Mileage Run To Hawaii – The Return
For the return journey of my mileage run to Hawaii, I decided to put the entire trip into this one article, so sit back and hope you enjoy the story!
I had only been in Waikiki for a couple of hours and after a 3 hour sleep my alarm went off. I got out of bed with absolutely no sense of which time zone I was in. The shuttle bus would pick me up again at 5am so I still had about 30 minutes to kill and decided to get some fresh air outside. I got a little more than just fresh air as the sky opened and started a serious rain downpour.
The shuttle bus was there at 5am sharp and after saying good morning, the driver told me that he had to make a couple more stops at other hotels to pick up people. I completely lost sense of direction, the only direction I was able to follow was the direction of the windshield wipers haha.
Just before 6am I got dropped off at the AA check in terminal at Honolulu airport and it was dead quiet down there. I was able to check in using the self service kiosk which was really quick and pointed itself out on how to use it. If the scan of your passport doesn’t get you all the necessary information, all you gotta do is type in your flight number, answer a couple more questions and your boarding passes will be printed. In my case I received 3 BP’s, HNL-LAX, LAX-LHR and LHR-AMS all had my chosen seat numbers on them.
At the security checkpoint I had another officer laugh at me after I had explained my crazy trip, he wished me a good journey home and I could start to look where the lounge was located. I had walked almost the entire way towards gate 18 where my flight would board and had not seen any signs for any lounges… The first sign I found indicated that the Admirals club would be located at Gate 11 so I made my way to the other side of the terminal building but couldn’t find any signs. Hmmm ok, back I go but after another morning workout walk I couldn’t see the lounge there either. Sh*t!
I then decided to ask someone and he started laughing and told me the lounge was well hidden. I had to make my way toward the Galleria, then look for the food court and on the left there should be a small sign for the JAL Sakura Lounge. Found it! I was greeted by the 2 employees who explained the lounge to me, there was a breakfast area on one side and a bar on the other side. They both suggested me to go for breakfast first and then maybe check out the bar… heck it was 6am!
Once I entered it was very quiet in there as I was the only person there at first, but a couple minutes later more people came in, mostly Japanese tourists and business people but there was still plenty of room for everybody. I went through the same ritual as I did in the lounge at Schiphol airport and that was to have a light breakfast, some cold green tea and a yoghurt.
Just before heading to the gate I decided to check out the bar, and what did I find there? My good old friend Jack Daniels! I looked at him, he looked at me and it didn’t take him long to convince me that 6.30am was a good time to start drinking… It was evening somewhere on this planet, so one drink wouldn’t hurt, maybe even 2 and head to the gate.
I was in seat 8C this time so I could sometimes put my legs into the aisle, at least as long as they weren’t running any service carts because those give you nasty bruises, been there, done that! The 2 stiff drinks made me get an apetite so I checked the onboard menu and decided to go for a ham/cheese croissant and a cup of tea. The snacks weren’t free of charge this time and they only accepted credit cards on board but I only had cash at hand to pay, cause my credit cards were somewhere in my carry on lugage. The purser told me not to worry and I got the croissant on the house, nice service!
Again I wasn’t able to sleep on this flight so I listened to some music while I kept writing articles for this blog and after an approximately 6 hour flight with non-working wifi (again!) we landed at LAX. This time there would be no immigration or security checks as I already had my boarding pass for the next flight and I was now connecting flights so had plenty of time to go to the Admirals Club again.
After showing my boarding pass I was given 2 vouchers for any kind of drinks, if I wanted to drink more I would need to pay for it myself. So I headed to the bar, sat down and the waiter looks at me:
“Weren’t you here yesterday?”
“Yes I was, but I was kinda in a hurry to catch my flight.”
“What will you be drinking today?”
“JD straight up”
In the meantime I went to get myself some snacks, plate full of crackers and cheese, yummy! The first Jack was gone in no time, so I had another one and kept munching away on the snacks. I was in my own little bubble… Actually an airport lounge is like a small world inside of an airport with a diversity of people, there’s the serious business traveller typing away on his laptop or talking loud on the phone, tourists who were crazy enough to pay the $ 50 fee to enter the lounge and do nothing but take selfies, frequent travellers who know the drills of a lounge and try to enjoy their time there, the hoarder who does nothing but stock up on sh*tloads of the free food… You decide which category I belong to!
As I snapped out of my bubble I looked at the clock and noticed I had minutes to spare before boarding flight AA108 back to London Heathrow. Same procedure as usual and after the priority boarding I quickly settled into seat 16C with legroom that reached all the way to business class!
Ok, now sit back, relax and we’ll be on our way shortly… Euh no! The fricking plane sat at the gate for just over an hour because they had a “mathematical” issue with the luggage? Did someone forget how to do 1 plus 1? Even the captain got annoyed with the delay that we had and told us he would try everything possible to shave off some time on the flight back to LHR…
After service I remember plugging in my earbuds and pulling my fleece hoodie over my head and then there’s a couple of hours that I have no memory off so I probably slipped into a good coma for at least 6 hours. Breakfast was served on the plane but the only thing that was tasteful was the tea…
Arriving at T3 at Heathrow airport it was the same routine again, get off the plane, follow the transfers signs, get on the bus and get out at Terminal 5. Hooray for fast track through security as it only took me a couple of minutes to get through everything, which is a big contrast to some of the horror stories you hear about Heathrow and even to what I’ve experienced myself in the past.
I only had 1 thing on my mind and that was to get me a couple of drinks at the BA South Galleries business class lounge! It was a short walk away and after getting up the escalator I had my boarding pass scanned and got into the lounge where I heard a familiar voice call my name… Heck it was Jack Daniels, again! He’s everywhere on this trip!
While having a second glass of JD I got a message from fellow mileagerunner Sanne who had just had his American Airlines status upgraded to Executive Platinum so he told me he would guest list me for the BA First Class lounge, that way we could enjoy some champagne before flying to Amsterdam. Thanks for that!
As with JD you can’t stand on one leg, so we ended up having a couple glasses of champagne, gotta love the bubbles! It put a smile on my face while walking out the lounge haha, off to the gate for the last flight home… Only a 55 minute hop across the Channel with British Airways and another cup of tea.
Luckily it wasn’t busy when arriving at Schiphol airport and I was through passport control in no time but then I still had about 2 hours to kill because the Thalys train to Antwerp would only leave at 18:33… But as I had become a Silver member with the Thalys loyalty program, I had access to the NS International Lounge. Nothing special, but it beats sitting on a cold bench at the station!
Before I made my way over to the NS lounge, I walked by the currency exchange office where I had bought some US Dollars on Friday. To my surprise the same employee was there… “Hey, I remember you, you are the guy who flew to Hawaii this weekend!” “Yes, that’s me and here’s a picture of Waikiki beach by night as proof.” They liked the insanity of the trip so much that they didn’t even charge me a currency conversion fee when I exchanged the rest of the Dollars I had.
After spending time at the lounge I made my way down to the platform where the Thalys would arrive and could start the final leg of this weekend “city trip”… I made it home by 8pm that night. A final conclusion article will follow with some statistics of this mileage run trip to Hawaii.