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My daughter and I set out on an adventure to Kauai together. This all started thanks to a great deal last year on Icelandair miles that could be redeemed for first class on Alaska Airlines to Hawaii for a little over $300 for each round trip ticket.
The catch is you had to get to a city where Alaska flies in order to make the deal work. We decided to book direct flights from San Jose to Kauai and booked our positioning flights to San Jose separately. Usually I am very opposed to connecting flights when non-stops are available, but there is no way to get from Houston to Kauai without a connection somewhere, so breaking the trip up on the West Coast seemed like a pretty good idea to me.
Everything was booked and then a couple months before departure we got notice of a schedule change. There was no longer a direct flight from San Jose to Kauai on the day we were traveling, so we would now have to leave very early in the morning (6:30 AM) and fly to Seattle and then on to Kauai. I’m not an expert in geography, but even I know going to Seattle from San Jose means we were heading away from Hawaii, and lengthening the travel day by several hours. I couldn’t really adjust the days of my trip since positioning flights had already been booked with a different airline, so we were more or less stuck with this change. This crummy change.
When I checked into our United positioning flights to San Jose, I saw an option to “same day change” and take a later flight. We were already having to overnight in San Jose, but I could trade our early morning non-stop Houston to San Jose flight for a later departure, albeit one that had a connection. Since we had to have an early departure from San Jose the following day, I wanted to avoid two very early mornings in a row. If you are playing along at home, this means we were now up to four flights, alone, with a three year old, to get to paradise, A.K.A., Kauai.
I’d be a liar if I said I was happy with that plan. I was good with the original plan of one flight to the West Coast and then a flight on to Hawaii, but this seemed crazy. So crazy that I seriously considered scrapping and/or re-booking the whole thing a few days before the trip. However, that would have cost a huge amount and ultimately I decided we were tough enough to make it work. Or at least I sure hoped we were.
So, how did it all work out? Here’s a play-by-play of what it is really like, the good, bad, and whiny. 😉
Excited and ready with toys for the first of four flights on our trip to Ha-why-aaaaaah as she proclaimed over and over with adorable excitement.
Cat nap on the first flight to LAX. Since we went sans car seat, the nap wasn’t too comfortable and didn’t last long. The flight was easy-peasy though.
Monday 4:00PM (6 Central)
Getting re-hydrated and then sleepy in the LAX United Club while waiting for our second flight of the day to San Jose.
Monday 7:30 PM (9:30 Central)
Eating dinner at the Hyatt Place San Jose. The food was edible, but the service was great. Very friendly staff helped keep our spirits up. Very noisy wall unit air conditioner helped keep us up half the night.
Monday 8:00 PM (10:00 Central)
I try to check in online for our 6:30AM Alaska Airlines flight and get an error message. I call Alaska and they say after the schedule change Icelandair never re-issued the tickets. Icelandair is closed until 12AM, so we can’t call them. Alaska says they can’t do anything even though they show us having tickets and seat assignments. This makes little sense to me, but I email Icelandair and go to bed knowing we have a problem waiting for us in the morning.. I hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
We arrive at the airport and just keep our fingers crossed everything works. The agent typed on her keyboard a little longer than normal, but I don’t mention a problem, and neither does she. We have boarding passes!
Fish tanks. Thank goodness for fish tanks. It’s too early for all this.
Fresh fruit smoothie and oat bar for breakfast. Attempting to counteract the garbage food eaten yesterday.
Boarded our flight to Seattle and passed out almost instantly.
No car seat again equals uncomfortable napping and again awake. I’m holding my breath she doesn’t completely lose it.
Mama, can I please watch Star Wars? Yes, yes, yes. Heck, I’d build you a light saber if you asked at this point. Please stay happy and don’t turn to the dark side. I know it is calling you!
After working laps around the N gates in Seattle to burn off some energy my kiddo decides it is time to make a break for it! After being threatened with the loss of all Star Wars toys from now until forever we reunite and board our fourth, and final, flight to Lihue, Kauai.
The digi-players were passed out and the little exhausted one is still happy. She has “read” the Alaska Airlines magazine cover to cover and picked out all the photos of Hawaii. I think seeing the “end game” is helping her keep it together as well as she is!
Lunch is done, the toys have all been played with, and it is lights out for a solid hour and a half.
Ice cream on a plane, ice cream on a plane. It doesn’t get any better. All future flights without ice cream will be an utter disappointment.
Tuesday 5:00PM (2PM Hawaii time)
We land, get a rental car, fight with the nasty car seat, drive to the hotel, check-in, have 18 meltdowns, including a fit on the floor at the check-in counter, and the happy travel mojo has 100% worn off. I’m still super proud of her for hanging in there this long. The room isn’t quite ready, we are tired, and we both make grumpy faces. Hers is 100% real. Mine is 98% real.
Oh wait, we can swim?! Yippee!
Tuesday just before bed….
We made it. We played, we swam, we saw huge waves, and then we rested. As always, it is worth it. Though next time we are taking a more direct route!