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Big Island Airports

Minneapolis...
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Big Island Airports

A lot of posters have commented about how much they dislike KOA, but I don't think I've ever seen any comments about ITO. Is that because far fewer travelers fly into/out of ITO vs. KOA, or is KOA just really that much worse than ITO?

LA
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1. Re: Big Island Airports

I love KOA. What do people complain about?

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: Big Island Airports

Me too ... I was surprised to read your post. More information please

Minneapolis...
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3. Re: Big Island Airports

I think what I've predominantly read is that there is nothing to do at the airport once you've checked in...nowhere to eat, no decent place to wait, etc. Glad to see that there are people who like it!

San Carlos...
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4. Re: Big Island Airports

KOA is awful! The last thing I want to do at the end of my vacation is sit outside in hot humid weather waiting to board the plane. For people who are older or who have small kids it's a real pain getting up the stairway and into the plane with luggage etc. There is one small bar/restaurant that is usually crowded. It is what it is I suppose, but it makes Maui and Kauai airports feel so much more comfortable by comparison.

California
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5. Re: Big Island Airports

"I love KOA. What do people complain about?"

Probably because there isn't a very comfortable place to wait. A couple of weeks ago we flew out of Hilo for the first time, and I was very impressed. The car rental return is directly across from the terminal, so you just turn in your car and it's a short walk to check in. Very convenient. After you check your luggage, there is a large waiting area with very comfortable padded chairs.

I think it's a good idea to fly into Kona and fly out of Hilo. It didn't cost us any more to do this. The only problem was that we had to fly to Honolulu and transfer to fly on to the mainland.

Big Island, Hawaii
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for Island of Hawaii
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6. Re: Big Island Airports

KOA has a charm because it's open air, but yeah, the downside of that is it's hot.

Hilo is a much more comfortable airport if you have to wait, it's spacious and usually less crowded. Also the flights in and out are very scenic with the Hamakua scenery and going over Mauna Kea. I now live roughly equidistant between the two airports so I just started flying out of Hilo regularly for the first time since I moved here 15+ years ago, and I greatly prefer it.

California
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for Oahu
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7. Re: Big Island Airports

You understand that these two airports aren't particularly alternatives for each other, yes? They are hours of highway from each other ... on opposite sides of a massive Island.

Minneapolis...
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8. Re: Big Island Airports

BLBL -- Yeah, I understand that!!

Kona
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9. Re: Big Island Airports

For those who prefer natural rather than controlled environments (and I am one of them), KOA is a very nice little airport. I don't care for being forced to hang out in climate-controlled environments, especially in Hawaii where the temperatures are never that hot. After all, you're soon going to have to spend hours in a climate-controlled flying sardine tin. I want every last bit of nice tropical air I can get before submitting myself to that!

My favorite airport in Hawaii is the one on Molokai lol . . .

I hope the powers that be never "upgrade" KOA - I think it's just fine the way it is. The only improvement I would make is to find a better food vendor for the one place to eat there.

Albuquerque, New...
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10. Re: Big Island Airports

When we fly to the Big Island from Maui, we always land in Hilo/reverse when flying to Maui: Beautiful scenery. Btw, Discount Hawaii Car Rental, as well as Costco, is almost always able to find a rental with no drop fee between ITO & KOA.

Among the major airports in Hawaii, only KOA lacks a crosswind runway (even Molokai has one!). Landing at Kona, when an alternative strip is needed, is one of Hawaii's better free adrenaline rushes. For example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PdUdaXDHm4