Airports in general are stressful environments and Hawaii is no exception. If the security lines and ever-changing rules and attitudes don’t get you, then the boarding procedures surely will. Here are some tips for transiting our airports on your next Hawaii vacation.
A report out today by Amadeus (the global airline distribution system) points out that airports world wide are in a state of change and will be unrecognizable over the next one to two decades. That’s probably a good thing since they also report “43% of travellers told us they wanted to reestablish the ‘wonder and magic’ that was historically associated with air travel.”
Hawaii Airports Modernization
Hawaii is leading the way to modernization inasmuch as we’re already in the midst of a $2.3 Billion airport makeover that began five years ago. That in awareness of the need to transform Hawaii’s all-important but aging airports’ infrastructure.
Unique issues associated with Hawaii travel
You should be aware that Hawaii’s airports present some added challenges that can be stress inducing. Here are some tips on what to expect in that regard and how to make your Hawaii airport experience a more positive one.
Luggage scanning/inspection by USDA
This procedure is completely separate from TSA and is worth thinking about in advance. It takes place prior to airline check-in here in Hawaii. The purpose is to assure compliance with USDA’s regulations governing importation of fruits and vegetables from Hawaii to the US Mainland. As a general rule of them, if in doubt, don’t bring it. If you have questions, you can check with USDA or feel free to leave comments below.
1. Fresh Hawaii pineapple and coconut are permitted upon inspection. These do not need to be purchased at the airport and in fact we suggest buying them elsewhere, like at a local farmers market.
2. Papayas may be imported only if they have been specially treated. These can be bought at the airport and are marked specifically for import.
USDA carry-on inspection
An inspection of your carry-on luggage will also take place. Depending on the airport and flight, this may occur together with or separate from the TSA screening. Your items will be inspected by X-ray to determine compliance with the above rules. Note that in addition to above whole fruit rules, even fresh fruit salad may be prohibited upon inspection.
Food and drink at Hawaii Airports
Hawaii airports’ concessions are also in the process of being upgraded. As a part of that, new and more interesting food options are being added. That having been said, here are some important things to keep in mind.
1. Hours of operation. Some of Hawaii’s smaller airports’ food services and stores are not open during the same hours as the airport. If you’re flying out late at night or early in the morning you could be sorely disappointed when looking to purchase items prior to flight. Plan accordingly and pack your own food. Have you read How To Eat Well At 30,000 Feet?
2. Water at the airport. Bring your own bottle that can be filled with chilled water from a fountain or be prepared to pay up to $5 or more for water. Bottled water dispensing machines are now in place at Hawaii airports.
Your Hawaii airport tips
Many of you are savvy Hawaii travelers. Please share your airport tips for others to enjoy. Mahalo
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