MAUI OR BUST.....The Search, The Plan, The Story

Blog Post created by iahflyr on Sep 18, 2017

Some of you Insiders know we've been searching and searching for just the right time to be able to head back to Hawaii and in fact our favorite of the islands, Maui on points (air and land) from our home in The Woodlands, Texas.  About five months ago it all came together where I found a five night stay exactly where we wanted to be at the   Lahaina Beach Resort | Marriott's Maui Ocean Club - Lahaina & Napili Towers so I booked it.  Now to find how to get there as don't want to sit in Economy anything for a flight to Hawaii and I would rather not have a stop in Honolulu (HNL) to change planes then on to Maui (OGG), so it's First Class reward tickets or so I thought.


Let the search begin!!


  • Fly United's really old domestic B772 (Boeing) from Houston (IAH) to HNL with 1/2 the First Class lie flat seats that face backwards

Boeing 777 version 3 United Airlines seat map

and 180,000 miles/person.......ahhhhh not my idea of fun. 


  • MMMMM, let me check American, but gotta change in Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) then non-stop to OGG, not bad except I've got not nearly enough miles in an Advantage Account to do that and the fare at the time was $2,835/person so that is not going to be something the bank account likes.
  • Delta out

  • Ahhh, get to the west coast and check Hawaiian Airlines.  Hey, they've got lie flat seats on an A332 (Airbus) from San Francisco once a day non-stop to OGG and you get there early enough to almost have all afternoon at the resort.  Okay, to connect all that and then find a way home with the least amount of connections and wasted time in airports.
  • United OGG-SFO-IAH, now I like that and all of it in a really great pre-merger Continental B752 with lie flat seats AND about an hour connect in SFO........PURRRFECT


Now to make all the dots line up:


  • United afternoon flight, 2:52 PM IAH-SFO arriving at 5:00 PM
  • Stay at the Hotels Near San Francisco Airport | San Francisco Airport Marriottfor the night
  • Next day Hawaiian Airlines, 10:20 AM SFO-OGG arriving at 12:45 PM
  • United evening flight home, 8:45 PM OGG-SFO arriving at 4:45 AM then
  • United morning flight, 6 AM IAH-SFO arriving at 11:56 AM


A few days of tinkering with the dates back and forth as the Marriott Resort was available to check-in for the five night stay on three different dates and it was all done.  Dirt cheap First Class tickets on Hawaiian tied it all together as well as the IAH-SFO outbound leg got to use saver award tickets in conjunction with the normal miles for the return.


Alright lets get ready to go and let the excitement grow as time approaches.....ahhhhh wait just a minute.  A few issues cropped up that had to be dealt with and so the trip was in serious jeopardy of being cancelled.  For some very strange reason when I booked the Hawaiian tickets I also did something I'd never done before, bought insurance for those non-refundable tickets due to the connection from a different airline.  Whew am I ever glad I did that if we had to cancel this trip.   As the time draws near for having to make a decision based upon cancelling of the hotel 21 days ahead in Maui all the issues have been dealt with and we are back on track to go.....get the island wear ready and lets get excited again.


How about another wrench tossed into the mix just for added fun and entertainment.  Hurricane Harvey (rat bast) decided to come a callin' in South Texas and sent an ocean of rain into the Houston Metropolitan area for about four days.  Thankfully our home and surrounding area did not flood after all the rain had fallen, but disaster had struck all around to thousands (you saw the TV footage) where so many had lost everything they owned, home, car, job and some lives.  Most of us in the Houston area know of some if not many who were put in this situation and this is the week before we are to leave for Maui......are you kidding, leave town for a vacation of fun and relaxation while so many are dealing with flooded homes and worse.  Oh then for added pleasure the airports are closed and thousands of flights cancelled for days.  This isn't happening, but sadly it was.


Once again this trip is being put on hold and thoughts/prayers of what to do are frequently running though my head. Okay, make a contingency plan just in case we do go:


  • Cannot be sure our flight will even go as United was not close to running a full schedule from IAH
  • Look at flying from close by airports such as Austin, San Antonio or DFW
  • Book a rental car before they are all gone since so many vehicles went under water in flood waters
  • Find a flight into SFO the night before we are to depart for Maui and get refundable tickets (oh joy)


After many discussions with friends both here (some who had water in their homes) and around the country we decided to not postpone this trip as both my Wife and I need it and everyone told us to go.  With tickets from DFW-SFO on American (stupidly low price for First Class seats less than a week before the flight full fare tickets) and a rental car for the one way drive to DFW in hand we waited and watched to see if United would get their schedule at IAH up and running again in order for us to fly out of there.


Now it's a day before we are to leave and it's still a **** shoot as IAH-SFO flights have been cancelled down to only a few leaving day and how do you know if you are going to get lucky or not.  I made a command decision (something I don't get to do often at all) that if our flight the day before did in fact cancel then it was an omen that on our travel day it would cancel again.  We are driving north.  Called United and they agreed to cancel the IAH flight, but keep the return in tact.   Before we could leave town we had to go visit some friends who had six feet of water in their newly remodeled home in Kingwood, Texas, near Lake Houston (nationwide knows the area well) to help them tear down walls and clean up water, dirt, mud, you name it plus to deliver some 20 meals that my Son donated from the eating establishment he works in order to feed the helpers.  I cannot even being to explain how devastating to that family and so many more in that small community not to even mention so many others in all of Texas due to the hurricane.....


With our two roll-a-boards in the trunk off we went to DFW early the next morning, allowing some six hours to make the 3 hour and 30 minute drive north (I'd rather get a root canal with no pain killer than drive an hour), turn in the rental car, get on the bus to the terminal and get some down time in the Centurion Lounge before boarding our flight at 12:30 PM. 


Here is a write-up from the Insider AV Geek thread I posted earlier.........


Three different airlines from Dallas-Ft. Worth (DFW) to San Francisco (SFO) to Maui-Kahului (OGG) to Houston Intercontinental (IAH) all in First Class.


Sunday DFW-SFO on an AA321, 1:00 PM Departure with Flight time 3 Hours and 24minutes

  • Comfortable lie flat seats and clean cabin
  • Two rounds of pre-departure drinks
  • AVOD selection average
  • Excellent service and food
  • You can select your meal 30 days ahead
  • I selected the Greek Salad that came with Chicken Breast and yes this was lunch, everything was fabulous
  • Flight Attendants personable and friendly who kept your glass full of your preferred beverages


  • Flight departed on time and arrived early

Monday SFO-OGG on an HA A332, 10:20 AM Departure with Flight time 5 hours and 1 minute

  • Comfortable lie flat seats with spacious seating area and very clean cabin
  • Two rounds of pre-departure Mai Thai's or Champagne
  • Each First Class passenger provided iPad for personal entertainment
  • Excellent service and food
  • We selected one of each entree and they were very well prepared and good
  • Drinks kept coming as long as you wanted them from very attentive happy friendly Flight Attendants


  • Flight on time

Saturday OGG-SFO on a UA B752, 8:45 PM Deparrture with Flight time 4 hours and 48 minutes

  • Comfortable lie flat seats and clean cabin
  • Pre-departure beveage
  • AVOD selection average
  • Excellent service and food along with the return of cloth place-mates on tray for UA
  • Flight Attendants did not bother you during the overnight flight, but where happy to serve you if you wanted more drinks

       (Very interesting item....had selected gluten free food on Mrs. IAH MileagePlus account profile six months ago as she                  wanted to try gluten free meals on flights that offered special meals of which there are not many so I forgot about it.  Well          guess what, UA had a gluten free meal for her and it was wonderful.  Nicely done UA.....bravo)

  • Flight departed early and arrived early

Sunday SFO-IAH on a UA B752, 6:00 AM Deparrture with Flight time 3 hours and 46 minutes

  • Same exact airplane as from OGG-SFO, N17104
  • Comfortable lie flat seats and clean cabin
  • Pre-departure beverage
  • AVOD selection average
  • Excellent service and food along with the return of cloth place-mates on tray for UA
  • Very polite friendly professional Flight Attendants
  • Flight departed early and arrived early



All three legs of this trip were great with TSA Pre-Check only being a slight delay at SFO due to about three to few TSA Agents and those who were on duty were overly slow, unfriendly except for the fella checking ID's and had three wheel chair passengers to check.


Rating these three airlines on these flights.......TIE.