So you’ve probably heard that Hawaiian Airlines starts a daily nonstop flight to New York City on Monday, ending United Airlines’ (previously Continental) monopoly on that prized route. Hawaiian Airlines has been giving freebies to writers, bloggers, chefs and other spread-the-word types each time they launch a new destination. I lucked out and got tapped to board flight 50 to JFK (as a second choice to onokinegrindz, who unfortunately had to bow out. Blogger drama!).
For years, seasoned O‘ahu-to-Manhattan travelers knew that Continental—then United—was the only way to fly. Who doesn’t prefer a straight shot over a one- or—god forbid—two-stop flight?!
So if Hawaiian Airlines entering the East Coast market doesn’t cause a price war, what’s so great about it for island residents? (A roundtrip flight to New York, leave Sept 10 and return Sept 16 costs $797.40 on Hawaiian and $712 on United if you book online today.) Well, for one thing, you get to fly on a brand new Airbus 330—OK, there’s no getting around the sardine realities of coach, but the headrest does not yet bear the residue of a million noggins and you get your own mini movie screen. For another, you fly into Jet Blue’s newish Terminal 5—it opened in 2008, with the landmarked 1962 Eero Saarinen building that was once the TWA terminal (can’t believe it hasn’t appeared in a Mad Men episode yet) refurbished and embraced by a new crescent addition. And finally, for those who are fanning out on the East Coast, Hawaiian partnering with Jet Blue is genius—you have easy access to points all along the seaboard, from Boston to Ft Lauderdale. No taking the 6th-circle-of-hell bus to another terminal. Plus HawaiianMiles members can earn miles on eligible JetBlue-operated flights on a mile-for-mile basis starting June 5.
For me, the flight offers me more options to visit a place I lived for a decade, and eat new food and see new art. I’ll be in New York for only three days, and have reservations at Eleven Madison Park, Corton, and Torrisi Italian Specialties (the first two graciously passed on by onokinegrindz!). Getting a reservation at these spots is like trying to win the lottery. (And I was sh*t out of luck for ABC Kitchen. And at Torrisi the only thing I could get was at 10:15pm at the bar.) All three called me in the last two days to confirm that I’ll be there, and ask if I have any special requests. I’ll see what I can squeeze in of the long list of casual and cheap-eats spots I keep. I’m spending one evening picnicking in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden with an old friend. Also want to hit the Cindy Sherman show at MoMA, Merlin Carpenter at Reena Spaulings (thanks for tip Bonnie Friedman!), and new Islamic gallery at the Met. Phew. Did I say three days?
Hawaiian Airlines is building a lot of fanfare—they’re flying in Keali‘i Reichel for a performance at Pershing Square (right outside Grand Central Terminal) on Thursday evening.