Tried this airline out for the first time. This is such a great business model! You drive up and your car gets taken by a valet....then the check in is so easy without taking all your clothes off, getting frisked (you know the drill)...Then you board a cool jet and off you go! The staff has such a great energy and focus on the customer. I will be back.
If you want your mini-bag of mixed nuts it's best you do not utter the term, "Stewardess"....That could earn you stern looks and a long flight! When you think about it, great service on airlines was not that long ago when blankets & pillows were offered and breakfast-lunch or dinner without being nickeled and dimed. Today the whole experience is just a nightmare with the anticipation of heading to any airport is very much like driving to the dentist. Unless you have platinum status with a carrier....forget about it. Your cattle.
The Hughes Flying Boat--the largest aircraft ever built--is piloted by designer Howard Hughes on its first and only flight. Built with laminated birch and spruce, the massive wooden aircraft had a wingspan longer than a football field and was designed to carry more than 700 men to battle.
Howard Hughes was a successful Hollywood movie producer when he founded the Hughes Aircraft Company in 1932. He personally tested cutting-edge aircraft of his own design and in 1937 broke the transcontinental flight-time record. In 1938, he flew around the world in a record three days, 19 hours, and 14 minutes.
Following the U.S. entrance into World War II in 1941, the U.S. government commissioned the Hughes Aircraft Company to build a large flying boat capable of carrying men and materials over long distances. The concept for what would become the "Spruce Goose" was originally conceived by the industrialist Henry Kaiser, but Kaiser dropped out of the project early, leaving Hughes and his small team to make the H-4 a reality. Because of wartime restrictions on steel, Hughes decided to build his aircraft out of wood laminated with plastic and covered with fabric. Although it was constructed mainly of birch, the use of spruce (along with its white-gray color) would later earn the aircraft the nickname Spruce Goose. It had a wingspan of 320 feet and was powered by eight giant propeller engines.
Development of the Spruce Goose cost a phenomenal $23 million and took so long that the war had ended by the time of its completion in 1946. The aircraft had many detractors, and Congress demanded that Hughes prove the plane airworthy. On November 2, 1947, Hughes obliged, taking the H-4 prototype out into Long Beach Harbor, CA for an unannounced flight test. Thousands of onlookers had come to watch the aircraft taxi on the water and were surprised when Hughes lifted his wooden behemoth 70 feet above the water and flew for a mile before landing.
Despite its successful maiden flight, the Spruce Goose never went into production, primarily because critics alleged that its wooden framework was insufficient to support its weight during long flights. Nevertheless, Howard Hughes, who became increasingly eccentric and withdrawn after 1950, refused to neglect what he saw as his greatest achievement in the aviation field. From 1947 until his death in 1976, he kept the Spruce Goose prototype ready for flight in an enormous, climate-controlled hangar at a cost of $1 million per year. Today, the Spruce Goose is housed at the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.
Hotel room demand in Hawaii has declined to 66% (occupancy) during the first eight months of this year, the lowest level since 1993. The peak for the islands was in 2005 when hotels were packed due to a Japanese burst of traffic. Rates have fallen to all time lows in the high end resorts, at a rock bottom of $150 a night just to get traffic. Four large full service resorts have closed this year and they have stayed dark. On Hawaii's big island, West Brook Partners bought the 540 room Fairmount Orchid in 2005 for 250 million and then spent 20 million to renovate the resort. Now they can't make the mortgage payments and forfeited the entire property to the lender Barclay's Capital. On Maui Highgate Holdings paid 175 million for the Ritz Carlton Kapalua Bay in 2006 and invested another 160 million in renovations. Now the owners have defaulted on the whopping 260 million dollar mortgage from Lehman Brothers (remember them??)
Usually in downturn times for Hawaii the Japanese will help save the day for travel on the islands. Not this year as the counts are down over 1.3 million due to the economy and their fear of the swine flu.
Two years ago the unemployment number for Hawaii was 2%, today it is 7.7% and rising.
TO SAVE MONEY WHEN BOOKING A ROOM IN HAWAII:
1- Do not call a 1-800 corporate number. Call the direct line into the hotel during their daylight hours of operation. Tell the employee that you are shopping for the best value and that you do not want to be quoted a rate off their sheet. If a room lists for $300 a night and they quote $250.00 tell the hotels representative that you will pay $175 a night. If they decline that offer, give them your number and keep searching out other resorts.
2- Many of the resorts have "Trip Packages" that include a car, activities, dinners, tours etc etc...Ask them which packages they offer that get wrapped up in the room price and make sure they throw that in with the discounted price.