Do You Remember… Going Airport

Jan 23, 2014

In our previous post – You Know You’re MLC If… 4G wrote: When seeing people off at the old Honolulu International Airport, especially to the mainland, was a big deal. You would see them off at the gate downstairs, then go upstairs to the open air “roof”, try to see them through those tiny windows, then get blasted by the jet exhaust as the plane taxied away .….


Paula was just sharing with me yesterday how she remembers everyone in the family getting all dressed up to see her auntie and uncle off for a trip.  They even gave them lei.  I asked if it was for an international trip or a mainland vacation.  She said it may have been just a visit to Kauai to see family.  Paula recalls how it was such a big thing to ride on an airplane.


I agreed that it was a big deal.  I remember the school yard conversations where someone would ask “Eh, anybody ever went ‘fly'”?  And when someone confirmed that they indeed did “fly” before, then all the questions came out; “What was it like?”,  “Did you get air sick”, “Did everyone on the ground look like ants?”, “What if you gotta go shi-shi?”, “What’s it like when the plane goes thru the clouds?”, “The stewardesses all pretty?”.


And the luggage…




Whoever thought of adding wheels to the bottom of suitcases – I want to shake his hand.


Back in the day, suitcases were already heavy – made of leather or fabric with real metal locks – before they were even filled.  And there was only a single handle to carry each suitcase.


Nowadays, just stand your suitcase on the side, lift up the telescoping handle, and pull your suitcase behind you.  Or better yet, get a “spinner”.  I just got one and instead of pulling it behind you on 2 wheels, you can walk it on the side of you as it comes with 4 wheels.  And you can even hook on backpacks and smaller bags to your luggage and pull it all with one arm.  Unlike back in the day when it meant having a smaller suitcase tucked under your arm while carrying the huge suitcase by the handle.


But back to the topic.


Remember when everyone – aunties, uncles, cousins, pets, and friends – would show up at the airport when a recent graduate was going away to college or joining the military.  And unlike nowadays when parents travel up to the school along with the recent graduate to them settled in, back in our day – the recent graduate was just put on the plane and left to figured out things on their own.


Do you remember going to the airport to see friends or family off?  Hanging around the lobby as other friends and relatives showed up.  And as 4G mentioned, after the person gave their ticket, then running upstairs to the rooftop viewing section and watching them as they walked on the tarmac and up the stairs into the airplane.  And trying to find them looking through the little windows.  Share you memories of Going Airport with us.

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126 Responses so far | Have Your Say!

  1. Mark Shelby
    January 24th, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

    Do you remember when Pan Am used to give out the free blue Pam Am bags. And then all the kids at school started showing up with the bags to carry their books. And then all of a sudden you were not cool unless you had one Pan Am bag!….hehe;_ylt=A0SO80SH5OJSvTMAtEFXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0ZGRmNWE1BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDIyMF8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=yfp-t-664&sz=all&va=pan+am+bag

  2. dihudfan
    January 24th, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Mark Shelby… i remembah those wing pins and also the PAA bags… you had have one wen you wuz kid time… innahs or winnahs

  3. Hbh
    January 24th, 2014 at 5:04 pm #


    Shootz i had both da bag and da wings, and got a deck of cards. Wen keiki in da guud ol’ days, they treatted you guud.

  4. 4G
    January 24th, 2014 at 5:32 pm #

    Growing up, I remember it being a lot like Rod characterized in his post – taking an airplane trip was a big deal . Kids that actually had been on an airplane were, by far, the exception to the rule. The ratio may have gotten larger as the school years rolled on but, certainly, in elementary school it seems to me that the vast majority of kids had not been afforded the luxury of an interisland trip. I feel very fortunate that I was afforded the experience of air travel.

    I guess I’m thinking like 60’s-70’s. Seems like there were a large number of folks, in general (not just classmate kine), that “had never been off of this rock”. I know that my grandmother was one of those. Then again, she absolutely refused to even consider getting on an airplane . . . . LOL. But, still . . . .

  5. Hbh
    January 24th, 2014 at 6:00 pm #


    That probably has alot to do with your tutu generation. Back in her time, Hawai’i was a less hostle place. Sure Hawai’i has always been expensive, but not as expensive as it been in modern times. Its sad when locals are now questioning is Hawai’i worth it? Pretty soon it will only be the sun and the beach that will be unique.

  6. 4G
    January 24th, 2014 at 6:30 pm #

    @Hbh – yeah, probably. Or, she was seriously afraid of that “derned, newfangled, thingamabob just dropping out of the sky!” 😉

  7. Hbh
    January 24th, 2014 at 6:41 pm #


    Lmao your prob right my older bruddah. :-),

  8. khs68
    January 24th, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    @4G – My baban was the same way. Wouldn’t get on a plane to visit her sister in Hilo. I asked Baban one time how she got from Hilo, where she was born, to Honolulu. She said, “by boat”. So I said, “well, same thing except you go in an airplane”. She said, “if the boat sink, I know how to swim. But if something happens to the plane, I never learned to fly.” Baban was a jokester for sure.

  9. 4G
    January 24th, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    @khs68 – LOL! Baban certainly had a point! 😉 Well taken! 😉

    I remember my seventh grade summer – what is that, like 12-years old ? Flying to Seattle by myself – I had my own, personal life jacket, rolled up cim

  10. 4G
    January 24th, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Derned phone !

    Rolled up compactly into a cylinder, like a foot long. The things you remember …. LOL!

  11. khs68
    January 24th, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    Okay…I only going tell you guys… When I took my first plane ride to Hilo when I was 5 years old, I put balloons in my little purse thinking if we fell in the water, I could blow up the balloons and float. Too much cartoon watching…

  12. 4G
    January 24th, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    LOL! Too cool! :)

  13. 4G
    January 24th, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

    All I did was try to take all the chewing gum! 😉

  14. dihudfan
    January 24th, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

    back in the early 70s, my friend returned from Oklahoma, he went school to become a pilot… wen he came back, he used to work as an flight instructor in one small company down by the old airport… one of his benes wuz he could use a plane to fly if he paid fo gas… every other week we would fly to Maui in a single engine piper cub, not exactly the fastest way of flying, but wuz fun… one day on the way back to Oahu, he told me I can take the controls and fly… just as I did, we hit a air pocket somewhere over Molokai… talk about panic… lucky he took control right away… but what a feeling… my stomach wuz still way up high in the air and my body wuz closer to the ground… lucky nevah eat before we flew back…

  15. Hbh
    January 24th, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    Idk i waz a wierd kid or just plain pupule. I wasn’t afraid of heights, used to climb between balconies on the skyrise(20th floor) we lived on. Wasnt afraid of da ocean, learned to swim by just jumping in myself(almost drowned 3x lol). Wasn’t afraid to runaround Oahu or wasn’t afraid of bullies, i picked on them unless they to big, den i run fast lol, flying nope. So none of dis scared me. But obake, monsters, pele, nightmarchers I was shaken in my boots, scared as can be. Go figure, backwards lol.

  16. Mark Shelby
    January 24th, 2014 at 9:24 pm #

    Airport story plus a little more…

    In 1967 our Wigwam Dept. Stores were doing big business with KGMB TV. Loads of TV commercials with them including toy commercial on the Checkers and Pogo Show.

    One day Cec Heftel the station owner called my Dad and asked if my Father and I would like to take a ride in the KGMB traffic helicopter. Dad and Cec Heftel were good friends.

    So of course we jumped on it. Their chopper was parked near the old original Honolulu Terminal side. It was an old school Bell Helicopter, and it even had air filled pontoons to be able to land on water.

    We met the chopper pilot very early one morning and there we went, straight up into da sky!! Wow! What a ride! Then in mid flight the pilot started to do his Traffic Drive Report live on the radio. Then he began to interview my Dad and I live by radio to the KGMB news station.

    Then the pilot asked me to announce the traffic report patterns on the H~1 and other streets that were backed up. I was just 12 years old. That is a day I will never forget!

    I tried to find old pics of the KGMB chopper. but could not so far. Although I did find this….

  17. 4G
    January 25th, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    Winds must be unusual today. Planes coming in to land seem to be going in to the reef runway in a westerly direction, providing me with an unusually long and good view of them coming in to land. : )

    I usually have a better sight of them going out …. Been watching a few planes coming in off an on throughout the morning.

  18. Mark Shelby
    January 25th, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    As you may know. Landings and take offs are always into the wind. A great example of this at HNL, is when we have Kona winds and the aircraft take their final approach over downtown Honolulu and land facing toward Ewa Beach. Kona winds are rare, so you don’t see this landing pattern very often. So I would say that you are correct and we had a little bit more westerly winds today and the reef runway points that direction better than our original runways. Good Observation.

  19. Mark Shelby
    January 25th, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

    An additional note on the wind direction. The storm from the north that just brought the 50 foot waves to our North Shore with blown out conditions and bad form are likely affecting the take off and landing patterns at HNL. Our Hawaiian Seas also tell us what is happening with our weather, not just the skies.

  20. cmo
    January 25th, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    I was a 3rd grader when I rode a little plane by myself from Kamuela airport to the BEEEEG city of Honolulu (yep, Waimea/Kamuela on Big Isle had a little airport then). I got sick on plane and the uncertainty of it all was a bit much for me as the plane pulled away and I saw my parents on the ground waving. Turned out to be ok once I got to Honolulu to spend time with my older sisters and other relatives who took me to Cinerama theater and Waialae Drive Inn (I think I saw HELP! and The Nutty Professor), the Zoo, and Bishop Museum.
    Later, I went back and forth from UH Manoa dorms to Big Isle. My dad also had that skill of using one piece of string to tie boxes together. My grandpa had a fruit farm on big island so I always brought a box of fruits and stuff. Once I remember avacados were falling out of the box as I carried it from baggage claim. My first mainland trip was as a high school graduate (one teacher always got some graduates together and took them to Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, etc.)…Disneyland was open all night for a grad night of fun. It was a huge deal & so exciting for me and a few friends in our younger, crazier days just out of high school.

  21. Mark Shelby
    January 25th, 2014 at 11:54 pm #

    You have some fun memories cmo….Kamuela is one of my favorite towns on our lovely Big Island! And it’s long history is wonderful!

  22. Mark Shelby
    January 26th, 2014 at 6:53 pm #

    While we are having this intermission about our flying talk at our old Honolulu Airport. I thought I would share this fun really old clip with you. Jus to make you more homesick for the good old days of Hawai’i. Sometimes I can be so mean….hehe…..enjoy!

    On The Waves At Waikiki – Vintage Hawaii Surfing

  23. Mark Shelby
    January 26th, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    One more intermission small kine show…..going crack you up! If you remember this, you are one hard core MLC’er…..hehe

    How is this relevant you may ask? They all arrived on Oahu at our good old original Honolulu Terminal with their surfboards…..everybody did in the good old days.

    Miki Dora Car Race on the North Shore of Hawaii ….

    ……carry on with your good old Hawai’i Loving selves! And your totally awesome memories! Not many have them like us. We are a rare breed now.

  24. Mark Shelby
    January 26th, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    Found a good one. Including the old Honolulu Terminal and many more good old stuffs! Including Hilo Airport and Parker Ranch!

    Hawaii, The Island State, 1959

  25. keoni
    January 26th, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

    That was a good one, Mark. Mahalo piha!

  26. Mark Shelby
    January 26th, 2014 at 11:43 pm #

    Thank you Keoni…..carry on my Kaikua’ana !

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