During our recent vacation we took an interisland flight from Honolulu to Lihue on Kauai. The Honolulu terminal is laid-back, to put it mildly. I’ve boarded from the tarmac elsewhere and it’s usually very clear where you can and can’t walk; with barricades, and people blocking your path and pointing which way to go.
Not so in Honolulu. The boarding area is rectangular, with one wall facing the tarmac and a series of doors, each a different gate. When you go through the gate and surrender your ticket, they tell you nothing about where to go next. You are standing on the tarmac facing a whole bunch of planes. Each gate leads to roughly the same place, with no wayfinding or anything to guide your passage to the plane itself.
We looked at the different logos and figured which gathering of small planes would be the one from our airline and we started wandering that way. Some passengers were cutting across the open paved space, others were walking along the edges. Eventually we found some ground crew who tried to figure out which plane we should be on; but the interaction was so slack that clearly this was not part of their ordinary role.
It hardly seemed safe; it absolutely wasn’t secure, and it was ridiculous customer service. There’s a difference between the Aloha Spirit and just leaving people to fend for themselves with no information or guidance. I wasn’t impressed.