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Happy New Year everyone! It’s good to see 2007 since ’06 decided to go out with a bang, bringing us the snowstorm, windstorm, and locust biblical combo pack. Two days after we got power I had to leave Seattle for two gigs in Kona, which went over very well with my wife. “Sweety, it’s 34 degrees, there’s hardly any food in the fridge, and the kids are getting colds. Well, I gotta head to paradise for a few days. Okay buhbye.” I’m kind of a workaholic that way. So I kissed my frozen family good bye and headed south and west.
From Honolulu to Kona I had my first Go! Airline experience. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, back in June Go! Airline started providing inter-island air service in Hawaii and is known for having incredibly cheap fares. As a matter of fact, the cab to the airport cost more than the flight. And the cab ride took longer.
Go! has caused a lot of controversy because of their insane idea that offering a product to people at a price they can afford is an acceptable way to do business in today’s America . Their fares are usually between $29 and $39 one way. Sometimes they go even lower than that. If you can fly the plane it’s only $5. At first I was so excited to get such a great fare and then I realized that there are certain things you don’t necessarily want hugely discounted, like airline flights, wiring contractors, and brain surgery. If your brain surgeon said to you “We’ll be performing a computer guided stereotactic biopsy on you, all for the low low price of $40! $35 if you pay cash,” you would be, to say the least, a tad concerned. Hence my trepidation. I guess I just wanted to know that the mechanic makes more than a Wal-Mart greeter. By the way, successful $40 brain surgery helps you write sentences like “Hence my trepidation.”
The plane is essentially a Taurus Wagon with wings. It supposedly holds 19 people, unless there are Samoan or Hawaiian males on board, then the number drops to about four or five. The seats were designed by the same company that makes potty seats for toddlers. I actually had to be wedged into my seat by a giant shoe horn and coconut oil. If you are taller than 5’2” you will bump your head on something. Consider yourself warned. On arrival two ramp employees retrieve the bags by picking up the plane and shaking it until all the luggage falls out.
There are no freebies on Go! Every beverage costs money. No free P.O.G., that tasty tropical mix of sugar, water, and pink food coloring. I believe the cheapest offering is for 75 cents you can lick an ice cube. So if you don’t want to up your air expenses to $31, you have to tough it out and wait the whole 22 minutes till you land to drink something. I’m happy to say that through instincts and sheer will I was able to survive. Also, the inflight magazine is the newspaper left by the person on the flight before you. Other than that, feel free to read the air sickness bag (which is actually just a plastic bag from Sac-N-Save).
The safety announcement is pre-recorded, oddly enough, by locals. There is a lot of pidgin, which made me worry for the tourists on the flight. I’m not sure they were truly briefed. “Eh, een case dis bugga go down da teeng you stay seetin on goin float, bra! Just grab ‘em and paddle mauka.” Okay, so it wasn’t that bad, but for a mainlander, any pidgin sounds foreign.
Will Go! suffer the fate of other failed airlines like Mid Pacific Air, Mahalo Air, and Kimo’s Cropdusters R Us Air? Who knows? But at least for a while you can be sure that your cousin on Maui will see more of you than he wants to, and his passive aggressive hints that maybe you should space these visits out more can be ignored because $39 is a small price to pay to truly annoy family.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still fly Hawaiian and Aloha. There’s something about seat assignments, free P.O.G., and a flight attendant who isn’t wearing swim shorts that appeals to me. But if you want to rough it; fly Greyhound style; or feel like you’re camping three miles in the air, then by all means, my friend, try Go!
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