About Hawaii and Europe and Jet Lag

I’ve lived in Hawaii for 46 years and it’s long since become home. The one real drawback to living here is that we’re so far from anywhere else. In fact, Hawaii is said to be the most remote populated spot on the entire globe. It’s five hours by jet to California and eight hours to Asia. Nothing is any closer.

Local folks are used to long flights. I’ve probably flown back and forth to the West Coast 150 times over the years. But travel from Hawaii to Europe is really nasty because it means two red-eye flights. Furthermore, you’re completely upside down when you get there because from here, Europe is 12 time zones away.

My wife and I usually fly American Airlines because we’re deep into their mileage program. So for us, the first leg of a European vacation is overnight to either Dallas or Chicago, leaving Maui in the late afternoon and arriving around 5:30 in the morning. That’s bad enough, but the next red-eye – the flight to London or Paris or Frankfurt – doesn’t leave until 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening. I can’t face sitting in the airport for 12 hours after flying all night, so let’s get a room in a nearby hotel for the day. Oops, sorry … check-in time is 1:00 p.m.

On one of our European trips, I did arrange in advance for a mid-morning check-in at a hotel near the Dallas-Fort Worth airport where we stayed until the following afternoon before boarding our flight to Paris. That was certainly better than back-to-back red-eyes, but I chafed at what seemed like a waste of 36 hours and fretted the whole time.

The fact is, no matter what arrangements we make, it will be four precious vacation days before we can walk around Paris without looking and feeling like jet-lagged zombies.

The flight back home is totally different. Traveling with the sun, we can leave Paris at 7:45 in the morning and get back home in time for a late dinner on the same day.

Is that weird, or what?