We should have arrived at The Westin St Francis around 8:30 – 9:00pm. There were five of us travelling together (my family) and we’d decided we’d just do a quiet dinner and get to sleep earlyish after a big day of travelling.
Well, that didn’t happen. We arrived at Honolulu airport to complete our journey to California which had been broken with an overnight stop, with one hour and forty five minutes before the flight. Being a domestic flight, one would imagine this was plenty of time. It wasn’t. We arrived, checked in and joined the queue for security, this is where it all went wrong. We were in that queue for a while, then we were moved to the back of another queue. We waited and waited and finally were taken through security which also took ages. HNL is a bit massive so we then began the trek to the gate. We’d really quickened the pace by now but I hadn’t actually checked the time, I mean we were checked in and our bags on board. We had not heard our names called so we were moving quickly but not with panic. We were stopped again, at an agriculture station where our bags and selves were scanned to see if we were trying to take contraband fruit from the island. We raced to our gate and as we entered the staff member at the Hawaiian Airlines desk looked at us in a way that could only be described as with contempt.
“You missed it.”
We’re Australian. In Australia you don’t miss a plane in this manner. If you have checked in and your bags are on board they will scream at you over the loudspeaker that you must make your way to the gate immediately. They will do this repeatedly. And if you still do not show up, they will then begin the process of offloading your bags. But I digress – we were in America and you can miss a plane like it ain’t no thang. We asked – we missed the flight by two minutes. They hadn’t even began to separate the thing that attaches the plane to the airport. It was so bloody ridiculous, a total of eleven people ended up missing that flight due to whatever the hell it was making everything take forever that day. She told us she could put us on a flight the next day. We asked her about accommodation, what we had already paid for in San Francisco and what we would have to pay in Honolulu. She basically told us she did not care about any of that. I asked her about flights to San Jose, Oakland and Los Angeles. She said there was a San Jose flight that we could get on but it would cost $1,000 per head. We flustered ab0ut not knowing what to do and she told us to go away, that she had another flight to open and didn’t have time to deal with us. We went to the gate for the San Jose flight and we met with more roadblocks. The attendant here seemed frightened of us or something and I was watching the clock like a hawk knowing that if this flight closed we were screwed. In the end I had a little hissy fit and demanded a manager come out. The manager finally came out and we got on that flight for $100 per head (we would have paid at least this for overnight accommodation in HNL) and we just made it on only about five minutes before the flight closed – people were lined up and getting on and our boarding passes still weren’t printed!
There was one glitch. The flight was full so four of the tickets were in First Class and one was in Coach, I sat back in Coach. I knew my husband had to work on this flight plus I’m just super generous I guess! I always travel Coach/Economy but this flight ended up being a real corker so I was definitely taking one for the team; my seat was broken and wouldn’t recline, the guy in front spent the entire flight reclined and someone behind me pulled out a salami to snack on. We booked a car while we were in the line to get on board and we had a very smooth transition off the plane and into the car at San Jose – we had only what was in our hands as our bags had gone onto San Francisco. We had hoped we’d arrive in time to collect them there but the San Jose flight had sat on the runway for just over an over before taking off so we’d missed the desk to collect our bags. We decided to still drop the car off at SFO and get rid of it, then jumped in a cab to the hotel.
We finally arrived at The Westin St Francis at 1:30am and after all that thank goodness it was a warm welcome!
This hotel is just gorgeous. Before becoming a Westin, The St Francis on Union Square has been a celebrated destination since 1904. I have heard that the rooms in the historic part of the hotel are on the small side but we were in the new tower and the room was very big for a city hotel room I thought. The service was really fantastic, we did not encounter one member of staff who wasn’t approachable and professional. And the lobby was something else, transferring us into the grandeur of the past but with comtemporary luxury.
The glass outdoor elevators offered the most incredible views of San Francisco although it took me almost the entire stay to actually look out while we went up or door – I have a little aversion to heights!
The location at Union Square is so awesome and when we got a cable car back to the hotel from Lombard Street we jumped out right at the door but Union Square itself was fully under construction so we didn’t see any of it. It looks nice in pictures though and the Macy’s opposite is a humdinger.
We would definitely return, this was a truly memorable hotel stay.