Maui, Hawaii

Tag: flights

Frequently asked security questions

I thought it might be helpful to address some of your security questions. If you have any others you’d like me to address, or if you have first hand experience with any of these (and better answers), please let me know.

This post is not to scare you. Maui is a very safe place to visit. But, please use common sense, just as you would at home.

What do you do with your phone and keys when you go to the beach?
I love sunset at the beach!

Is it safe to just leave them with your towel? Honestly, don’t take anything of value to the beach. If you must bring your phone (I know, it doubles as our camera, book, etc), make sure someone stays with your stuff when you go in the water. Or, pick up a water proof case, either at home or at the ABC store. I know of people who have used ziploc bags to protect their phones when going paddle boarding. Would I? Probably not… If you are staying at one of our condos, we have keyless entry, so it’s just the car key you need to worry about.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the rental car?

Would you leave valuables in the car where you live? Probably not. If you must, maybe because you can’t check into the condo til 3 or 4pm or because you have a late flight and couldn’t get a late check-out, place everything in the trunk of the car and do not open the trunk to get things out (in case anyone is casing your vehicle). If you are renting a jeep, there is no trunk, everything is visible (and accessible if it’s a soft-top). In six years of living here, we haven’t had a vehicle break-in, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

A few years ago I wrote this post on ‘What to do about late check-out at your condo?‘ Have a read. Did you know, most flights to Canada and a surprising number of flights back to the mainland leave in the evening? Check-out at our condos is at 11 AM.

Is it safe to leave valuables in the condo?

Generally yes. But, know that there are others who by necessity have access to the condo. The owner, the property manager (in the case of our condos, we are the owner and property manager), the cleaning lady and the manager of the complex you are staying at (they need to have access in case of emergencies and for the quarterly pest-control treatments). If you are staying at our condos, we have personal safes for you to use (I have an override key should you forget the code or the battery randomly dies). Otherwise, I recommend just placing your valuables in a drawer or at least out of sight. It’s happened a few times where I’ve had to go into one of our ground-floor condos (with guest consent) to repair something, and seen the blinds wide open and laptops, ipads, phones and once even a wallet just laying out. When staying in a ground floor condo especially, please don’t do that. It’s asking for a break-in. At minimum close the blinds when you leave.

Is it safe to walk at night?

You may have noticed, it is really dark on Maui at night. Why is this? Power is super expensive here and street lighting isn’t cheap. On the plus side, it makes for some great star viewing. Generally the tourist areas especially are quite safe to be walking at night. But use common sense. I also strongly recommend taking a flashlight. A few years ago I didn’t see the edge of the sidewalk – ouch. I was walking with crutches for over a month.

All in all, Maui is a pretty safe place to be. But like most places, we also have drug and homeless problems and crimes of opportunity do happen. A little common sense will help you have a great vacation – I’d hate for you to have a negative experience because of something preventable.

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Westjet Sale and other ways to save!

Our Canadian guests have been taking a bit of a hit with the dollar exchange this year. However, the Canadian dollar has been moving up from its recent low of 69 cents, currently coming in at 77 cents. Yes, I know, it’s nowhere near the glory days from 2008 when we were boasting 1.15, but…

Here’s a chart of where the dollar has been the past few months – sorry, I can’t find the inverse chart. This one shows how many Canadian dollars you need to buy one US dollar.

us canada exchange

In addition to the great news of the dollar exchange rate improving, Westjet has a seat sale on – with rates from Vancouver to Kahului Maui (OGG) starting at $350 – Canadian that is, all taxes in. Perhaps that sweetens a Maui trip a little?

westjet sale
Westjet Seat sale

What are some other ways you can save? A big one is – book directly from the owner! VRBO/Homeaway recently implemented a guest service fee which ranges from 4-10% of the rental (which can amount to $90-$400/booking). Save the fee by contacting me directly through our website. Yes, you can still pay by credit card which offers you protections and gives you points.

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What’s new flying to Maui?

So what’s new flying to Maui? I’ve come across a couple newsworthy items in the past while:

Flying to Maui
Two questions: why did the rooster go to Kahului airport? And, is he pre-checked?
flying to Maui
Inter-island Hawaiian Airlines flight at HNL airport, waiting to fly to Maui
  • Air Canada (Rouge) appears to be offering direct flights from Vancouver to Maui in the summer! This is new and might explain why I was able to score flights on Westjet at a much more reasonable rate this year than in the past (gotta love competition)!
  • You can opt for smaller seats and less service (sigh)! Several US carriers are adding ‘economy minus’ or ‘basic economy’ sections to their planes – supposedly to compete better with the discount carriers? The good news is that a regular economy seat is now considered an upgrade! You are no longer sitting in ‘cattle class’. Or maybe you are. (While Delta already has this option, I don’t think they fly their planes to Kahului – yet).
  • A proposed federal law to set minimum airline seats was defeated.

I have to admit, I will not be taking airlines up on their smaller seat/less service option. At least not on flights to and from Hawaii!

What is your favorite airline to fly to Maui? My personal favorite is Hawaiian Airlines. Last year we had a great experienec with Alaska Airlines. The happy folks at Westjet make me smile, too. How about you?

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Westjet sale for our Canadian guests

I just got an email from Westjet announcing their 7 days of Black Friday flight deals….

Black Friday Sale

As per their announcement, over 500,000 seats on sale from $99-$399

Book by:        Nov 30, 2015
Travel from:  Now to April 30, 2016

For example, fly Vancouver – Kahului (Maui) December 9-19, 2015 for $384 (Canadian dollars) all taxes in! You know we have that sale at our Palms at Wailea condo, right?

Planning a Maui trip? Check it out!


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Glimpses of Molokai

When you fly from Maui to Oahu you pass Molokai, a beautiful long and narrow island known for the tallest sea cliffs (3000 ft). It is the 5th largest island in the Hawaiian archipelago and has a population of roughly 8000 (the first settlers arrived in approx 650 AD). Molokai together with Lanai, Kaho’olawe and Molokini (the latter two are uninhabited) is part of Maui County.

I’ve flown over Molokai a few times, once as part of a Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour (amazing!) and also on route to Oahu with Hawaiian Airlines. The past few times the pilot has flown around the Eastern end, but today he flew along the Southern part of the island and then on to Oahu.

Here are a few pictures from yesterday’s flight.

approaching the Western end of Molokai


looking back at the center of Molokai


approaching Oahu with its million+ population


one of the runways at Honolulu airport – loved the color of the water!
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Premium Economy seats

I came across an interesting article this morning – Is Premium Economy Worth the Extra Cost? It gives a comparison by airline of what is included in the premium economy fare. Some are as basic as it simply being more leg room, others include all sorts of other goodies (like free luggage, drinks etc).

How do you fly? Do you tough it out in ‘cattle class’ economy? Do you pay extra for the premium economy seat when you book or wait until check-in to see if there’s still seats available to upgrade? Are you one of the elite few who fly first class? (we’re all so jealous!)

Enjoy the read!


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Updated directions from Kahului Airport to the Highway to Kihei

As you may know, we’ve had a lot of road construction on Maui this past year. Dairy Road has become a bit more complicated with the opening of the first phase of Airport Access Road.
For now, I would advise to avoid Airport Access road when leaving the airport. It is currently difficult to turn onto the Hana Hwy (by Kmart) because
the turning lane is too short. It’s easier and less frustrating to just stay on
Dairy Road. Apparently the second stretch of Airport Road is scheduled to open in January 2016. That remains to be seen.


When leaving the Kahului Airport,
you are on the #380 Highway (aka Dairy Road). Stay in the left lane until you
have passed the Krispy Kreme intersection (do not turn onto #36A).
Continue on Dairy Road and follow
it through Kahului.
Due to some new road construction
past the fire hall the road will veer left to intersect with the new but not
complete Airport Access Road. Stay on Dairy Road which becomes Pakaula
Street it takes you to Home Depot, Walmart and Target. TURN RIGHT after Home Depot onto Ho’okele
Street. Drive past Target and take your SECOND LEFT where it connects with #311
(Mokulele Hwy) and head towards Kihei.
To take the traditional Kihei
turnoff at Kings Cathedral: Where Dairy Road veers left to intersect with the
new but not complete Airport Access Road, TURN RIGHT onto Airport Access Road and
then prepare to TURN LEFT at the next set of lights (#311 Mokulele Hwy or
Pu’unene Ave). A large church (Kings Cathedral) will be on the left corner. The
signs will direct you to turn left to go to Kihei.
Hope this helps!
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Westjet sale!

Canadian travelers! Are you planning a Maui trip?

Westjet is currently offering a 20% discount to Westjet Rewards members.

The Promo code is REW03, Coupon code LTDT7W1

Book your flights by August 20th, 2015 (9:59pm MT) for travel dates from August 18, 2015 – February 3, 2016.


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New Airport Access Road in Kahului now open!

Motorists trying to get from Kihei to Pa’ia have been dealing with construction and detours for the past year or so now.

Hansen Road (past the Sugar Mill) is closed, undergoing a much needed overhaul which includes widening and bike lanes. Traffic has been detoured past the new Target on the new road (Ho’okele Rd) going through a yet-to-be-built industrial park. This is a fun road to drive and connects with the Hana Hwy on the other end.

We’ve also watched a new Airport Access Road being built – it connects with Dairy Road and Pakaula Rd (the road that gets you to Walmart and Home Depot) by the Harley Davidson store. This road is being built in two phases – the first phase opened a few days ago, allowing you to bypass all the busyness of Dairy Road and connects behind Lowes etc directly to the Hana Hwy. At that point you need to turn right, then left onto Dairy Road to get to the airport.

Construction on Phase 2 of the Airport Access Road is underway, cutting across the land behind Kmart and Costco and eventually leading directly to Kahului Airport. I’m not sure when they plan on that phase being done, but for now there are three roads that lead to Hana Hwy, with the fourth (Hansen) due to re-open this winter sometime. This should help reduce traffic on Dairy Road which in the busy high season (winter) can move at a snail’s pace.

Pu’unene Hwy now connects to the Airport Access Road. The next set of lights (by the Harley Davidson intersection) connects to Dairy Road (turn left). It will take some getting used to.

the new Airport Access Road/Dairy Road intersection (photo from MauiNow)
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Alaska Airline’s cool seats

Alaska Airlines…. this airline has the past few years rated one of the top airlines in the US. So when I was booking a recent mainland trip, I thought – sure, let’s give them a try.

I booked the flights five months prior to our trip and got a great rate. As we got closer to our travel date, I realized I really didn’t want to suffer through a red-eye flight in economy and looked to upgrade to economy plus. I’ve done this when flying with Hawaiian Airlines, and the up-charge isn’t that much. Oh no! There was no upgrade option!
Okay, I scrunched up my face and thought, I will just look what the up-charge to first class seats would be. Not that I’ll spring for it, but I’ll ‘just look.’ The website didn’t give me the option to upgrade! What?? Was first class just sold out, or did I need to wait until check-in to upgrade? When I looked, it seemed there were still seats available for purchase in first class. I gave up – with the whole family flying, that wasn’t a viable option anyway. 
Is there really no economy plus? While the airline says some flights have Preferred Plus Seating, apparently mine did not. Can you really not upgrade to first class once you have purchased your regular economy tickets? I don’t know. I swallowed. First class wasn’t feasible anyway. 
When we boarded the plane we were in for a pleasant surprise. No, not a surprise upgrade – even my husband Sig has stopped dreaming about that! But instead it was the seats themselves. I have not seen these on an airplane before. 
Skinny seats! The seat back was no more than 2 inches thick. The magazines were stored up high in the seat behind the tray table (instead of where my knees are). And each seat had an electrical outlet to charge phones/gadgets! Although the seat pitch (airline speak for distance between seat backs) seemed similar to other planes I’ve been on, you gain space with the narrower seat backs and not having the magazines at knee height.
Yes, I still hate red-eyes (what was I thinking??), but given the circumstances, this flight was a pleasant surprise. 
Curious about seat pitch? Here’s an article and infographic comparing seat pitch between various airlines. Apparently Alaska Airlines has some of the narrowest seats in the business. I didn’t notice that. I was too busy enjoying the space between my knees and the seat in front of me.
Disclaimer – I don’t know if Alaska Airlines has these seats on all their planes. I also obviously don’t know much about upgrading seats – if you know more, let me know.
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