What Not to Do After Arriving at Honolulu Airport


Your flight to Honolulu is almost here, you’re excited, and not thinking clearly, we get it. Paradise has that affect on people, especially when it’s their first (or second, etc.) time on the island. However, you want to make sure that your first few hours go as smooth as possible because after all it sets the tone for your entire trip. The good news is that by finding this article you won’t fall victim to some of the common mistakes that newcomers make soon after arriving at HNL. Let’s review!

5 Common Mistakes People Make On or Prior to Their Arrival at Honolulu International Airport

1. Not Pre-Booking a Direct Shuttle

Adventurous souls may prefer to wing it when it comes to transportation from their destination airport to their accommodations. This can work perfectly fine for some of the other airports found along the Hawaiian island chain, but not this one. It’s not as simple as stepping out of baggage claim and into fresh island air where your chariot awaits, unless you’ve pre-booked it ahead of time. Otherwise, you’ll be scrambling amongst the other arrivals to find a shared shuttle. You may not get to leave the airport for quite some time, and will have to make numerous stops along the way until you get to your hotel or rental. That’s a big waste of time.

What about the other options? Baggage claim does not lead you directly to the designated ride-hailing (Uber/Lyft) pickup zones, and that’s just the tip of the pineapple when it comes to why you should avoid that transportation alternative from HNL. Then there’s the standard taxis all vying for your attention, all of which have expensive fares far exceeding what you should have to pay. While there are many great car rental options on Oahu, its not a quick and easy experience from HNL, so you had best save that for after you’ve checked into your hotel. Lastly, those who had grand ambitions for taking city transit quickly find out it’s the worst possible way to get from the airport to anywhere on Oahu.

Leave the mistakes to the other mainlanders and enjoy the cheap, stress free, and easy breezy comfort of a flat rate direct shuttle to usher you and your party to Waikiki, Kapolei, or wherever you need.

2. Booking a Night Flight When Staying on the North Shore

First of all, kudos to you for choosing to stay on the most magical part of Oahu. Whether staying in a Haleiwa or Pupukea rental, or Turtle Bay, you’re going to have the time of your life. There’s only one hitch – late night HNL arrivals.

Unlike the resort districts of Waikiki and Kapolei, the North Shore pretty much closes up shop around 9 PM. We’re talking crickets (the chickens are already fast asleep). Many people fly to Oahu on an evening schedule out of initial convenience, but that puts them into HNL around 9 PM or later. By the time luggage has been collected and bathroom trips are made, you’re looking at a 10 PM trek out of the airport and an 11 PM deposit in Haleiwa, Pupukea, or Kahuku. Kamehameha and surrounding roads are pitch black at that time aside from a few street lamps here and there, making it tricky to navigate and figure out for newcomers. While completely safe, some will feel uneasy given the quiet darkness, making a car rental a less preferred prospect. In addition, many ride-hailing drivers and taxis don’t venture over to the North Shore so late.

Now we know that the price of a night flight from the mainland to HNL can be hundreds (even thousands for families) of dollars cheaper than the alternative. And while we suggest a daytime flight if staying on the North Shore, we completely understand why that may not be an option. That’s why we have made our direct service available to HNL arrivals needing to get to the North Shore no matter the time of day. Learn more about getting from Honolulu Airport to the North Shore and why Honolulu Airport Transfer is the only way to go, especially if arriving at night.

3. Filling Up at the Airport

Airplane food rarely cuts it (unless you’re flying first class), and you’ve arrived at HNL hungry. The first instinct is to grab a bite to eat after getting off of the plane, especially if you only have carry-on baggage with you. While there are some decent dining options at HNL, it doesn’t compare to what awaits within minutes of the airport. Grab some Macadamia nuts from the airport to tide you over and save your appetite for some real island-style food in town. That first taste is all the first impression you need to make your trip a memorable one.

4. Buying Stuff at the Airport

Resist the urge to buy necessities such as toiletries and such from the airport as the markup is high. Wait until you get to your destination. Aside from the North Shore, you’ll find an ABC Store or Long’s Drugs nearby that will be open until midnight or 24-hours (i.e. this Kalakaua location). And that cool looking souvenir at the gift shop? They have it in town (etc) too, along with a much better selection and better price. In fact, some of the best shopping on Oahu is located near HNL, so hang tight and hang on to your wallet until then.

5. Rushing

We can’t help but giggle when we see people rushing out of the airport, looking like they’re late for an important business meeting with bags in tow. We know you’re excited, but remember than you’re on Oahu now. And that means you’re on island time. Take off your in-flight shoes and put on your slippers (flip flops to some) and take your time. You may be used to rushing out of the airports on the mainland to beat the crowds and traffic, but you can leave all of that behind when on Oahu. Breathe in the sweet island air, smell the plumeria and hibiscus, and casually walk up to your direct shuttle as we await on the curb, leis in hand, to greet you with ALOHA.

If you have any further questions about transportation from Honolulu Airport to any Oahu destination, do not hesitate to contact Honolulu Airport Transfer toll-free 1-800-929-1219 or locally at 808-227-1111 at your convenience. You’re making the right decision.