Aloha.

I’ve spent the morning walking the beach front path that passes by all the resorts and such here in Ko Olina. It’s a bit humid today but the breezes are keeping things under control.

Driving in from our adventures yesterday I saw a road sign advising of road closures starting February 8. I was momentarily confused because this is not weather I associate with February. It’s nice to be having this confusion.

While I’ve been online during this trip I’ve been keeping my social media interactions down to a minimum. I have participated in some conversations but there’s so much yelling and screaming going on and I just don’t have time for it.

The pacing of this trip has been great. We’re doing things here and there and having a lovely time but we’re also relaxing and taking it easy. I’m finding my center again. I want to capture it, along with the natural scents of O’ahu, in a bottle and bring it home with me. I like reminders and reminders keep me focused.

Remembrance.

We visited the Pearl Harbor National Memorial today. Since it was our second visit here, we decided to buy our own tickets and explore the exhibits on our own schedule. The bus tour the last time was nice but felt rushed.

I love learning about the history of our country, especially the events of the early and mid 20th century. As I learn about our various wars and other major events, I find myself tearing up a bit during narrated videos and other multimedia based exhibits. I ask myself if I’m doing enough to serve my country. I’m never satisfied with my answer. And then I start to think of ways I can contribute more.

Both the Pearl Harbor exhibit and the USS Arizona Memorial are quite moving. I highly recommend a visit if you’re on O’ahu.

It’s good to learn everything we can about our history.

See.

As I wait for the rest of the family to get ready for the day, I’m sitting on the balcony enjoying this view. I’ve scanned through Twitter and Facebook, confirming the world is still where we left it, and then I made sure the social media apps were off my phone and only accessible by my iPad, which will be left behind today.

As I listen and watch life pass by on this little slice of O’ahu I can’t help but think there are many wonderful things that allow us to experience this remotely, but there’s many more things about the Internet that are second best.

Never settle for second best.

Improvements.

Apple Maps is a classic example of what happens when you don’t have the software where it needs to be upon its initial release. Despite all of the improvements Apple has made over the years, Maps still has a poor reputation. Google Maps seems to be the default choice of users, even those using iPhones and the like.

Recent improvements to Apple Maps have been impressive. Signalized intersections are now marked with a stop light icon. Speed limit data was accurate through a construction zone.

Personally I like Apple Maps and I find the quality on par with Google’s counterpart. Yelp integration is nice, the only step I’d ask Apple to take is to not require opening the Yelp app for diving into details on a location.

Impressive.

I have been using my iPad Pro on this entire flight. Well, I didn’t use it for 45 minutes when I took a nap. But I’ve been using my iPad Pro for around seven hours, connected to United’s WiFi, and I still have 46% of my battery remaining.

Tablet computing is the future.

I’ve watched videos, I’ve written blog entries, and I’ve been monitoring our flight progress on FlightRadar24. I can tell you which app is the largest battery hog and that would be the Facebook app. Plus, the WiFi has been spotty over the ocean, and mind you, I’m not complaining, because WiFi in the middle of the Pacific would have made the entire plot foundation of “Gilligan’s Island” moot. I’m very impressed I’ve maintained relatively good WiFi for this entire flight.

From an aviation perspective I’ve learned a lot on this flight. I’m more keyed up than ever to get my further certifications. Let make this happen!

United 772 Domestic First Class.

So Earl and I invested in the upgrade to first class for our trip to Hawaii. It’s like a drug; once you fly First Class, you’re addicted to First Class. Now when I fly for work or pleasure and unable to get into First Class I can be a little cranky. Premium Economy offers some consolation, but even then there’s always that horrible feeling of possibly ending up in double-digit row.

I clench my jaw and play a snob with the best of them.

This is our first time flying in the “Version 4” configuration of United’s First Class offering on the Boeing 777. The seating arrangement is odd. We are in row 3. The seating arrangement is 2-4-2. Seats 3A-B and 3K-L are facing the rear of the aircraft. Seats 3D-G are facing the front of the aircraft. The row is staggered so that the outer seats are parallel to the entertainment “wall” separating the inner seats from the previous row, which is facing the back of the aircraft. Our entertainment screens are back to back, and likewise for the outer rows. Because of this arrangement I can easily look the passengers in 3A-B, 3K-L directly in the eye. Not awful but unusual for an airline flight. Luckily, Jamie and Chris are closest to our sight line.

This direct flight from Chicago O’Hare to Honolulu is approximately nine hours long. We left the gate on time at 10:10 with wheels up at 10:40 Central. Wheels down will be around 15:15 Hawaii, which is four hours behind Central. For assistance with the mathematics, wheels down is 19:15 Central. In American civilian terms, that’s 7:15 PM. The entertainment offerings are robust enough to keep everyone entertained for such a journey. The system is easy to navigate with the seat mounted remote control.

Speaking of the seats, they are quite comfortable and perfectly capable of lying completely flat. Again, it’s easy for the outer seats to see what the inner seats are doing, and vice-versa, so there’s that small element of a lack of privacy, but the provided amenities are quite nice. The pillow is fluffy and the Saks Fifth Avenue blanket is impressively heavy.

Lunch was served around 11:15 Central, which is 7:15 Hawaii time. We were not presented with a menu but addressed by the crew by name, who then gave us a verbal list of choices. My husband had beef tips and I had a fish dish with lobster sauce. A salad with Sesame Ginger dressing was included, as well as a dinner roll but I didn’t get a roll for some reason. I didn’t bother to ask for one. Maybe it’s under my seat. For dessert a coconut flavored ice cream sundae was on tap and though the ice cream was very frozen and hard, it was delicious.

Overall I was hoping our First Class experience would include the “pods” we experienced flying LAX to ORD in 2019, but I feel like we are getting our investment’s worth with what we are experiencing today. There are much better offerings for First Class experiences out there, especially when flying internationally, but the airplane feels “fresh”, the crew has been top-notch and I’m pleased with the experience thus far. It makes logical sense that flying ORD to HNL is a Domestic Flight, but with half of the flight over the ocean and the entire flight longer than some international offerings from United, I would think this experience would be more in line with the Polaris International experience. However, I am without complaint. With four hours left to go on this flight I’m confident my satisfaction level will continue this pace and I recommend flying in the manner as your budget or points allow.

Blue skies!

UA 219.

I’m writing this from over the Grand Canyon. I can’t show a photo as I’m not in a window seat on this trip, so I’ll show you where we are.

I downloaded a bunch of television shows and movies to watch on my iPad Pro for this flight but I’m passing the time by playing on the Internet and listening to the live feed of Air Traffic Control from the cockpit.

Listening to ATC is making me yearn to be flying this airplane.

I’m excited about our vacation. This will be our second time to Hawaii and we are focusing on relaxing at the resort and living a carefree lifestyle for the next week. Getting away from the cold, even though it’s been a very mild winter thus far in Chicago, will be a nice change of pace. Seeing the sun will also be awesome; we’ve had clouds for the past two weeks.

I haven’t flown nearly enough this winter.

Mentally this vacation has been a “hump” in my timeline. I’ve been coasting through life a bit since the holidays, with the intent go get all focused again after a week on Oahu.

UA 219 is onboard a Boeing 777. The flight is nonstop ORD to HNL. This is the longest flight I’ve been on thus far. The crew is friendly and efficient, the experience is pleasant.

A wonderful start to this time away.