With the USD still in a black hole against that mighty euro, even us diehard Europhiles have to consider Stateside alternatives. Thank goodness that includes Hawaii! United Airlines has some terrific deals to all of its Hawaiian destinations, not just Honolulu. They fly daily from Chicago O'Hare to Honolulu as well as Kona (via Maui,) and even have Saturday nonstop service from Denver to Kona. This is in addition to the twice-and thrice-daily service from LAX and SFO to the aforementioned islands, plus Lihue, Kauai. And Aloha Airlines offers dirt-cheap interisland flights, when you want to do more than *just* one island.
Keahole-Kona International Airport is reasonably sized and easy to use. It's one of the last in the United States that I know of that is basically an outdoor facility. (All the check-in counters, gates, shops, even security facilities are open to the wind.) One note - eating options here are very limited. Once you go through security, the only eating option was an overpriced greasy grill. So don't come here with an appetite, expecting to find some good nosh before your long trans-Pacific flight. (The voice of experience here.)
If you are flying to or form the Big Island and Honolulu, considder a scenic flight in a small plane rather than a large jetliner.
I flew out of Hilo to Honolul via Kamuelaa-Waimea with Pacific Wings in their small Cesna 208B and regard it as one of my most scenic flights.
After departing from Hilo we flew up through the clouds to Kamuela-Waimea with great views of Manua Loa, Manua Kea and the Big Island highlands. On the flight from Kamuela-Waimea to Honolulu I saw humpback whales from above outside the Hawaii coast and had great views of Maui to the east and flying over Kahoolawe, Lanai and Molokai before we reached Oahu. It took a little more time than a flight with Hawaiian or Aloha Airlines would have done, but you get to see much more while flying at 10.000 ft compared to 30.000.
Flying direct from the mainland to the Big Island is definitely convenient, unfortunately flights only arrive from a few cities.
From Pennsylvania we were scheduled to fly to Chicago, then to Los Angeles, and finally to the Kona airport.
This would have been a long day as scheduled, but it turned out even longer because our first flight never left the ground.
We flew United Airlines. I wouldn't really recommend them, but your choices are limited if you're flying direct to the Big Island.
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