Christmas Vacation! Honolulu, Day 1

Honolulu, Day 1: Arrival
Honolulu, Day 2: Dole Plantation and North Shore
Honolulu, Day 3: Submarine Tour and Magic of Polynesia
Honolulu, Day 4: Polynesian Cultural Center
Honolulu, Day 5: Return Home

This is the first post of a series so bear with me!

For Christmas this year, I wanted to do something special, so I used two of my regional upgrade certificates to fly my girlfriend and myself to Honolulu first class. These certificates are available from Delta after reaching Platinum or Diamond Medallion status as Delta Choice Benefits, and can be used on most paid fares. The tricky thing is that it does not guarantee your upgrade, but you do get a higher priority than others (including those with the Delta Reserve SkyMiles card).

RDU -> LAX
RDU -> LAX
LAX -> HNL
LAX -> HNL

RDU → LAX

The first flight on the way to Honolulu was on a Boeing 737-800, and we managed to get cleared for first class well before the day of departure. The great thing about that is that we were able to request special meals for our flight.

20151223FirstClass737800
737-800 First Class

The omelet that came with our breakfasts was full of spinach, and the asparagus was cooked well. The only questionable part were the potatoes which were severely dehydrated.

20151223FirstClassBreakfast
Diabetic Meal

Though we didn’t have in-flight entertainment on our first flight (outside of Delta Studio, which doesn’t work on most Android phones), the ride was smooth and the flight attendants were excellent.

LAX → HNL

Our second flight was on one of Delta’s 737-300s using their “Hawaii” configuration. Our upgrade certificates didn’t clear us until we were about to board, so we weren’t able to request a special meal in advance, but we were surprised by Mai Tais!

757-300 First Class
757-300 First Class

The flight crew really made the trip wonderful. They were extremely attentive and made sure my girlfriend and I were always comfortable.

Getting ready!
Hawaii bound!

The meal choice was between stuffed ravioli in a red sauce or grilled chicken with cheese on a bed of rice. I went with the chicken and Carrie went with the ravioli. The chicken was surprisingly juicy for an airplane meal, but the ravioli was mediocre.

Grilled chicken with rice
Grilled chicken with rice
Stuffed ravioli
Stuffed ravioli

First class on this flight had individual screens, and we were able to watch the original Ocean’s Eleven (with the Rat Pack!) as we ate, which was a treat. The AmazonBasics tangle-free headphones [affiliate link] I always travel with was much better than the prepackaged headphones offered. It’s an added bonus that you never have to feel bad about misplacing a pair thanks to their pricing! 😉

DoubleTree Alana

Though there wasn’t a shuttle offered by the hotel, they did have an arrangement with SpeediShuttle to transport guests at a reduced rate. I checked in online prior to arrival at the DoubleTree Alana so all we had to do was pick up our keys (and cookies!).

As a Hilton Diamond, Carrie and I were given free breakfast vouchers with the option to upgrade to a full breakfast for only $8. We were also given premium internet access codes.

When checking in, I opted to upgrade for only $60/night to their one room penthouse suite. Though Hilton points are not the most valuable, if you book early enough, you can get some very nice deals! The final cost for me was 50,000 points and $60 per night for the penthouse suite.

Entry hall to room
Entry hall to room
Desk, couch, and entry to balcony
Desk, couch, and entry to balcony
Gorgeous bed!
Gorgeous bed!
Waikiki at night from the room
Waikiki at night from the room

More posts to come as I move pictures from my phone and get readjusted to home!

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