) two hours.

David, Eric and I are driving home now, the last 210 miles of our trek. We’re alongside the Wasatch Mountain Range north of Salt Lake –

Mild winter!

Into Idaho now…

BRRRRRR! Not as mild as we would prefer…

We pull into our driveway about 1:30 PM – Sunday. All told, the travel home from Paradise took about 18 hours. My neck is still not happy.

Eric had parked his Van in our driveway. He is anxious to hop in it now and drive on home.

WHAT? A flat tire???

It took me several days to recover – from jet lag, Economy Class Syndrome [www.airhealth.org ] and, well, the blahs.

I suppose it’s time to close my chapter on ‘Paradise’.

Behold the tree in our front yard. Took the picture today. For inspiration.

You’re right. I’ve seen Paradise, and that ain’t it.

That tree’s downright knarly. Need to rent a chain saw, climb up there, and hack off some of those dead limbs.


Yeah, we’ve got our lives back.


3 Responses to “‘Aloha’ Paradise”

  1. Rene Miller Says:

    Well that trip report makes the thought of never going anywhere much more appealing!

  2. dlc Says:

    Yeah. Thanks for not snatching my blanket. Sounds like my flight home was a lot sweeter than yours. Cattle car’s okay if you can sleep through it. Maybe you should have had a couple of more drinks at the airport lounge.

  3. acaraher Says:

    Finally…a part of the trip I can relate to. Nothing like watching everyone around you sleep while you wonder about blood clots forming in your calves.

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