Airport visitor information: Not so much

The last time I checked, our state is still heavily dependent on visitors who make up our largest industry.

So I’m still shocked to see the empty “visitor information” counters at airports across the sate.

The top photo was taken in Kahului in January.


The bottom photo was taken a week ago in Honolulu.

Both flights were mid-day, prime time arrivals.

When we fly to Portland, a much smaller airport, visitor information desks are staffed by volunteers who are both friendly and extremely helpful, providing info on airport transportation, a quick primer on the local rail system, and so on.

In Honolulu, not so much.


Surprisingly, the Honolulu Airport website claims a robust visitor information program:

Visitor Information staff are available from 4:30 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. (Hawaii time) daily to assist travelers with questions, comments or concerns. Information desks are located throughout the airport.

That certainly hasn’t been our experience.

So what’s the real story? It’s looking to me like another embarrassing lapse that adds to the impression that Hawaii’s Airports Division just isn’t up to playing in the big leagues.

13 responses to “Airport visitor information: Not so much

  1. But just look at the emperor’s beautiful robes and jewels! Can’t you see them?

  2. Seems like staffing expense should come out of the Hawaii Tourism Dollars budget, Mike McCarthy, .it’s like clean bathrooms, the State misses the small important things that impresses the tourist…

  3. One more thing Ian, I love when you step off the plane from the mainland and after a 6 to 9 hour flight have absolutely NO IDEA what to do next. Locals know to wait outside for the Wiki Wiki but what are first timers supposed to do? Even if the bus is there waiting (which it almost never is) what’s it there for? Am I supposed to get on it? Where is it taking me? Why is it so hard to make our visitors first experience pleasant and helpful?

  4. Aloha, and hope you brought your own toilet paper. Nothing says welcome to the Third World like getting off a plane in Honolulu.

  5. Nice posture, terrible if not nil execution.

  6. In the thrity years I’ve been flying in and out of island airports, I can’t remember EVER seeing one of these booths with someone in them.

  7. I’ve left a message for Mike McCartney to check out this website.

  8. At kona they have no flight monitors. Every airport i have ever been in has a bank of tvs with flight info. Kona doesnt need a bank of tvs. It needs 2 or three that cover the flights and gates etc they have some from the seventies that are on sometimes but show some blue screen with a blinking cursor.
    Also what about free wifi and phone charging areas. This id the 21 st century. I have seen were thry have removed plugs or blocked them from use. How petty and un professional!

  9. The logic is classic island style. “Let’s see…….the only huge industry besides hosting the military is attracting tourists. I guess we better empty the information desks.” I no kea trumps Aloha. Checkmate.

    The logic that we cannot afford it is like a lamp shop turning off the electricity because rates are high.

  10. Lets not forget that legislators are getting pay raises. You can’t accuse them of not having priorities!

  11. Never mind the info booths in the Kahului Airport; let’s just get the people-movers fixed and working! (So says he with a titanium knee.)

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