Mokulele Airlines Review and Tips

Mokulele Airlines Review and Tips

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Our Mokulele Airlines Review is from our recent experience flying between Honolulu and Lanai. Previously, Hawaiian Airlines used to fly this route, but it was a casualty of the pandemic. That left Mokulele Airlines as the only commercial flight operating to and from Lanai, although most of our clients fly on Lanai Air, which fortunately is complimentary for Four Seasons Lanai stays that are booked by 8/31/22 for stays prior to 12/31/22 (see Four Seasons Lanai: Lanai Air Offer Extended).

Booking

We reserved our flights online about 5 months in advance, paying $69 one way between Honolulu HNL and Lanai LNY, and $84 per ticket for the other two (always search for tickets one at a time, as you may be able to secure one or more of them at a lower rate than the others).
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Getting to the Mokulele Airlines Terminal

We arrived in Terminal 1 on an inter-island Hawaiian Airlines flight and noted that on the flight monitors Mokulele Airlines flies out of H1. What's not spelled out on the monitors is that Mokulele Airlines operates out of another terminal, Terminal 3, so you need to exit the terminal and take a complimentary airport shuttle to Mokulele Airlines. The shuttle only comes every 15-20 minutes, although the actual ride there is quite short, about 5-7 minutes. Mokulele requires passengers to have checked in at least 15 minutes prior to flight departure, but take the possible long wait for an airport shuttle into account if you're transiting from another terminal at HNL.

Honolulu Airport Shuttle to Mokulele Airlines Terminal 3

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Mokulele Airlines Check-in and Wait

Our originally booked flight had a 12 noon departure time, but unfortunately the flight time changed to a later time without our being notified. A different flight departed at our originally scheduled time, but as it was full, we were unable to be moved to it. During check-in we were asked for our weight, including hand luggage, in order to correctly balance the aircraft. Passengers are permitted to take a bag of no more than 15 pounds with them on board, although you'll need to place it on your lap since there's minimal legroom and of course no overhead compartment on these small Cessna aircraft. Other luggage goes into the hold. Because seating has to take into account passengers' weight, there's no assigned seating (and no boarding passes). Interestingly, there was no security screening either. On the upside, that means that it's no problem to bring water aboard, no one will chastise you for having containers of more than 3 ounces of water or other liquid.

Try not to arrive more than 30 minutes or so before your scheduled departure, as the shaded seating area is limited, and there's no food apart from packaged snacks sold in a vending machine.

Mokulele Airlines Check-In, Terminal 3, Honolulu Airport

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Mokulele Airlines Flight, Honolulu to Lanai

You need to wait until Mokulele Airlines staff call your flight; the monitors above the check-in desk provide automated information, so our flight indicated that it was “boarding” even though it hadn't even been called, due to additional departure delays.

Once our flight was called, we lined up outside in the sun (bring a hat) by a staff member with a clipboard, who called us to line up in the order in which we were to sit. Everything went well until he called my husband's name, which was different from his actual name. Not sure how this got messed up since I'd booked online with the correct name, but the staffer had to go back and sort that out before we could proceed.

Boarding is from a very short door at the rear of the aircraft, so tall people: be careful when entering. My teen and I were seated in row 2 of this Cessna 208 Caravan, while my husband was in the very back seat bench; the aircraft accommodates a maximum of nine passengers. The seat backs are short, so don't expect to be able to lean your head back, unless you're a child.

Seating on Mokulele Airlines Flight

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It took about 10-15 minutes of sitting on the tarmac and taxiing until we took off, after which we enjoyed some good views of the Oahu coastline, including Punchbowl Crater:

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The ascent was a bit bumpy, but after 7-8 minutes the ride became significantly smoother. Just under 20 minutes later we were approaching Lanai:

Approach to Lanai on Mokulele Airlines

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Our arrival into Lanai was quicker, with no waiting around, since it's a tiny airport. A Lanai Air Pilatus PC-12 was departing just as we arrived.

Lanai Air Pilatus Aircraft

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The Verdict

If you can take advantage of the complimentary Lanai Air offer for a stay at Four Seasons Lanai, we highly recommend doing so, since we had a mediocre experience with Mokulele Air. We were never notified of the change in flight time of our outbound flight from Honolulu to Lanai, and our actual wheels up time was over a hour after our originally booked flight time. The seating area in the Mokulele Air terminal is cramped, and because it requires a shuttle ride to get there, it's not nearly as convenient as waiting in the Four Seasons Lanai lounge in Honolulu Airport prior to a Lanai Air flight (although chances are you won't even have to spend time in the lounge on arrival into Honolulu, as Lanai Air coordinates its departure with your arriving flight). Fortunately the actual flight time is only about half an hour, although it's longer than the previous Hawaiian Airlines flight, which was only about 20 minutes. That said, the Mokulele staff we interacted with were nice, and we never had to wait long on hold to get through to the call center. We're crossing fingers that our return flight will be on time.

If you've flown Mokulele Airlines, what was your experience?

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