We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
21 posts
Save Topic
7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

Hi! I am travelling in a couple of weeks from Brisbane to New York with a 7 hour layover in Honolulu from 8am to 3pm. I was wondering:

1. How long it would take to clear customs and all other security?

2. What can I do in this waiting period? I have an 18 hour layover on the way home, so I plan to do Waikiki then. I was hoping to sit on the beach for a while; are there any suggestions to the closest beach? I realise that both my arrival and departure times lie in peak hours, so traffic will be horrific. I was also looking at Ala Moana Park; would this be advisable for this time period?

Many Thanks! :)

Mentioned in this post
Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane Region, Australia
New York
New York
United States
California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
46,046 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

Sorry to answer your questions with a question ... but will you be able to re-check your luggage right away after clearing customs? I am finding that some airlines only let you check your bags ... maybe 3 or 4 hours in advance of your flight. There is no security leaving the airport.

When you consider the time it takes to deplane, go through customs ... and then hopefully re-check your bags right away - your 7 hours begin to fade. If you do leave the airport, you'll need to be back 2 hours in advance of your flight to the Mainland. It sounds to me, best case scenario, that your layover is at best 4 hours. Understandably, the airport is in an industrial area. You could grab a cab and go to a local restaurant. We can give you ideas if you simply want to break away from the airport for a couple hours.

Your 18-hour layover on the way home is a different story. For starters, there will be no customs - so you need to make sure that your bags are checked all the way to Australia when you board the plane to Hawaii.

Waikiki IS the beach - and that area is great to kill time. Eat, shop, sit on the beach. Go to the zoo. Browse some iconic hotels. You can even take the bus to a major (and I mean major!) shopping center.

Don't worry about the traffic - just plan for it.

California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
46,046 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

Sorry to answer your questions with a question ... but will you be able to re-check your luggage right away after clearing customs? I am finding that some airlines only let you check your bags ... maybe 3 or 4 hours in advance of your flight. There is no security leaving the airport.

When you consider the time it takes to deplane, go through customs ... and then hopefully re-check your bags right away - your 7 hours begin to fade. If you do leave the airport, you'll need to be back 2 hours in advance of your flight to the Mainland. It sounds to me, best case scenario, that your layover is at best 4 hours. Understandably, the airport is in an industrial area. You could grab a cab and go to a local restaurant. We can give you ideas if you simply want to break away from the airport for a couple hours.

Your 18-hour layover on the way home is a different story. For starters, there will be no customs - so you need to make sure that your bags are checked all the way to Australia when you board the plane to Hawaii.

Waikiki IS the beach - and that area is great to kill time. Eat, shop, sit on the beach. Go to the zoo. Browse some iconic hotels. You can even take the bus to a major (and I mean major!) shopping center.

Don't worry about the traffic - just plan for it.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
21 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

Thank you for your reply!

I emailed Hawaiian Airlines about checking in luggage for the connecting flight, and they said that because both flights (BNE - Honolulu and Honolulu - NYC) are with Hawaiian Airlines, they will automatically check in the baggage for me. So that should mean I only need to clear my carry ons, correct? :)

So you would suggest not to head to Waikiki then on my 7 hour layover, nor the Ala Moana Park? Would I be able to get in any shopping at all on the 7 hour? It is just that my 18 hour stop over is from 3pm to 7am, so I will not have too much time to sight-see and shop on the layover home.

Mentioned in this post
California
Destination Expert
for Oahu
Level Contributor
46,046 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

<<So that should mean I only need to clear my carry ons, correct? :)>> I doubt it. Doesn't make sense to me. Perhaps others of our Aussie friends will chime in.

The real question is ... if you have to fetch (all) of your luggage and go through customs - will HA let you re-check the bags right away when you are done. Or will you have to wait until closer to your flight to NY.

My point is that your 7-hour layover is - if you are lucky - 4 hours. That's not a reasonable window go back and forth to Waikiki or Ala Moana Park - and enjoy it. And just how hot and sweaty to you want to get before a 10-hour (?) flight to NY.

I see your issue with the 18-hour layover ... but you can hop off the plane and into a cab! If you plan - for example - to leave Waikiki by 11:00 pm - you'll have a good 7 hours there at least. Waikiki is gorgeous at night. We can recommend dinner spots if you like.

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
50 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

We will have the same stopover also on the way to th mainland, we plan spending our time checking out the pearlridge shopping centre (very close by) - less than 10km away - do a google as they seem to have some good shops and close to the airport and shouldn't be to bad with the traffic

Kelowna, Canada
Level Contributor
1,212 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

You will have to collect all your luggage and once you've cleared customs you'll recheck it through. We always have to do this leaving Canada and arriving in Seattle for our connecting flights. It's just a simple matter of going through customs and going to the next counter and dropping them off again.

Mentioned in this post
Seattle
Seattle
Washington
Seattle
Level Contributor
48,202 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

I think 4 hours (your real free time on a 7 hour layover) is enough to do something and I think Ala Moana Beach Park is an excellent place to go. If you taxi both directions (or taxi there and take The Bus back) you would have 2-3 hours to have a nice breakfast or lunch and sit on the beach.

On the second layover, because of the timeframe, don't you want a hotel to sleep?

suze

Edited: 16 July 2014, 17:16
Mentioned in this post
Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park
1,730 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Kapaa, Hawaii
Destination Expert
for Maui, Hana, Oahu
Level Contributor
50,101 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

The Pearl Ridge Center is a nice shopping center and fairly close to the airport but the traffic going in and out of there is terrible. I very seldom go out there for that very reason. If you get a taxi, you have plenty of time to go into Waikiki or Ala Moana have a meal, walk the beach and go back. Lots of shops in Waikiki and Ala Moana Beach Park is across the street from the mall.

Mentioned in this post
Ala Moana Beach Park
Ala Moana Beach Park
1,730 Reviews
Oahu, HI
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
149 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

Hi Christina,

We just had a similar layover 6 weeks ago. We flew from Brisbane to San Francisco via Honolulu. We had a 6 hour stop over and were not prepared to sit it out at the airport.

Once we landed, we went thru immigration and customs quite quickly. But it was quite a hike to actually get there from getting off the plane. It Was not busy and it was all oh-so efficient tho. You collect your luggage to go thru customs, but once thru that, there is a little counter (trestle table, really) with people to recheck your luggage onto your next flight. They then direct you out the door to head over to the domestic airport to catch your connecting flight.

We instead headed to the taxi stand. Go up the stairs and out the front doors to the drop off/pick up area to find it. There are airport staff around to ask where the taxi stand is if you can't find it. We still had our carry on luggage that we packed a towel and our bathers and a fresh change of clothes.

We caught a taxi to the Ala Moana shopping Centre (about $40USD) and had breakfast at the shopping centre eatery. No stores were open as it was still quite early there - it just after 9am. But there was a decent selection of food outlets to get a decent breakfast (spam and eggs! Hahaha)

We then crossed the road (literally) and went to the beach for a swim, laid out our towels and had a bit of a rest! This, I believe was Ala Moana Park.

Our flight was at 1.45pm, so we crossed back across the road and caught a taxi back to the airport (about $30-$35 for the return) at about 11.45am. There was a fresh water shower at the beach, out in the open (so no nudity unless you are under 5 years old ;-) ) We rinsed off there and then went into the toilet block to change into a fresh set of clothes and brush our hair, teeth etc.

When we got back to the airport, the line to go thru the security check was LONG!! Like, out the front doors long!! It's normal for Honolulu Airport between 10am and 2pm....apparently. It got my heart racing as I thought we were going to miss our flight! Waiting seemed forever - about half an hour. We had our boarding passes already (got them in Brisbane), which was a huge relief. We didn't, miss our flight at all and had about 15 minutes to spare before boarding, but boy oh boy it was a bloody, long hike to our departure gate (gate 30-something!). Catch a wiki wiki (shuttle) if you can. Look out for the signs for it.

We felt it was a fantastic way to break up our flights. We felt refreshed, revived and ready to keep travelling.

Hope this helps. :-) Happy travelling!!

Cheers,

Kim

Mentioned in this post
Brisbane
Brisbane
Brisbane Region, Australia
San Francisco
San Francisco
California
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
21 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: 7 Hour Layover - What to do? + Customs waits?

Thank you so much for your incredibly insightful response, Kim! Sounds like I shall have plenty of time to head down to the beach then! :)