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November 7, 2007

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Honolulu to Maui

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Aloha from Maui! It's amazing to be back in Hawaii after a four-year drought. I don't know about you but just the name 'Hawaii' gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. The same goes for 'Wailea' and the upscale town's newest hotel -- The Wailea Beach Villas. Wailea is considered the Beverly Hills of Maui and you'll soon see why. For starters, this new hotel has nothing but multi-bedroom villas and penthouses that are exquisite and are not to be missed by anyone who's looking for a luxurious getaway at reasonable rates. I can't wait to show them to you! Plus, I'm going to take you on a thrilling ride with a Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour of the world's highest sea cliffs. Wow! What a rush! For those of you who prefer to stay closer to the ground, you're sure to love an outrigger canoe excursion and a stop at the turtle car wash. Huh? This is where snorkelers swim with these gentle creatures and watch as fish clean them. It's too cool! Stick with me -- you're in for a real treat this week. If you don't have time to read the whole story, we've got a two-minute video synopsis where you'll see all the highlights. And if fun in the sun isn't your thing, maybe we can entice you with a trip to Milwaukee. Where, you say? As our newest writer Matt Wilson urges, "You should try Milwaukee. You may like it."

Last week, I wrote about my Hawaiian Airlines transpacific flight. Since we left off at the Honolulu International Airport (HNL), that's where we'll pick up. Unfortunately, I never left the airport because I needed to make my way to the domestic terminal for an Inter Island flight to Maui. As much as I love the Honolulu airport (it's on the water and much of it is open air), catching connecting flights is a bit confusing. To go from the international terminal to the domestic is about a three-minute shuttle ride. But instead of going up the stairs as the ONE sign points out and waiting for a vacant Wiki Wiki Shuttle, do yourself a favor and walk straight to the domestic terminal. It's only a five- minute walk and for some crazy reason there's no clear signage. Honestly, the Wiki Wiki Shuttle drove by me three times in the space of 15 minutes, filled to the max and never stopped to pick me up.

The remodeled domestic terminal is quite nice. You'll find marble floors, museum pieces on display, restaurants, shops and a Starbucks that doesn't charge outrageously jacked-up prices. It's also air-conditioned. Hawaiian Airlines' flights to Maui depart regularly, almost every 30 minutes. In fact, they depart so frequently that I almost mistakenly boarded an earlier flight, so be sure to check your flight numbers before getting in line. Hawaiian Airlines flies Boeing 717-200s for all inter-island flights. The plane holds 123 passengers in a two by three configuration in economy class. The plane I traveled on was built in 2001. Flight time is a quick 25 minutes but the flight attendants still manage to come around with a refreshment; a container of passion-orange nectar juice that's so small and sweet, it took me back to my elementary school day lunches. The flight was a bit bumpy but the scenery eases your mind. It was so cool to fly right over Waikiki, Diamond Head, Molokai and then into Kahului -- the city in which the Maui airport (OGG) is located.

The luggage came out quickly and the driver that the hotel arranged for me was right on time. The fee isn't much more than the expensive taxis that cost $60 for the same 15- mile, 30-minute drive. Therefore, if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing, definitely rent a car. The islands are very easy to navigate but the infrastructure wasn't designed for so many automobiles, which means that you should expect traffic during peak times. Yes, sadly, even in Hawaii. You would think that the drive to Wailea would be something special but it's actually quite disappointing. The scenery is so blah -- especially on a cloudy day. I just couldn't wait to get to the hotel, situated along the shore and landscaped so beautifully, just the way you imagine Maui to be. My driver was driving so dang slow (do you think I need a vacation?) that I simply had to enquire why. He had a good excuse. It turns out that there's a cop in Maui who gives tickets to everyone (including other police officers), even if they're traveling just 2/mph over the speed limit. I snickered. "I'm surprised the man hasn't been shot," I said, attempting a feeble joke. My driver countered: "He has and now he's even more pissed." Yikes!

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Copyright 2007 JohnnyJet, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Pictures From

The Trip




Switching Terminals


Domestic Terminal




Plane to Maui




Over Waikiki!


Over Diamond Head!


Landing In Maui


Slow Down, Brah!


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