Hawaiian Airlines 767-300 economy class Maui to San Diego

01. Introduction: Catching the Hawaiian Airlines A321neo (by the skin of my teeth)
02. Hawaiian Airlines A321neo first class San Diego to Maui
04. 3 things I wish I would have known about driving to the top of Haleakala
04. Westin Maui Resort and Spa, Ka’anapali
05. Hawaiian Airlines 767-300 economy class Maui to San Diego

Before starting with this trip report, I’d like to make a friendly suggestion (one that is very likely to enhance your reading experience and keep you from becoming grossed out and never returning to my blog ever again): stop whatever it is you’re doing and gather all the disinfectant and wet wipes that you rustle up. Set that stuff beside you, within easy reach of your free hand, and prepare yourself for uncontrollable urges to scrub and clean in a way that would make your mother shed the proudest tears of her life.

Proceed with reading when you’re ready.

HA38
Maui/Kahului, HI (OGG) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Wednesday, July 18, 2018
Aircraft: 767-33A/ER
Registration: N580HA
Duration: 5 hours 15 minutes
Seat: 22A (economy class)

Hawaiian Airlines 767-300/ER side profile

Hawaiian Airlines 767-300/ER (N580HA) side view illustration by norebbo.com.

Hawaiian Airlines 767-300/ER seat map

Seat map of this Hawaiian Airlines 767-300/ER (courtesy of seatguru.com) showing my seat (22A) for this flight to SAN.

OGG to SAN route

Our route from OGG to SAN this evening: FITES R578 FOMAS R578 FOOTS R578 FICKY C1177 ROSIN C1177 SXC COMIX2

For those of you who prefer video instead of a full written review, here’s the one I created for this flight (complete with an appropriate 80’s-themed soundtrack courtesy of Epidemic Sound):

Is there any worse feeling in the world than walking into a Hawaiian airport (any Hawaiian airport) knowing that beach time is over and it’s time to go home? I was feeling just about as low as I did the last time that I left Hawaii, which on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most happy), I was solidly at level 4. It was by far from being the worst day of my life of course, but leaving Hawaii ranks right up there with summer vacation ending and having to go back to face the reality of bad school lunches and heartless bullies.

Maui airport terminal curbside

Pausing for a moment to contemplate whether or not crossing the street and walking into that terminal is something that I really wanted to do.

Hawaiian Airlines departures Maui airport

Well, I crossed that street so I guess that means this trip report is going to happen. 🙁

Maui airport terminal check in

I thought it was kind of odd that I didn’t see anybody (children or adults) being dragged to the check-in counters against their will.

Airport terminal baggage drop

The main ticketing hall here at OGG. Looks like that lady in the red pants is about to say “F this!” before making a run for the exit. And I would totally move out of the way and let it happen. Nobody should have to leave Maui against their will!

Making matters worse was the fact that there are no Priority Pass lounges here at the Maui / Kahului airport, and once again I was denied the satisfaction of whipping out my shiny gold and black Priority Pass card and strolling into a swanky lounge leaving the noise and chaos of a busy terminal behind (with a pretentious hand gesture of course). That complimentary membership was one of the primary reasons why I got my American Express Platinum card, and if I’m not taking advantage of the benefits, I naturally feel guilty as heck about it. Oh well. Maybe next time.

It’s been 18 long years since the last time I was inside the terminal here at OGG, and I don’t recall the place being such a dump. Yeah, I said it. To be fair, I am a much more experienced traveler now than I was way back then, and I have been through some really nice airports over the past few years which have unfortunately made this place look not-so-hot in comparison.

Making matters worse was how warm and humid it was in the central area, causing everyone to be dripping in disgusting shirt-soaking sweat as they stood idly in line at Starbucks waiting for their ice cold Frappuccino’s. I don’t know about you, but the thought of being packed into a big 767 touching arms with 200 other people drenched in sweat wasn’t easing the pain of having to go home.

Maui airport restaurants and shops

Past security now and I’m standing in the central area where all the shops and restaurants are located. It’s also 90° in here with 90% humidity and I’m sweating like a 16 year old boy who just crashed his car after having his driver’s license for only two weeks (don’t ask me how I know how similar these two situations are).

Adding to the frustration was the fact that there is absolutely nothing healthy to eat at this airport. If you’re looking for pizza, hot dogs, or roast beef sandwiches slathered in mayonnaise, you’ll have no issues. But for anyone trying to be somewhat healthy, you’re pretty much out of luck and you’re gonna have to wait until you get home to eat anything that isn’t going to shave a year or two off your life. In the end, I settled on a hot turkey panini from Starbucks which, according to my calculations, only shortened my life by two months (better than 12 I guess).

Can you tell I’m having fun yet? I hate leaving Hawaii, so I do apologize (like, really hard) for sounding like such a Negative Nancy so far. Unfortunately, there are more things to complain about in the coming paragraphs. But first, it’s almost time to board the plane!

N580HA Hawaiian Airlines 767

Looks like N580HA is going to be my ride home to San Diego today! Interestingly enough, this particular aircraft will be going to United Airlines very soon so she’s still got some life in her yet.

Hawaiian Airlines mobile boarding pass

A quick shot of my mobile boarding pass. As you can see in the background, the atmosphere at the gate of a flight leaving Hawaii is nowhere near as lively as a gate of a flight headed to Hawaii.

Boarding was delayed by about 25 minutes or so, with no announcement or apology from the gate agents. The video display there at the podium kept saying “On Time”, but nothing was happening and there didn’t seem to be any reason for the wait. I guess that ended up being kind of a good thing, because it did extend my Hawaiian vacation by just a little bit.

Boarding Hawaiian Airlines flight to San Diego

Is this the most depressing picture you’ve seen in a while, or what? I don’t think there was a single person smiling in this line.

Hawaiian Airlines jet bridge Maui airport

All the crying and whimpering is greatly amplified in steel jet bridges such as this. I swear I was hearing the echoes of “but I don’t wanna leave!” from someone who had walked through here just a few minutes prior.

Hawaiian Airlines 76 740 unde Hawaiian Airlines 767-300 boarding door

This guy had the right idea though, taking a little bit of Hawaii home with him on that shirt. I gotta get me one of those.

 Hawaiian airlines 767 interior

That guy on the left seems quite satisfied with his seating choice, but the guy on the right across the aisle looks as if he had something to say about his situation.

Hawaiian Airlines 767 economy class cabin

This is the economy section located just behind the forward galley, which believe it or not, has *more* legroom than the economy class section just ahead of it. It pays to check seatguru.com before choosing your seat!

As you recall in the introduction for this trip, this flight was supposed to be an A321 but was switched to a 767 a few days after my booking. I originally had an exit row seat reserved, and I naturally assumed that they were going to give me an exit row seat on this flight as well. I never confirmed it – I just assumed that it was going to happen (which is always a bad thing to do). I didn’t even realize that I lost my exit row seat until I was on the plane setting my butt down into a regular economy seat.

Hawaiian Airlines 767 economy class seat

Row 22 in all it’s purple glory.

Hawaiian airlines 767 seat pitch

Leg room isn’t so bad in these old birds actually, which is a good thing since they don’t fly any routes shorter than 5 hours.

Hawaiian airlines 767 entertainment system seat controls

Entertainment controls in the armrest straight out of 1993. And I liked it!

The fact that I lost my exit row seat was making me a little bit grumbly again, but thankfully that was very short-lived because the boarding process finished very quickly and only about half of the seats were occupied. I guess that’s one huge advantage for an aircraft swap to something larger than what was originally scheduled. Lots of empty seats, including the one next to me!

SANspotter selfie Hawaiian Airlines 767

The boarding door is firmly closed now, and it’s just me and my well-traveled iPhone 6S occupying 22A and B.

Hawaiian Airlines 767 purple interior

I wonder if Prince ever had the opportunity to fly on one of these Hawaiian 767’s with this purple interior? Because he’d totally put his stamp of approval on it, I’m sure. Anyone else have a craving for some Purple Rain right about now? “I never meant to cause you any sorrow…

Okay, this is the part of the review where you may start feeling tendencies to scrub and clean everything in your immediate area. Hopefully you took my advice at the beginning of this post and have amassed an arsenal of disinfectant and wet wipes, because the next three pictures are kind of gross.

Dirty interior Hawaiian Airlines 767

I’m not certain if this was blood or ketchup, but I do know that it was still moist and sticky. Ew.

Food splattered on ceiling Hawaiian Airlines 767

Mega bonus points for that stuff (and more) being splattered all over the ceiling too. Ewww!

Dirty seats Hawaiian Airlines 767

Bodily fluids dried to a crisp perhaps? Ewwwww!

That’s disgusting. Now, it’s not really difficult for me to imagine how planes can get this dirty, but I am totally amazed that the cleaning crews miss this kind of stuff between flights. Not only was it horrible to look at, it was also very sticky and moist so my natural reaction was to sit there in my seat keeping all my extremities tight to my body, not touching anything.

Hawaiian Airlines 767-300 safety card

But wait, there’s more! Not only was the safety card extremely dirty and very sticky, the fact that it didn’t make me as sick as they got in the movie “Airplane!” says something about the strength of my immune system.

Oy vey. Hawaiian Airlines is my number one favorite US carrier at the moment, but it’s stuff like this which makes me think twice about the really high pedestal I’ve placed them on in my head. As I said, I totally understand that these interiors take a lot of abuse and that spills and splashes happen, but whose decision was it to deem this acceptable and send this aircraft out for another flight in this condition?

Keep in mind that this is a leisure airline that many first time visitors to Hawaii will fly. Dirty airplanes such as this one can’t be doing good things for customer retention, and my hope is that this particular aircraft was just an anomaly in the fleet and it got a proper scrub down and refresh shortly after this flight to San Diego. Better yet, maybe there’s a chance that they took it out back and burned it to the ground instead.

SANspotter selfie Hawaiian Airlines 767 interior

After touching some rather sketchy stuff in the last few minutes, all I could think about was how many hours I had left to live.

Dirty and scratched windows Hawaiian Airlines 767

Windows so dirty that my camera wouldn’t even focus. You kind of had to expect the window would be this filthy if there is food splattered on the ceiling…

Our departure out of Kahului wasn’t the most beautiful take off I’ve ever experienced from the Hawaiian islands, thanks in large part to the really dirty windows and not-so-flattering lighting conditions. I know that it seems like it would be really hard to get ugly pictures while taking off from any airport in Hawaii, but unfortunately that’s all I got this time and I’m almost embarrassed to post this sequence:

Hawaiian Airlines 767 departure from Maui airport

The worst looking departure shots from OGG you ever will see and I’m so very sorry for it. Fun fact though: that Alaska Airlines 737 in the top left picture was taxiing out for the departure to SAN as well. They followed us all the way home as AS806!

With nothing much to see out of those dirty and scratchy windows, I pulled the shade shut just two minutes after departure and waited for the service to begin. A video began playing on the monitors with the volume pumped out at a very high level on the overhead speakers – which ended up being really annoying since there was no way to turn it off. I dealt with it knowing that it was likely to shut off after just a few minutes, but it ended up playing for 45.

Hawaiian Airlines 767 economy class cabin in flight

Further proof that absolutely nobody uses the safety card for anything else but a fan. I don’t care how warm it was in the cabin this afternoon though, because there was no way I was touching that nasty thing again!

Hawaiian airlines Wi-Fi error

I like the way they casually state “Please ensure that you are onboard a Hawaiian Airlines A321neo…”, like it’s something I could fix if I really wanted to.

The cabin crew started coming down the aisles with snack items for purchase first, and they followed that up quickly with the free hot meal service. I was pretty hungry at this point considering that the only thing I had eaten so far today was that turkey panini from Starbucks, so I didn’t really care what they were going to put down in front of me. My appetite was voracious and I would’ve devoured a tire off of a ‘76 Pinto if that’s all they had.

Free meal in economy class Hawaiian airlines

Hot barbecue sandwich (with sticky barbecue sauce all over the exterior of the package), some potato chips, and a macadamia nut covered in chocolate. I’m not complaining though, because it was free!

Hawaiian Airlines barbecue sandwich

I think we’ve discovered the substance which is currently splattered all over the ceiling. A really good sandwich it was, but all I could think about as I was eating it was the sequence of events necessary to get it smeared 3 feet over my head. How does something like that even happen?

SANspotter selfie Hawaiian Airlines meal service

“An airplane (filled with 200 passengers eating barbecue sandwiches) traveling northeast at 600mph hits turbulence at a force of…uh…” Yikes. This isn’t going to be an easy riddle to solve.

 Interior of a Hawaiian airlines 767

Not much happening in here at the moment. I wonder what the mood is like on that Alaska Airlines flight just behind us?

I was feeling somewhat creative and productive after lunch, so I pulled out my iPad and began pecking away at another trip report for a couple hours (I think it was the Emirates A380 DXB-LAX one). I’ve discovered recently that I do some of my best writing while on airplanes, so I felt pretty good about what I managed to accomplish before wrapping it up and catching a bit of sleep before arriving into San Diego. I never used to be able to write so well while on the move, but that’s definitely changing as I’m getting older and I imagine that someday I’ll be that stereotypical old man hunched over his typewriter iPad in the corner of a train station an airport somewhere pecking away at his latest masterpiece.

Hawaiian Airlines scratchy dirty window 767

A quick peek out the window revealed more of the same as before: a scratchy window and absolutely zero instagram-worthy photo opportunities.

Hawaiian Airlines 767 lavatory

Because you wanted to see the bathroom, right?

Hawaiian airlines 767 bathroom selfie

Oh I see how it is. They expect us to clean up after ourselves, but they can’t wipe barbecue sauce and other mystery stains from the ceiling between flights? Hypocrites! Lol…

The lights came on with about one hour of flying time remaining, allowing the flight attendants to come down the aisles once again with free Mai Tais. “No thanks” I said with a somewhat sad and depressed tone in my voice, knowing all too well that the sweet and sugary concoction of rum and curaqo would be a crushing and painful reminder of what I had just left behind. I really mean it when I said that I have a hard time leaving Hawaii!

Hawaiian Airlines economy class snack

I may have passed up a perfectly good Mai Tai, yet somehow this bag of snacks ended up on my tray table and left my fingertips stained a glowing neon shade of orange.

SANspotter Hawaiian Airlines window seat 767

“Forced violently upward at a rate of 5000fpm while those 200 hungry passengers hold their barbecue sandwiches with an average force of 21.2lbs per square inch…” Nope, this art school graduate was never able to solve the mystery of how the sauce ended up on the ceiling.

Approach into San Diego Hawaiian Airlines 767

Lifting the window shade once again in hopes that the scratches would magically be gone and I would be presented with the most awesome window view ever. Dang it.

It was right about this time that they started playing that video again with the very annoying audio pumped over the speakers, but at least it didn’t play as long this time and they shut it down for good as we were on the descent into San Diego. The cabin lights were turned off that point and I enjoyed yet another beautiful approach into America’s Finest City in complete darkness.

Running into San Diego Hawaiian Airlines 767

Approaching San Diego from the east just moments before they turned off the cabin lights.

Flying over downtown San Diego airport approach

Skimming the rooftops of downtown San Diego with the El Cortez hotel in the foreground being the first to greet us. Buenos tardes amigos!

Landing at San Diego airport Hawaiian airlines

Home. Normally I always love returning to my favorite city in the whole world, but I’ve got to be honest – I kinda wished that I was still in Maui at that moment.

Hawaiian airlines arrival into San Diego 767

Raise your hand if that was the dirtiest airplane you’ve ever flown on!

Gate 22 jet bridge San Diego airport

I think that the airport forgot we were coming because it took exactly 12 minutes of waiting before someone showed up to connect the jet bridge. What’s the protocol for nobody showing up? A return to Maui? I can dig it.

Hawaiian Airlines 767 gate 22 San Diego airport

Such a dirty girl. Yeah, she may look spiffy clean on the outside, but all I can hope is that they took a power washer (or perhaps a small nuclear device) to the interior overnight before she was sent back to Maui next morning.

In conclusion, I’d like to state for the record that the cleanliness of this aircraft didn’t change my perception of Hawaiian Airlines at all. This cabin crew, just as with any other Hawaiian Airlines flight that I’ve ever been on, were nothing short of exemplary – and I am of the firm opinion that they are continually setting the bar very high for all other US airlines to match. I know for a fact that their A330s and A321s are sparkling clean on the inside, so I’m willing to let this one bad experience slide and pretend that it didn’t even happen (other than creating a video and writing this 2500 word post with 50 pictures lol).

An finally, as I close this post, I can only wonder how many of you are sitting there wide-eyed in front of your computer/tablet/phone donned in rubber gloves up to your elbows and empty bottles of disinfectant scattered in every direction, completely mortified about the things you just witnessed…

Sorry about that.

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