Hawaii Trip Part 14: First Time Flying United

Our ride back to the mainland

We drove over to the airport after our early dinner at Lava Lava Beach Club and returned the rental car. There was a lot of construction at Lihue airport so we had to check our bags with United then walk back outside to go through security. We had a bit of a delay as my wife’s shells were put through some serious scrutiny by a TSA agent. Apparently, some of the shells were snail shells that can be poisonous so they were removed and disposed of appropriately. Be aware of which kind of shells you can take with you from Hawaii.

There is no Priority Pass lounge at LIH, so we waited near our gate where we first had to go through another security check. At least the gate area had air conditioning. We boarded on time and had selected economy plus seats (thanks to my United Premier Silver status courtesy of my Marriott Titanium status – more details about this here: Is Status Worth It?). The seats actually had more recline than regular economy seats along with leg and foot rests. While the plane was a pretty old 767, this was more like a premium economy seat and didn’t cost me anything extra to reserve.

Nice footrests and recline

I managed to sleep for about three hours during the flight and we arrived early into Denver around 6:30am. We took the train over to Terminal C and walked up to the American Express Centurion Lounge which was just about to open at 7am. At opening, the lounge had continental breakfast and then the hot food came out around 7:30am. The pastries were good, but the eggs were in some sort of tomato sauce and pretty gross.

Note that the lounge is not packed this early in the morning

My wife was exhausted as she didn’t really sleep on the flight. The lounge was not full and we had a small love seat and a couple of chairs around a table where we were sitting with our backpacks. She took off her shoes and laid on the love seat to nap. Within five minutes, a lounge dragon came over and stated firmly that “this is not a sleeping lounge” and to “please remove your feet from the furniture.” I couldn’t believe it! We pay a large annual fee (several, actually) for our American Express Platinum card that gives us access to this lounge and there was plenty of room for people to spread out and sit at that hour. I was so annoyed I actually told her to stop being such a Karen!

Around 9:30am we headed over to our gate for the final flight to Atlanta. This time our economy plus seats just gave us some extra legroom. I also had an empty seat next to me which was nice on a three-hour flight.

We arrived in Atlanta around 3pm and grabbed an Uber home. Overall, we really enjoyed the trip. I definitely recommend visiting multiple islands if you think you will only make one trip to Hawaii as there is so much to see and it’s much further from the East Coast than Europe or the Caribbean.

If you enjoyed this report (or have some constructive criticism), let me know in the comments or send me an email at emptynestermiles@gmail.com. If you are thinking about opening a new credit card, please use one of my links.

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