Maui to Los Angeles: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

For as long as I can remember, American Airlines has operated two non-stops a day between Maui and Los Angeles. One leaves in the early afternoon and gets to L.A. at about 9:30 p.m. The other is a red-eye. This time, even using miles, I was able to book the earlier flight and we took off from Maui right on time for the five-hour hop to LAX.

There was no meal service, of course. Those days are long gone. Instead, after perusing an attractive menu, I chose a “Fruit and Cheese Tray” and a glass of chardonnay. The fruit tray consisted of eleven grapes, six paper-thin half-dollar-size crackers, and three pieces of cheese, each the size of a matchbook. It cost $10. The wine was $7 and was room temperature.

After “dinner”, I spent a few minutes looking through the copy of American Way, their in-flight magazine. This used to be a first-class, quality magazine with sophisticated design and articles that were worth reading. No more. The current version has half the number of pages, the layout is a mishmash, and most of the content promotes destinations to which American flies. It’s a damn shame. (By contrast, I must say that Hana Hou!, the in-flight magazine of Hawaiian Airlines, is an absolutely beautiful publication, worthy of anyone’s coffee table.)
But getting back to last night’s flight, in the only review that really matters, it was the very best kind: uneventful.
LAX was something else, however. There is major construction going on within the facility, even at 9:30 last night when I emerged from Baggage Claim and stepped to the curb. The circulating traffic was a nightmare: hotel shuttles, rent-a-car vans, people picking up friends and relatives all creeping along and creating a cacophony of honking horns and screeching brakes, all punctuated by cops waving their arms and blowing their whistles. Tempers were fraying everywhere. It took me 40 minutes from the time I first phoned for a pick-up until I actually made it to the Hacienda Hotel, my usual home-away-from-home here when passing through Los Angeles.
The Hacienda is by no stretch of the imagination, a luxury facility. So why do I always stay here?
My flight to London doesn’t leave until almost 8:00 this evening, so I asked for a late check-out when I came in last night.
“I can give you until two o’clock”, said the man behind the counter.
“I really need to keep my room until about 5:00,” I said.
“No problem.” (Clickety-click on the key pad.) “Enjoy your stay with us, sir.”
That’s why.